Hurley lands second Top-100 recruit in 2016

Arizona State landed its second Top-100 basketball recruit of the 2016 class Tuesday when 6-foot-9 shot blocker Jethro Tshisumpa committed to the program.

When asked last week in Las Vegas about the the likelihood of a possible Arizona State commitment, Jethro Tshisumpa played coy.

"I don't know," the 6-foot-9, 260 pound mountain of a teenager said, with a wide, wry grin and arms pointed skyward. "Maybe I will. Maybe."

Four days later, Tshisumpa gave the Sun Devils and first-year coach Bobby Hurley their second Top-100 level commitment of the 2016 class.

"He got really comfortable with coach Hurley and (assistant) coach Brian Merritt and just trusts them," said Gregory "Jazz" Hartwell, coach of Tshisumpa's Urban DFW AAU team. "That won Jethro over, that relationship. He really liked them and they were the first ones to really recruit Jethro [in the spring] and they developed that relationship. Things got pretty crazy with schools and coaches calling recently and a guy like (Tshisumpa) is pretty leery of that as a guy from a foreign country.

"There were a whole lot of schools, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Baylor, Texas, Kansas State, that's just naming a few. Jethro really had the trust built up with the ASU coaches though and when he went there he loved the campus."

Tshisumpa, a shot blocking specialist at Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia, joins wing Sam Cunliffe on the board for ASU in the class. Tshisumpa is the No. 80 overall prospect and No. 21 center nationally, while Cunliffe is the No. 87 overall recruit and No. 18 small forward.

Merritt was well ahead of the curve on Tshisumpa, a Congolese native who had no high major offers before the Sun Devils proffered one. Not long after, the largely unknown center with a reported 7-foot-6 wingspan made his presence felt -- literally -- at the highest profile national camp in the country, the NBA Players Association Camp in Virginia.

Tshisumpa led the camp by a wide margin with 2.6 blocks per game and not long after was moved from unranked to a four-star Top-100 prospect by Scout.

"I'm getting better," Tshisumpa told SunDevilSource following the performance. "I keep getting better. I'm working on my offense. I want to do better on offense, like [scoring the ball i the post]."

Immediately after the camp showing, Tshisumpa visited Tempe and the Sun Devils became the prohibitive favorite in the recruitment.

"I liked it," he said. "I liked the players and the coaches. They were nice."

At last week's Adidas Summer Championships, Tshisumpa averaged a Tournament-best 4.3 blocks per game to go with 2.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. In one game he was credited with seven blocks but was in serious foul trouble the entire game and played no more than 20 minutes.

"He's a special player as far as a rim protector," Hartwell said. "He has a lot of gifts you just can't teach. Blocking shots, he is going to do that about as well as anyone. And he's a powerful guy. He's not as far along on offense but I think he's going to get there because he can catch the ball and move well enough and everything.

"But he's a really powerful dunker. The first time he ever played for me was two years ago when he first came here and he hadn't practice or nothing and he went up in warm ups for his first dunk and broke one of the screws on the rim. He snapped it clean off. I was like, 'wow, this guy is going to be a player.'"

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