Columbia Lands Power Forward

Joe Jones, the first-year head coach at Columbia, has landed his first recruit in the Class of 2004. Ben Nwachukwu will play his college ball for Jones.

Columbia is on the board for the Class of 2004 in a big way. On July 15, the Lions received what amounts to a big time Ivy League commitment. Ben Nwachukwu, a power forward from St. Augustine Prep in New Jersey, gave head coach Joe Jones the good word.

"Basically, [Joe Jones] just got it done," Nwachukwu said. "I went up for an unofficial visit and I know he's a great guy. He's building something at Columbia and I want to be a part of that. He's getting ready to do great things and I want to be a part of that."

Nwachukwu was born in Nigeria and lived in London before arriving in the United States when he was 16. He thought Columbia's combination of athletics and academics was the best fit for him.

"I could have gone to a school that was a higher level of basketball, but Columbia has the best combination of both academics and basketball. Coach Jones is going to foster a great family up there."

Penn, Princeton, Yale and Brown were hot on him during the season. Virginia, Stanford and Rice showed interest in him after the year ended.

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