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.
Patrik Auda, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound power forward originally from the Czech Republic, turned down an offer to play professionally in Europe in order to play for Kevin Willard at Seton Hall.
Auda signed a National Letter of Intent and will join the Pirates in the fall for Willard’s first year at the Big East school.
“Patrik was recruited by over 50 D1 schools in the States and up until the last few days was pondering a very lucrative offer from a top European club,” Rob Orellana, head coach at the Canarias Basketball Academy in the Canary Islands, wrote in an email.
“Patrik loves the thought of playing alongside experienced Big East players who will help him adjust.”
Auda averaged 17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in four games to make the all-tournament team at the National Prep School Invitational in February.
He should help fortify a frontcourt that may or may not be without 6-8 forward Herb Pope, who collapsed April 28 during a workout at Seton Hall and remains hospitalized at St. Barnabas in Livingston, N.J. Charles Smith, the former NBA player who serves as Pope’s mentor, recently told SNY.tv that Pope would make a “full recovery.”
Yet it remains uncertain whether Pope will suit up again for the Pirates. With or without him, Auda should bring a big body who can rebound, defend and score a bit as well.
He joins 6-5 wing Fuquan Edwin of Paterson (N.J.) Catholic and 6-8 forward Anali Okoloji of Impact (Fla.) Academy in Seton Hall’s 2010 recruiting class.
Orellana and Steve Sauers, Seton Hall’s director of basketball operations, have a longstanding relationship and Orellana said, “I have always had an extreme amount of respect for him.”
While Willard and Sauers were still at Iona, they watched Auda at the National Prep event in Rhode Island.
“Coach Willard has been very resilient recruiting our players,” Orellana said. “Last year he lost out on one of our guys but he continued to call me throughout the summer and fall this year trying to get involved with our guys.”
The Canarias Basketball Academy has produced 18 Division 1 players, including Abdi Sabour Ahmed, who recently signed with Oklahoma. Rutgers signee Gilvydas Biruta of St. Benedict’s Prep spent a year at CBA.
Still, said Orellana, “[Auda] is by far the most complete and talented we have had.”
In its report on the National Prep tournament, ESPN.comwrote: “The Canarias Basketball Academy had college coaches captivated. Its roster featured several prospects with intriguing combinations of size and skill. Auda was tops among them with a sturdy 6-foot-9 build, great energy and physicality and a well-developed lefty skill set from the perimeter. Auda shot the ball consistently to the 3-point line and was very productive attacking off the dribble from the perimeter, where he has a good handle and efficient economy of motion, taking big strides through the lane.
“He is extremely physical and even a little mean inside the paint, banging defensively, diligently going to the glass and taking smaller defenders to the low post offensively. While he consistently made plays, his footwork was his most glaring weakness—he was called for numerous traveling violations throughout the weekend. Physically, Auda has good muscle mass, coordination and agility, but he appeared to be only an average athlete.”
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.