BYU’s newest guard for the 2017 class in Christian Popoola Jr. decided to make his commitment official when he committed to Coach Rose. The commitment came after BYU had only recently thrown their hats into the PoPoola sweepstakes.
“BYU started recruited me right as the summer began, and right after my high school season is about when I started hearing from BYU and Coach Lewis,” PoPoola said. “So, that was cool. I went along with the recruiting process, and I took my unofficial visit there and checked everything out. After that I sat down with my parents and just thought BYU had the best of both worlds.”
Prior to committing to BYU, PoPoola had many outstanding colleges to choose from.
“I had a lot of offers before committing,” PoPoola said. “I had offers from Oklahoma, USC, SDSU, Rutgers, Princeton, Memphis, New Mexico, UNLV, and some others as well. What made me choose over everyone else was definitely a unique combination of factors.”
One reason among the many is due to having his former high school coach, Quincy Lewis, currently in the BYU program as an assistant coach. PoPoola shares a wide range of reasons why he chose BYU over the rest.
“I had Coach Lewis my sophomore year when I was at Lone Peak, so that was really exciting and I really resonate with him and know exactly who he is and what he does,” said PoPoola. “Meeting all the other coaches at BYU, they made me feel comfortable right away and I just love the staff that’s there.”
The three star recruit came in second place to the number one recruit in the nation, DeAndre Ayton, who is listed at 7’0”, 220-pounds, in a slam dunk contest. PoPoola knows he’s joining a BYU roster chalked full of talented players.
“Then there are the players, of course, and they’re really cool guys,” PoPoola said. “The entire team is stacked with talented players that will know how to synchronize together right away having played together in the past. I think I’ll fit right in with those guys.”
BYU has a great business school ranked among the tops in the nation. So the fact that BYU has all these factors, along with being in a state that really supports the sport of basketball, made it an easy choice for PoPoola.
“Also BYU has a great business school so I’m really interested in looking into that,” said PoPoola. “I think the type of education that BYU provides in that field is top notch. Then the state of Utah has a great basketball environment and I love how the state supports basketball in general. Adding all of those things together really made me feel like BYU was the right place for me.”
When PoPoola finally suits up in BYU blue, he expects to blend his skill sets with those coming back to the program from the mission field.
“I’m an athletic point guard and I like to play fast, so I’ll fit in their system really well,” PoPoola said. “BYU is known for their skilled shooters and really skilled big guys, so I’m really excited to play with that. They’re going to have a lot of great players and really good guards there, so I’m excited to play with some of the guys that will be coming back from their missions. I think I’m going to compliment them well. I’m an athletic point guard and plays on both sides of the ball. I can shoot it and there’s isn’t anything that I’m not confident about right now.”
He’ll join outstanding players such as Nick Emery, Eric Mika, and T.J, Haws, who he watched on the court and made Lone Peak the number basketball program in the nation when he was a youngster. He’ll also have players such as Elijah Bryant, Braiden Shaw, Jamal Aytes, and Payton Dastrup, among others, that will join an already stacked roster in the future. He believes the talent currently developing, coupled with the talent that will be coming in, will push BYU towards a Final Four appearance sometime in the future.
“Honestly, I think we definitely have all the people and the type of team to go to the Final Four,” said Popoola. “I think we have all the pieces to be a Final Four contender. And if not at least at Elite Eight-type team. That’s how good I think the potential of this team has. I think what I bring to the floor will compliment what the rest of the guys already have to make this team a really, really good team.”