Solomon Will Provide An Extra Dimension

Mitch Solomon averaged nearly a double-double a year ago at Bixby (Okla.) High School bus wasn't receiving much recruiting interest from Division I schools. But that changed over the summer as he performed well at a pair of tournaments. The 6-9, 210-pound post player impressed enough to receive nearly 20 scholarship offers before giving a verbal to Oklahoma State on Saturday. visited last week with Scott Padek, head coach at Bixby High School, who believes the Cowboys are getting a player who will provide a dimension head coach Travis Ford's team hasn't utilized in recent seasons.

"I think what opened a lot of people's eyes this summer was the fact he expanded his range to 3-point range, and shot the ball real well," said Padek. "He's a very skilled basketball player and he's probably the best perimeter shooter (we'll have) even though he's a legitimate 6-9."

Solomon made an official visit to Oklahoma State the first weekend of October, and rumors began circulating shortly after the visit that he was going to commit to the Cowboys. He finally announced his decision, picking OSU over Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

"You go back to April and there were just a couple of schools calling, and those were just preliminary calls. They were not major schools by any means," said Padek. "But that first weekend in July in Indianapolis he played real well, and then he came back to Dallas, and then it got crazy. Almost all the area schools were interested in him."

Over the last several months, Solomon received offers from nearly 20 schools, including Colorado, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oral Roberts, SMU, Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Yale. Padek said Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins and the entire Cardinal staff made the trip to Bixby to visit with Solomon in September.

"He's had a lot of opportunities. As this thing keeps going on I think it's become a bigger deal than him and his family ever thought," Padek said last week before Solomon gave his verbal to the Cowboys.

Solomon averaged 15.7 points, 9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last year as a junior, while shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 65.9 precent from the free-throw line.

Padek said Solomon's dedication to improving his outside shot proved to college coaches what he was capable of doing, and led to the scholarship offers over the summer.

"I think what's happened is he's really been working on his perimeter game. He's a 6-9 very skilled basketball player, good passer, good shooter, good touch around the basketball," the Bixby head coach said. "Last year he did not take a single 3-point shot, but that will be changing quite a bit. His range last year was probably about 15 feet.

"We did tell him a couple of years ago that if he gets to where he makes perimeter shots, for his size that makes him invaluable for college guys because with all the ball screening going on, the pick-and-pop stuff, and also hitting a trail 3-point shot off the break, he'd get plenty of attention."

Solomon becomes the Cowboys' third commitment, joining guards Jared Terrell from Brewster Academy, a prep school in Wolfeboro, N.H., and point guard Jeff Newberry from New Mexico Junior College. All verbal commitments are non-binding until the early signing period for basketball player, Nov. 13-20.

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