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.
Zeke Nnaji picks up Kentucky offer, will cut list soon
By ADAM ZAGORIAZeke Nnaji, the 6-foot-11 power forward from Hopkins (MN) and D1 Minnesota, picked up an offer from Kentucky coach John Calipari on Sunday and is planning an unofficial visit to campus before the end of September, his father told ZAGSBLOG.
“Yes, sir, yesterday,” Apham Nnaji said of the Kentucky offer. “Coach Cal was at the house for a home visit.”
He added: “The message was that they don’t offer everybody, they have limited scholarships just like most schools. But they watched him this summer and this spring and the only coach who watched him more than him was probably coach [Fran] McCaffery [of Iowa]. They do a lot of research and analysis of kids and what they’re looking for based on the way the NBA game is going, a kid that can switch multiple positions, guard multiple positions, play inside, play outside, take advantage of mismatches. So it was a great meeting.”
As for potential visits, an unofficial visit will likely take place in September, with an official in October.
“We’re going to take an unofficial visit over there, and if everything goes well we’ll schedule an official visit with them,” Apham said. “We haven’t set a date yet.”
Kentucky could lose several frontcourt players to the NBA and is looking to replenish the front court. Nnaji, who averaged 14.5 points and 5.9 rebounds on the Adidas circuit, could fit in well.
Kentucky obviously can point to guys like Boogie Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Julius Randle and others in the NBA.
“That’s the attraction, is the fact that they’ve been there, done that,” Apham said of Kentucky. “They’ve been able to produce top-level, high-level big guys that can stretch the floor, post you up, take you off the dribble. They’ve done that. You can’t argue with the numbers, that’s the thing about their program.
“Coach Cal even said that himself. You are every day practicing with NBA prospects and that’s going to get you better, so it’s a fantastic opportunity.”
Meantime, Kansas coach Bill Self visited with Zeke Sunday for two and a half hours, while Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing was set to watch him Monday at an open gym before coming to the house for a home visit. Purdue is expected Tuesday at open gym, with Baylor coming in Wednesday for a home visit and Minnesota expected Thursday for a home visit.
Next week, UCLA, Arizona, Ohio State and Indiana are all expected.
Zeke plans to set up his officials for October.
“We want to go through this process,” Apham said. “By end of September, he’s going to cut his list down to five and those are the five official visits that he’s going to take in October and early November. Then twoards the end of November he’s going to decide where he’s going to go because the high school season starts Dec. 1 and he wants to get that over with.”
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.