Michael Nzei showed last weekend that he's ready for long road trips in college basketball. The Class of 2014 forward traveled halfway across the country before returning home to New York and delivering on the court.
Nzei officially visited Iowa from Friday to Sunday, when after a long flight the 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward won the MVP of the Metro Classic All-Star game in New York City. The Our Savior New American senior scored 19 points to lead his Long Island squad to a 119-118 victory against Isaiah Whitehead and the team from NYC.
Nzei's performance could continue to raise is stock in the recruiting market. For now, he's thinking about Iowa, the only school he's seen officially and one that made a great impression on him.
"It's a good basketball program," Nzei said in an electronic correspondence. "I like the town and I like the fans, too."
Nzei attended the Black and Gold Blowout on Friday night and then the following day took in the Hawkeyes' 17-10 overtime victory against Northwestern in football.
"I think he had a really good time," Our Savior Assistant Coach and recruiting advisor Eric Jaklitsch said. "He liked the coaches and the guys on the team. I think he felt comfortable."
Hawkeye freshman Peter Jok played host to Nzei.
"He is cool," Nzei said.
Jaklitsch reports that Nzei holds scholarship offers from St. Joe's and Duquesne in addition to Iowa. They're trying to decide whether or not to take official visits to one or both of those schools.
"I really like for our guys to see more than one school so they can compare," Jaklitsch said. "I don't think I've ever had a guy only visit one school and then commit. (Nzei) really likes Iowa, so that's not a reflection on them.
"If anything, it would give him a chance to see how much Iowa would stick out to him."
Jaklitsch told us last week that Nzei (pronounced "N-Z") could sign his letter of intent next month (signing period Nov. 13-20) or wait until the spring (April 16-May 21). The power forward arrived in the United States from his Nigerian home to better his chances at reaching the highest level of college basketball.
Nzei's visits were delayed until October because he had to take a standardized test. He has adjusted well to academics in American and shouldn't have a problem qualifying to college, Jaklitsch said.