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.
Precious Achiuwa talks St. John’s visit, Syracuse offer, recruiting timeline
The recruiting process for Precious Achiuwa is on a slow burn but it continues to heat up.
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound small forward originally from Nigeria is ranked No. 23 in the 2019 ESPN 60 and No. 14 by 247Sports.com. He’s expected to grow to about 6-11 and already has a 7-1 wingspan.
St. John’s, Seton Hall, Minnesota, Kansas, North Carolina, UMass, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Indiana, Florida State, Georgetown, Villanova and South Carolina have all reached out recently with many of those schools passing through to see him at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J.
“For right now, college recruiting is not really my focus right now, it’s getting better,” he said Wednesday by phone. “Just working on my game and then hopefully seeing what happens in the future.”
The younger brother of former St. John’s big man God’sgift Achiuwa, Precious also attended a St. John’s practice over the weekend.
“Yes, I went to go watch their practice,” he said. “That was good. My brother went there so it’s right by my house and I went there a lot.”
He added: “They’re recruiting me because of the relationship. My brother went there. I feel like they’re recruiting me because of the relationship I have with my brother.”
Syracuse assistant Gerry McNamara also offered Achiuwa on a visit to the school.
“Syracuse offered me last week,” he said. “He was basically talking about how they play with wing guys like me, tall athletic, fast. All that stuff, guys who can play a lot of positions. He was talking about how they really use guys like me and get players to the league [NBA].”
Syracuse has had great success in New Jersey, most recently picking up a pledge from Class of 2018 point guard Jalen Carey of Immaculate Conception on Wednesday.
Because of his length and ball-handling ability, Achiuwa has drawn comparisons to a certain pro.
“Some people say Rudy Gay, Oz Cross, Achiuwa’s mentor and coach with New Heights, said earlier this year. “He’s so long he’s got such great upside.”
“Precious is legit 6-9 now was a 7-1 wingspan,” Cross added this week. “His ball-handling, shooting, passing and defense have improved tremendously since I first saw him play. He’s a self-motivated kid so I expect him to make another jump. If he makes that jump and then he will be playing basketball for a long time.”
Alex Nwora coached Gift in junior college and knows Precious as well.
“He has very a high ceiling,” he said. “At 6-9 , his athleticism surpasses his brother who played at St. John for coach Lav [Steve Lavin]. He is a gym rat. With his abilities and size to go with, he is definitely a pro after all is said and done. He is way better than his brother God’sGift. Coming to the U.S. at very young age also helped his game, which his brother did not have the opportunity [to do].”
Still, Cross says there’s no rush on recruiting.
“He really trying to focus on having a good high school season and getting better,” he said.” He’s not caught into the recruiting thing. His main thing is he wants to be ready to play and make an immediate impact at whatever school he decides to go too. So it’s important for him to focus on development and not recruiting right now.”
St. Benedict’s will once again play a national schedule that should give Achiuwa the chance to test himself and showcase his game in front of coaches.
“We’re looking really good and our goal this year is just to get better as a team and compete,” he said. “We already have a competitive schedule, playing a national level, and getting everybody ready for that and winning.”
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.