Bloomington – Bawa Manuri is looking for a program that has a need for his type of player, and he thinks Indiana might just be that program.
The 6'11", 250-pound center from Charis Prep in Goldsboro, N.C., has just recently surfaced as an IU recruiting target, but the Hoosier coaching staff first took notice of Manuri's abilities at an AAU event in Louisville in the spring. Since that time IU has continued to be intrigued by the big man who hails from the West African country of Guinea, and he said they recently offered a scholarship after IU assistant coach Roshown McLeod came to watch him play.
"Indiana is the top choice right now because they have shown more interest in me, and I want to go somewhere that they need me and they really want me, somewhere they think I have something to offer," Manuri said.
"Indiana has shown that, and a couple of other schools have to. There are a lot of programs that want me, but not that many that really need me."
Manuri said he's hopeful that he'll be in Bloomington next weekend (Sept. 19) for an official visit, although he said the trip isn't finalized just yet. He said he will also make an official visit to Louisville this month as well after the IU visit.
Besides IU and Louisville, Manuri said he has more than 10 scholarship offers, but no "favorites" at this point. Oklahoma State is another school that he's identified as having a need at center, while UCLA and USC are two of the other big names that have also offered.
Indiana, meanwhile, has an obvious need in the post, and Manuri has taken notice.
"I think I'm a legit 7-foot guy," Manuri said. "They believe in how I can run the court and they believe they can develop me and they believe I can fit in their program and produce. They believe I can help them get what they want to get done.
"That's why they are recruiting me. I also think I'm getting better, I'm playing pretty well, and they think I can keep getting better."
While the opportunity to fill a need at IU is an attraction, so is the presence of McLeod, who has led IU's pursuit of Manuri.
"Coach McLeod, we have this connection," Manuri said. "You talk to some people and you don't connect with them. There are some that right away you feel like you have something in common. That's how I felt when I talked to Coach McLeod. I could tell he'd be fun to hang out with, and he'd be able to teach me. If I feel that's where I need to go and I commit there, I feel there's some things we have in common and it would be a lot of fun."
Will Manuri Be the Big Man on IU's Campus?
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