Head of the Compton Magic, Etop Udo-Ema has been coaching Leaf for several seasons now, and he could not be happier for the young power forward.
“I am excited that T.J. is taking a huge step in his life,” Udo-Ema explained. “I have been with him for awhile now and his growth as a player is remarkable. He gets better every time he steps on the court.
“This is always a big decision for any high school player. T.J. comes from a great family and I am sure they made the right choice.”
Udo-Ema has high praises for Leaf as a player, and feels that he can come in and compete right away.
“T.J., for those who don’t know, is a very unique player,” Udo-Ema said. “He has great size, he’s 6-10, he’s super athletic and he has guard skills. Over the summer, he got a lot of praise for his ball-handling and it’s a lot better now.“He was a guard when I first met him. He stood at about 6-3 or 6-4 and then he grew to 6-10 over night, so he played guard. Now that he has the build of a forward, his game is extremely versatile.
"He fits into any system. In my opinion, there isn’t a program out there that couldn’t use an athletic, 6-10 forward that can play multiple spots.”
Out of all the schools recruiting Leaf, Udo-Ema feels each program will give him the necessary room to grow and showcase his talents on the college level and beyond.
“I absolutely feel T.J. will come in and contribute right away,” Udo-Ema said. “Out of the top schools he picked, Arizona, Michigan, Duke, UCLA and Florida, I feel he could jump right in as a freshman and impact the game.“I have no thoughts on any of the schools because I know they’re great academic and basketball schools and they will be great places for T.J."
With Arizona being in the mix, Leaf has given the Wildcats a serious look and his party feels that Tucson could be a viable option for the San Diego native.
“Sean Miller has done great at Arizona in a short amount of time,” Udo-Ema said. “He brings in great players every year. I know T.J. liked his visit a lot and feels he could fit into Miller’s system.”