Kezie Okpala’s transformation from a 5-foot-10 freshman guard on junior varsity to a 6-foot-8 rising senior small forward culminated with a commitment to Stanford on Sunday.
Okpala, Scout’s 68th ranked prospect in the 2017 class, has grown another inch over the summer to 6-8 and is 185 pounds. He’s a player with a significant upside and is a big commitment for the Cardinal.
“He went there for an unofficial visit this weekend and fell in love with the school,” said Pat Barrett, who coached Okpala with the SoCal All-Stars.
“Stanford got in early, his parents always liked Stanford and so did he. Once he saw the academics and facilities, he was sold. He knew where he wanted to go.”
Stanford’s education played a very big role in the four-star prospect’s decision.
“His mom and dad are really high on academics, they always have been,” Barrett said. “Kezie can go there and be like former SCA players Josh Childress and Anthony Brown. They were both long, lanky and skinny like Kezie.
“He has about a 4.2 GPA, his ACT was off the charts and he has a great family. His mom and dad are more concerned about education than basketball. They support basketball because he loves to play but they lean more towards the academic part than anything.”
The Cardinal coaching staff was also a big factor in Okpala’s decision.
“Stanford watched every one of our games this summer,” said Barrett. “Every time we played they had a head coach or one of the assistants there. They recruited him the hardest and he saw that.
“The first guy that Jerod Haase went to see when he got the job was Kezie. The assistants were at all his games for two weeks. That was really impressive to Kezie. They did a great job.”
Okpala is Stanford’s first commitment of 2017.