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.
Eddie Jordan continues to add players as he rebuilds the Rutgers roster.
Jordan on Wednesday landed a pledge from 6-foot-8 1/2 Bishop O’Connell (Va.) big man Junior Etou, whom Jordan coached last summer with the DC Assault 17U team.
“Just COMMITTED to Rutgers!!! I’m very excited to be a Scarletknight..and I look forward to playing for Coach Jordan!!” he Tweeted.
Etou is Jordan’s third pledge, following JUCO wing Craig Brown and JUCO point guard D’Von Campbell.
The commitment comes at a time when three former Rutgers guards/wings have already found new homes — Jerome Seagears (Auburn), Eli Carter (Florida) and Mike Poole (Iona).
Etou is the cousin of Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder and is the No. 20-ranked center in the Class of 2013 by Rivals, although he is considered more of a step-out power forward.
“It came down to Rutgers, Xavier and Washington,” DC Assault coach Damon Handon told SNY.tv. “Rutgers got in late but once Eddie Jordan got the job that pretty much sealed the deal for Rutgers.
“Eddie coached him on our 17 and under team last year. Junior played for him. He loved playing for Coach Jordan.”
Etou averaged 15 points and a WCAC-best 14.3 rebounds and had 26 double-doubles last season, O’Connell coach Joe Wootten told SNY.tv.
“He’s a tremendous rebounder and a great shot-blocker,” Wootten said. “He has a great feel and time and sense for when to block shots.”
Etou will add frontcourt depth along with Wally Judge, Kadeem Jack and Greg Lewis.
“He’s going to bring toughness,” Handon said. “He’s going to play hard every game and every practice. That’s his mindset.
“He’s a four. He’s a step-out but he plays bigger than he is. He’s had multiple games with 20 rebounds.”
Several reports this summer indicated that Etou is really older than he is listed and either will turn 21 in June or already had in April.
Both and Handon Wootten said that wasn’t true. Wootten said Etou turns 19 on June 4.
“We have all his documentation,” Wootten said. “We have his birth certificate, his passport and his Homeland Security documents. When he played on a National Team, they made a mistake .”
Wootten also said Etou is a strong student who made second honors this past semester.
“He’s an awesome kid, a hard worker, an honors student,” he said. “Rutgers is getting a class human being.”
Handon said he believes Jordan, a D.C. native, will continue to recruit well in the DMV area.
“I think that Eddie’s going to be able to get more players from the D.C. area,” Handon said. “I think that’s just the beginning of them signing players from the DMV area.”
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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 and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, 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.