Montrose Is Deep And Talented
Japan, Germany, Nigeria, Lithuania, Spain and the United States are all represented on the Montrose Christian basketball team. Stu Vetter and assistant David Adkins have assembled a multinational, multitalented bunch that should be tough this season.
Leading the way is Lithuanian Linas Kleiza. A hard worker who continues to refine his game with strength and skill, Kleiza looks like the heart and soul of this bunch. His versatility and basketball IQ will be used at a number of positions this year.
On the frontline he'll have plenty of company. Junior Tunji Soroye (prounounced Zoree') , a native of Lagos, Nigeria, will be a huge factor. The muscular 6-10, 225 pounder has the wingspan of a condor. Still developing offensively, he'll be a presence in the paint.
Another Nigerian, sophomore Uchechukwu Echefu (aka "Uche"), will be tough to keep out of the lineup. He finishes at the rim and doesn't mind contact. The 16 year old has plenty of talent and you'll hear a lot from him in the future.
We've yet to hear of a team that will boast the kind of depth that Vetter and Adkins have. Arvydas Lidzius – yes, another Lithuanian – is a low-major prospect and a big time competitor at the power forward slot. Jim Ewing, a 6-9 big man whom Vetter says has improved every year, should also see time. Sophomore Mike Freeman, a 6-7 ½ forward will no doubt get minutes as well. He has good skills and should be a fine prospect.
The small forward slot is likely to be manned by Joe Young, the No. 1 student in the senior class at Montrose and the owner of a 1,400 SAT. The national merit scholar will visit Holy Cross this month and will play a little inside on some on the perimeter as well.
At the July Nike Camp, admittedly we didn't see the point guard in Churchill Odia's game. Well, we stand corrected. The 6-4 ½ native of you guessed it, Lagos, Nigeria, is a special talent. He's very smooth and he's going to be a highly sought after point guard.
In the scrimmage, Odia played under control, didn't force and made plays. His athleticism gets him to places on the floor and his feel for the game is very good, especially considering the limited amount of time he's been in the country. He does a lot with his speed and he'll quickly ascent up the 2004 recruiting lists, especially since he's looking like an even better shooter than we originally thought.
German two guard Edwin Ofori Attah, a junior, struggled with his shot on Thursday but we've heard good things. He has a reputation for being a high scoring shooter. Japanese guard KJ Matsui, a sophomore, is also a prospect. The 6-3 Matsui can make some jumpers and passes well. There's another Japanese player in the program and he's just a freshman point guard.
Adkins and Vetter obviously do a fine job coaching these guys. Their workout was crisp, the players attentive and overall it was well organized. One of the first characteristics you notice about the Montrose players is their unselfishness and passing is major part of their system.
Montrose will be split into two different teams and will participate in the Charlie Weber Invitational in College Park this weekend. If you are interested, they begin play Friday night at 5:30 p.m. in Cole Fieldhouse.