Six-foot-9 Daniel Oturu from Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota is the definition of high potential. Oturu has worked his way to five high major scholarship offers because the 2018 big plays with a desire that few with size can match plus his game matures by the day. Oturu visited Minnesota on Thursday unofficially.
Minnesota vowed to thoroughly scout this 2018 class early and they’ve identified the locals they want quickly. The Gophers were the second to offer Tre Jones (Tubby Smith offered Jones at Texas Tech before he played a high school game), and the first high major program to offer Gabe Kalscheur, Race Thompson, and this past July, Daniel Oturu.
Daniel was excited for his Minnesota offer. When we first talked to Oturu for an article last winter he mentioned that he was a Gopher basketball fan since his elementary days.
“It means a lot to be offered by your home state,” said Oturu just moments after receiving his offer at the Peach Jam. “and I just want build a relationship with the coaches. I think highly of the coaches there. I would like to visit there and see how much I'd like it there.”
Meeting with the coaches was the first thing on his mind after the offer and yesterday the coaching staff and Daniel’s family made that happen.
“My visit today was good,” Oturu said. “The things that stood out to me was how the coaches were really happy to have me on campus and it just felt like I was wanted there, and it was good environment.”
Daniel spoke to us previously about how important it is for him to know a coaching staff, trust a coaching staff, and have a relationship with a coaching staff. Both sides were excited to be together on Thursday.
“I met with Head Coach Pitino and assistant Ben Johnson, it felt like they were really glad I came to visit,” Daniel explained. “We all kind of talked about how I could continue to grow as a player to separate myself from others.
“And that had a huge take on my mental side of things because I never thought about things like that so it was good for me to talk to both of them especially because they coach in the Big Ten.”
Oturu has the ability to dominate. Last year as a sophomore who had grown to 6-foot-8 (Daniel was 6-foot-4 two years ago at Stillwater and has grown to 6-foot-9 since the high school season completed) Oturu was raw but he physically attacked opponents with a passion and emotion that few bigs play with.
Daniel put up 16.8 points and 14.6 rebounds a contest shooting 64 percent from the floor on 11-12 shots a game. Oturu also blocked 5.8 shots a game with a couple steals and assists as well. All of this using his physical ability and playing with a high level of energy.
Now Oturu is adding core strength to his frame and his low post arsenal has expanded through a high work ethic. After his talk with the Gopher staff about how he can further dominate games Oturu went on a tour that included some knowledge of the new athletics facilities that are being built.
“The first thing we did was watch part of the practice, some of the players had a team workout so we watched that. After that was when I met with Coach Pitino and Coach Johnson in Coach Pitino’s office. After the meeting and practice we went on a tour of the athletic area, and a tour of the student-athletics building.”
Oturu had several double-doubles for the Howard Pulley Panthers this year splitting time with 2017 post Theo John. Along the way Oturu collected offers from Georgia Tech, Providence, Memphis, Northern Iowa, Minnesota, and Creighton.