Hawks land Obi Romeo

On Saturday morning, after leading the Hawks through a walk-through at Vermont, St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli received a phone call from 2014 Greenbrier East (WV) center Obi Romeo. And just like that, the Hawks got their fourth commitment in the 2014 class.

"Obi totally surprised me with this," Rick Romeo, the adopted father of Nigeria native Obi Romeo, told Hawk Hill Hardwood on Saturday. "Obi called up Coach Martelli and committed, then texted me and told me he did it."

Obi Romeo is a 6'10 center from Nigeria who has spent the last two years in the United States, living with the Romeos and attending Greenbrier East High School in West Virginia. Obi played with East Coast Fusion on the AAU circuit this past summer, and had a series of breakout performances, including his play at the aptly named Reebok Breakout Challenge.

"We were at Florida Gulf Coast last weekend, and we really liked Coach Dooley there," Rick Romeo explained. "But Obi, in the end, said no to Gulf Coast. So I immediately assumed it was 'yes' to St. Joe's, but Obi started getting really nervous about committing. That's why I was so surprised this morning."

While many Division 1 recruits have many people whispering in their ear, that was not the case with Obi. "From day one, it was his decision. Obi would be picking the school he liked the most, the school he was most comfortable with. In the end, it was Coach Martelli. He liked Martelli a lot. He also liked the campus, how he could walk everywhere. St. Joe's has great facilities too, and it's an honor to go to a school like that. We're very happy for Obi."

In the end, Romeo selected the Hawks over Florida Gulf Coast, Longwood, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, and strong interest from La Salle.

While Obi took an official visit to Hawk Hill earlier this fall, he'll be making a return trip next week. "We are coming up for the Creighton game next weekend," Rick explained. "I want Obi to see what it's like there for a big game like that one."

Obi Romeo is St. Joe's fourth 2014 commitment. He joins Cardinal Hayes (NY) point guard Shavar Newkirk, Pace Academy (NC) forward Markell Lodge, and Northside Christian (NC) wing guard James Demery. The Hawks also get West Virginia transfer Aaron Brown eligible.

Romeo possesses a 92-inch wingspan and is a menace on the defensive side of the ball. He runs the floor very well and plays with a sense of urgency. His commitment is a solid one for Coach Phil Martelli and the Hawks. The search now continues on for a shooter to round out what is already a high-level Atlantic 10 recruiting class.

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