With two open scholarships available to it for the 2014 Class, Iowa is playing host to New York power forward Michael Nzei on an official visit this weekend. The Hawkeyes still are trying to find a recruit at the position after missing out on several other prospects there, including Tory Miller, who committed to Colorado last weekend.
Iowa represents Nzei's first official visit after his trips were held up until he recently gained a required standardized test score. The early signing period for national letters of intent, which runs from Nov. 13-20, quickly is approaching. The spring period begins April 16 and lasts until May 21.
"We're not sure yet," said Eric Jaklitsch, an assistant coach with Nzei's Our Savior New American High team, about whether the forward will sign early or late.
Jaklitsch said that decision likely would come down to whether or not Nzei feels comfortable enough at a program by the time the early period ends on Nov. 20. The coach doesn't feel that a commitment would be coming this weekend while 6-foot-7, 200-pounder is in Iowa City.
"I think he'll want to see some other schools so he can compare (them to Iowa)," Jaklitsch said.
Jaklitsch reports that St. Joseph's and Duquesne have offered scholarships to Nzei (pronounced "N-Z"). Other schools are showing interest, he said.
"They're trying to set up visits with him but it's hard because our season starts soon," Jaklitsch said.
Iowa offered Nzei a scholarship during the summer. We wrote about it at the time, discussing his background coming to the states from Nigeria, and you can read it HERE.
"They've been in pretty constant contact and aggressive," Jaklitsch said of the Hawkeyes' pursuit of Nzei. "They've been out to see him at open gyms, including the head coach (Fran McCaffery). They like that he's an animal on the boards and feel like he can fit in well there."
Jaklitsch said that Nzei seeks a college that can develop his raw game. He has not decided on a major.
Nzei will return home Sunday morning for the Metro Classic All-Star game pitting players from Long Island against a team from New York City at Archbishop Molloy High School. The contest will be shown on MSG Varsity. If they make it available on-line, you can find it HERE.