Indianapolis, Ind. – At seven-foot tall its hard to remain as a relative unknown, and Solomon Alabi is finding that out.
Alabi is drawing a lot of attention from some of the nation's best programs. The Nigerian native and Montverde (Fla.) Academy center added to his stock over the weekend after being named a starter in the Nike All-America all-star game to close the camp.
Alabi was one of a handful of players originally from Nigeria who has come over to the U.S. in recent years to continue his basketball development. Among the others who are following the same track are a pair of other IU recruiting targets, South Kent (Conn.) center Ayodele Coker and Alabi's Montverde Academy teammate, Joseph Katuka.
Montverde Academy, meanwhile, is beginning to develop a track record of luring some of West Africa's best basketball talents stateside. In addition to Alabi and Katuka, Michigan State big man Idong Ibok (Nigeria) also prepped at Montverde, as did UCLA's Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who are both from Cameroon.
"My coach now knew a scout from Nigeria who told him about me," said Alabi, who returned to Nigeria July 12 to compete with the Nigerian Junior National Team in the African Championships. "I like it here. It's a great opportunity for me to go to school and get an education while enjoying the game of basketball."
Since moving to America, Alabi has been working on making his game translate into the American style of play. With his height as his best asset, Alabi has been able to make more noise with his defense than offense thus far.
"I need to work on my hook shot so I can score over anyone, even people my own height," said Alabi who had the rare chance to challenge players his height at the Nike Camp last week. "I always want to make my outside better."
Alabi may not know the history of a lot of American schools, but he is finding out who is interested in him and what schools have the best reputations.
"There are a lot of American schools that are interested in me playing for them," said Alabi. "I don't really know a lot of universities in America, but there are a lot of colleges are trying to contact me.
"I like Florida State, St. John's, Virginia and Ohio State right now," Alabi said. "But I have a lot of options."
Indiana, Florida, Kentucky, Kansas and Clemson are also pursuing him, and his Montverde coach recently listed Indiana among Alabi's top six. IU head coach Kelvin Sampson is doing his best to make a big push after joining Alabi's recruiting late.
"Indiana has been recruiting me," said Alabi. "One of the assistant coaches came to my school and he watched me play for a little while."
With one summer left before his senior year of high school in America, Alabi will have to familiarize himself with American schools in a hurry if he hopes to take all his official visits during the school year.
"I have not gone to visit any schools yet," said Alabi. "I plan on doing that at the end of summer. I'm going to sit down and pick the best top five schools for me. I'm not sure what schools those will be until that day."
Things Looking Up for 7'1" Alabi
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