Dele Coker: Five on Tap

When Dele Coker came over to South Kent (Conn.) from Nigeria last year, no one gave him much of a tought despite his 6-foot-10, 260-pound body. Now he's become a critical target for five high-major programs.

One year ago, no one knew about Dele Coker. Now the big Nigerian has become one of the most sought-after big man in the country.

Not sure? Just check out his upcoming visit schedule.

The 6-foot-10, 260-pound South Kent (Conn.) senior is slated to head to Pittsburgh this weekend, then head to St. John's (Oct. 6), Indiana (Oct. 13), Notre Dame (Oct. 20) and Kentucky (Oct. 27).

Not bad for a guy who has somehow remained under the national radar despite playing with Jim Hart's Albany City Rocks program this past summer.

``My summer was OK," Coker said. "I didn't realize I had college coaches noticing me as much as they did. It was very surprising."

``But I still feel like I have a lot of work to do," he added. "I haven't reached my peak yet."

That's the scary part. Coker wasn't much of an offensive option in his first season at South Kent last year or with the Albany City Rocks. He's a guy who has made his reputation cleaning up on the glass, running the court and blocking shots on the defensive end.

``He's a workhorse," South Kent coach Raphael Chillious. "He's a guy who you don't have to run any plays for him to be effective. He's an enforcer and he does it all without saying a word."

``My confidence is much higher now than it was last year," Coker said.

As mild-mannered as Coker is off the court, he's just as aggressive when he steps onto it.

``It's like I move to a different level," he said. "I just love to play the game."

Coker said that the upcoming visits will be critical to his decision, especially since he isn't like most kids who have followed college basketball for most of their life.

``The hard thing for me is when a school is talking to me, I don't know if what they are saying is true," Coker said. "I'm not saying they're lying to me, but I just don't know how it is."

Coker has already taken unofficial visits to St. John's and South Carolina and the one factor that will be the most important to both him and his family back in Nigeria is clear

``Education," Coker said. "I know I can adjust to almost any basketball situation. I want to go somewhere that I can get a good education."


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