Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Maryland announced Monday that Olexiy “Alex” Len has enrolled at the university and will be a member of the Terrapins’ squad for 2011-12.
One coach who requested anonymity called the 7-foot-1, 225-pound center from Antratsit, Ukraine a “lottery pick.”
“Best recruit in America,” the coach said. “Maryland got a lottery pick.”
“We are very excited about the addition of Alex to our basketball team,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “To be able to add a player with his ability so late in the recruiting calendar is good for us. We’re fortunate that, prior to our arrival, Alex was being recruited to Maryland. For him to reach this point is a testament to his great family support and his character. I’m looking forward to working with Alex and helping him reach his potential as a player and a person.”
Len was a standout player for the Ukraine national team at the U-18 European Championships in 2010. He averaged 16.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in nine games in the tournament. He nearly posted a triple-double in a game against Germany with 20 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks.
Following that tournament, the blog Europeanprospects.com said of Len: “Next to his great length, Len is really athletic and can run the court like a forward… He can play above the rim and uses this on both ends of the court… With the right practice and playing minutes on the next level, Len can really develop into an interesting player in the future.”
“It has been a dream of mine to come to the United States to play college basketball,” said Len. “In Ukraine we do not get to watch much NCAA basketball, but the first time I saw Maryland play was a memorable one. I saw a video of Maryland playing Duke in Comcast Center in 2010 season. I could not believe the atmosphere – 18,000 people, excitement and fans running onto the floor after the victory. It was unbelievable.
“Coach Turgeon brings a new start to Maryland. For me, this is a brand new beginning as well. So, we are in it together. Coach shared with me his vision for the team, and how he could see me fitting in to his system. It felt good, like the right place for me to be. I can see myself coming in and contributing right away and helping our team compete in a great league. I’m extremely excited to be a Terp.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.