Ismael Sanogo, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound combo forward from Newark East Side, committed to Seton Hall on Tuesday during a conference call with reporters.
He made the announcement on his 17th birthday.
Sanogo also considered VCU, UPenn and George Mason and visited UPenn, George Mason and St. Joe’s.
Sanogo is coach Kevin Willard’s first 2014 commitment.
“It’s very unreal,” Sanogo said of staying at home to play games in Newark at the Prudential Center. “To have the opportunity to go to a school that’s right in my city it’s something amazing.”
Sanogo said he has a strong connection with Seton Hall associate head coach Shaheen Holloway, who also played for the New Jersey Roadrunners AAU program.
“He played with Sandy [Pyonin] and he knows that we can have that player-coach connection because he knows what I’ve been through and I know what he’s been through,” he said.
Sanogo said he’s been working on his “ball-handling and his court vision so I can come into Seton Hall and be prepared for that Big East level.”
Because of his age, Sanogo was asked if he might redshirt next year.
“I have high expectations for myself and I don’t believe I ‘ll be redshirted,” he said. “I believe I can come in there and challenge for a starting position or if not come off the bench and help the team.”
Newark East Side coach Anthony Tavares, who coached Randy Foye and Corey Chandler among others, said Sanogo is a combo forward with a high ceiling.
“Ismael just turned 17 today,” Tavares said. “He’s improved tremendously as a ballhandler, his range on his jump shot. He’s a tremendous athlete, great rebounder. He’s somebody that’s going to go in there and compete. He’s a wonderful competitor. His biggest attribute is that he’s a warrior.
“He’s a three/four combo, maybe a two if he works hard on his skills. He’ll be a mismatch problem when he gets to college if he gets in the weight room and works hard.
“The sky’s the limit. By the time he hits 20 years old, I think he can be one of the better players in the country if he works hard and stays humble.”
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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.