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.
UCLA, Others Courting Canadian Point Guard Owootoah
UCLA, Arizona, Tennessee and Florida State are among the schools courting point guard Emmanuel Owootoah of Cordia High School in Kentucky.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Owootoah is a native Canadian who was originally in the class of 2014 but is likely to reclassify to 2013.
“I’m going to be 2013,” he said in a phone interview.
Brandon Bender and Canadian AAU coach Ro Russell are among those mentoring Owootoah.
“Ro is deciding whether or not Emmanuel is mature enough for 2013 and we are starting to believe he is ready now,” Bender said.
Owootoah said his favorite schools were UCLA and UConn, but that he hasn’t heard from UConn.
Bender said UCLA has offered a scholarship and that assistant Korey McCray planned to come in and see Owootoah this week.
“UCLA has offered,” Bender said.”They told Emmanuel he has a chance to come in and start next year if he decides to move into 2013.”
He added: “I think the kid is ready for Duke, UCLA, North Carolina or Kentucky. He is that good.”
Owootoah’s high school coach, former St. Anthony standout and NBA player Rodrick Rhodes, said he’s heard from UCLA, Arizona and Tennessee on Owootoah, and Bender also mentioned Florida State.
“I think he’s very explosive,” Rhodes told SNY.tv by phone. “His court awareness and is basketball IQ is off the charts. He sees plays two or three plays ahead. He has a great basketball mind, he’s strong, he’s the ultimate point guard. He’s a passer first, a scorer second. He loves to pass the ball so much people tend to think he’s not an explosive scorer.”
He added that the kid has a very strong work ethic.
“He’s very likable, he’s a good kid,” Rhodes said. “In an era of kids where they think everything should be given to them, he’s the total opposite of that. He loves to be in the gym, he’s constantly working.”
Rhodes said Owootoah reminded him of his former St. Anthony point guard.
“He does remind me of Bobby Hurley,” he said. “His court awareness and basketball IQ is off the charts.”
Owootoah says he has a strong relationship with Texas point guard Myck Kabongo, a fellow Canadian who played for Russell in AAU ball.
“I’m going to be more of a playmaker [in college], making plays for my teammates and plays for myself,” he said.
Photo: North Poll Hoops
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.