Cliff Omoruyi sets official to Arizona State, others in works | Zagsblog
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Monday / February 24.
  • Cliff Omoruyi sets official to Arizona State, others in works

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Cliff Omoruyi , the 6-foot-11, 236-pound big man from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, has set one official visit while more are in the works.

    Omoruyi will trip to Arizona State Feb. 18-20 for the Oregon game, a source said.

    “I know [assistant] coach Rasheen Davis,” Omoruyi recently said. “Just as Rutgers was there from the beginning, he was there because he was [an assistant] at UMass. So I’m familiar with him.”

    Davis also attended school in New York with one of Omoruyi’s guardians.

    Omoruyi’s camp is also in touch with coaches from Rutgers, Kentucky and UConn regarding official visits, the source said. He has already taken an official to Auburn, and has visited both Rutgers and UConn several times unofficially.

    Last month, the Roselle (N.J.) Catholic big man officially announced a final five of Arizona State, Auburn, Kentucky, Rutgers and UConn. That makes two Hurley brothers — Danny and Bobby — involved in his recruitment, along with Auburn’s Bruce Pearl, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Rutgers’ Steve Pikiell.

    RC coach Dave Boff said although Omoruyi is known as a shot-blocker and dunker, he continues to expand his game offensively.

    “Cliff is really improving by leaps and bounds all the time,” said Boff, whose program has won three TOC titles since 2013. “I’m fairly certain he’s the premier defensive player in the state of New Jersey and might be the best defensive player we’ve ever had here, which is saying something.

    “The way he rebounds the ball, the way he blocks shots, the way he helps us when we make mistakes on the perimeter really saves us and then offensively he’s continued to improve his game. He’s expanded his back-to-the basket game and added a 15-footer. He can do a lot of stuff on the offensive end and we have to do a good job of getting him the ball here the rest of the way.”

    Omoruyi says he can shoot the 3-ball, too, but isn’t emphasizing that now.

    “I can shoot the 3 but now it’s not my strong point,” he said. “I get inside close to the basket.”

    Meantime, academics will play a very important role in Omoruyi’s college decision. He wants to study engineering in college

    “Yes it’s important to me and it’s important to my coach,” he said. “Every time that’s the first thing I ask about, engineering, about alumni.”

    Said Boff: “I think it’s hugely important. It’s something he’s really going to look into.

    “Every conversation I have with him about the colleges, he’s always talking about who has the engineering program that he’s looking for and who can help him achieve those goals off the court. So I think that’s something that’s going to be very important when push comes to shove and I think he’s going to make a great decision for him and his family.”

    This story has been updated.

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    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.