The 6-foot-8 monster, ranked No. 38 (and rising) in his class by Scout.com, picked Rutgers over Pittsburgh, Duke, Villanova, Syracuse, Memphis, Florida, Miami and Notre Dame, according to St. Benedict's coach Danny Hurley.
"When it came down to it he was looking for a combination of quality academics with high level basketball," Hurley said. "He wanted to be able to control his own destiny as a player. With Mike Rosario and Corey Chandler there he felt like they were getting better players and it was a play he could be a focal point on their interior."
Scout.com tabs Echenique, a native of Venezuela, as one of the top interior defenders in the nation. His pledge to Rutgers continues a re-tooling of the talent in the program. Echenique could be the Scarlet Knights second all-american in as many years; on the heels of Rosario in 2008.
"He knows where he's effective," Hurley said. "He's not a post guy who thinks he's a small forward. He's built to fight and play around the basket. He's got a ability to guard guys bigger and quicker."
Playing alongside Samardo Samuels, Echenique scored 12 points, pulled down 9.9 rebounds and shot a staggering 74% from the field. "There was a part of him saying that he wanted to control his own destiny on the court," Hurley said of his center's decision to bypass offers from a litany of traditional power house programs.
Echenique, an outstanding student, sensed something big cooking on the banks of the Raritan, according to Hurley. "It smells like it's the start of something big there."