Koulechov discusses ASU pledge

Ever since the 3rd grade, Egor Koulechov dreamed of playing college basketball in the United States. The first step in that journey took place last summer when the Russian native moved from his home in Israel to Florida. Tuesday night that journey took a significant leap to being a reality as the Weston Sagemont High School forward committed to the Sun Devils.

Koulechov has been pursued by Arizona State for several months and the forward said that during that time he built a strong relationship with Assistant Coach Scott Pera and the rest of the Sun Devil staff. The forward's first ever college recruiting visit happened to be to Tempe and needless to say it planted the seed to the verbal commitment that ensued just days later.

"The reason I committed now to Arizona State is because I feel they are a very good fit for me in terms of what I'm looking for in a basketball team," Koulechov said. "I really liked what I saw last week on my visit. I really liked the campus, the business school, the practice facility. I really like the coaching staff and I just like where this program is going because it has a bright future.

"It was my first (recruiting) visit and I never been to a college campus before so I didn't know what to expect. But my coach who has been to schools like Syracuse and Louisville told me that Arizona State was a very nice school and it really was."

Koulechov's other scholarship offer was from Providence, and schools such as Richmond, UAB, Rutgers and Vanderbilt were all showing interest.

The ASU coaches told the 6-4 180-pound Egor Koulechov that they appreciated his high basketball IQ and outside shooting ability. "They play in a system that shoots a lot of threes," Koulechov stated, "and that is why they thought this would be a good fit for me. They also liked that academically I'm a good student and I have good character.

"I feel that I'm also a good rebounder and that I can drive into the lane. Defense is something that I need to improve on. My favorite player is Kevin Durant, but because James Harden went here and I'm not going to be 6-10, I want to follow in (Harden's) footsteps."

"The best way to describe Egor is he's a very hard-nosed, blue-collar kind of player," Sagemont's Head Coach Adam Ross told the Arizona Republic's Doug Haller. "He rebounds very well for a guard. He has a big, strong body. He can absorb contact and finish around the rim. And he can shoot the ball very well. For his age, he's very advanced offensively."

Koulechov is a native of Russia, and at age 7 he immigrated to Israel where he has lived until last August as he began to pursue his college basketball dream and enrolled at Sagemont.

"Last year just seemed like a great opportunity for me to come to high school," Koulechov explained, "just to get used to America and American basketball. I know I came to a great college prep high school with a great coaching staff that has helped me a lot and I really appreciate all their help working on my skills and also how they helped me with my college recruiting.

"I live here with a host family and I can't describe how much they have helped me with everything. They treated me like family since I got here. Everything has been more than I could ever ask for."

Suffice to say that Koulechov's transition on the court has been a smooth process thus far. As a junior for the 25-8 Lions and the state's 3A runner-up, he averaged 16.2 points and 7 rebounds per game, shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range. The forward did however acknowledge that there were certainly some adjustments to be made on the court.

"The rules here are different that European basketball," Koulechov remarked. "I played (in Israel) four quarters of ten minutes each and here it's eight-minute quarters. There is no shot clock here and there I had a 30-second clock. The game here is faster and more athletic than it is in Europe."

This summer, Koulechov will return to Israel in late June and join their 18-U national team which will play in the European Championships in Bosnia in the beginning of August, as his team tried to elevate itself from Division B to Division A in the European rankings.

"I much rather commit now so I'm going with a clear head to the 18-U (European) Championship," Koulechov commented, "and I don't have to worry about it. Arizona State seems like a good fit for me. I'm very happy with my decision, I feel that I made the right choice, and I just want to come there and help them win games."

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