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.
Melvyn Oliver has finally signed his National Letter of Intent to Seton Hall.
“We got the address right and the letter arrived this morning about 10,” said Victor Evans, Oliver’s’ coach at Mississippi Elite Christian Academy. “Melvyn signed it, we faxed it back. Now we’ve got to get his dad to sign it. We’ve got to overnight it to his dad and then his dad has to get it back to Seton Hall.”
A Long Beach, Calif. native who has attended four high schools, Oliver averaged 20 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in his first year at the Mississippi school, which went 20-5 on the prep circuit. He is ranked by the National Prep Association and Hoop Scoop as the second-best fifth-year player in the country.
Oliver joins Paterson Catholic point guard Jordan Theodore, the 2007-08 Herald News Player of the Year, in the Seton Hall recruiting class for 2008.
Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez is pleased that the process is now complete. Oliver committed April 22 and visited the South Orange campus last weekend.
“We think that Melvyn Oliver has the potential to be the single most important recruit we’ve signed since coming here,” Gonzalez said. “I feel that he has pro potential and with some hard work and conditioning, we believe the sky is the limit for him. Melvyn is a very unique type of player as his skill level is off the charts for a guy his size. I think he is one of the biggest sleepers in the country and how has a chance to come in the Big East Conference and really make some noise.”
Evans said he fully expects the 6-foot-11, 340-pound Oliver to be qualified for next season.
“Melvyn’s on track to get what he needs to have,” Evans said. “We don’t expect any hiccups. Melvyn is a bright young man. Everything seems to be headed in the right direction as far as Melvyn Oliver qualifying.”
Evans said he has coached close to 30 players at Genesis One and Mississippi Elite and all the ones who were qualified got throught the Clearinghouse.
“Every kid that we had that was a qualifier went through the Clearinghouse without a problem,” Evans said.
The coach expects Oliver to be on campus next month for summer school.
“They’re trying to target June 30 to start summer school,” Evans said.
Evans also coached Robert “Stix” Mitchell when Mitchell was at Genesis One, and Evans spoke highly of Mitchell, who will be eligible this year at SHU after transferring from Duquesne.
“He’s a very good shooter, a very coachable guy and a very competitive guy,” Evans said of Mitchell. “He’s not shy to shoot.
“I think offensively Robert’s confidence is off the charts and I think he’ll be a good addition to what they’re bringing in now. He’s one piece of the puzzle that can help them get in the upper echelon of the Big East.”
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.