Meet Moses Omolade - SJSU's new big man

Moses Omolade is the big man San Jose State basketball coach George Nessman wanted, and got. Omolade recently signed a letter of intent to play for the Spartans, and Inside Sparta spoke with the New York native and his coach at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Calif.

It would be easy to charge into some sort of overused litany about 'Moses and the promised land' when beginning an introduction to Southwestern College's Moses Omolade — now a San Jose State Spartan — so let's go in another direction.

The 6-foot-7 Omolade, born in Brooklyn and raised for a number of years in Nigeria and Queens, is first and foremost a defender on the basketball court. From a previous interview in The Sun (Southwestern's student newspaper), he talked about his and Southwestern's emphasis: "On defense, it's all the same around the world. You get low and play tough. Our game is our defense. It intimidates every team in the conference. They're scared." He also added, "Once we get the ball after a blocked shot or a steal, we push it down their throats."

The team captain for three years — he redshirted his second season at Southwestern — Omolade averaged a California junior college best five plus blocked shots a game in 2008-2009. He's not the biggest — weighing in at 200 pounds — but his timing, desire, aggressiveness and athletic ability combine to swat and intimidate.

Head Coach John Cosentino, who will be heading into his 20th year next season at Southwestern had this to say about his protégé: "In my 34 years of coaching, including five years at both (The University of San Francisco) and (The University of San Diego), he is the best shotblocker I've had. We're a defensive oriented team and he changed how teams attacked us."

Omolade concurs with his coach. "My shotblocking ability is my best skill. I led the state in blocked shots this season," he said. Indeed he did, going from 1.2 shotblocks a game in conference play during 2006-2007 to over five this season. That, plus solid shooting and rebounding led to his selection to the Pacific Coast All-Conference squad after the recently concluded season.

But according to Cosentino, "Moses is a very good offensive rebounder. He will dunk everything in close and can score with both hands near to the basket, plus he has some range on his shot. I see him as a solid four at San Jose State."

Omolade is also more than willing to run the floor. Whether it's due to a blocked shot or a steal or a defensive rebound, "I want to push it down the court. I'm coming to get that dunk."

He displays a passion for basketball. "I have a love for the game," Omolade said. "So everytime you play you have to play hard." Responding to a query regarding how his friends would describe him, Omolade offered, "A leader, all business when it comes to basketball but always smiling off the court." Cosentino added, "He is best friends with one of my sons and is at our house all the time."

As to why he chose San Jose State, Omolade said, "The visit sold it. Coach (Brent) Davis built a relationship with me better than the coaches at the other schools and he also talked a lot to my parents."

Omolade didn't play prep ball at August Martin High in Jamaica, Queens -- streetball yes, organized hoops, no. Then he grew three inches in the summer of 2003, reaching 6-foot-6, and the basketball sirens — plus a former Southwestern player — lured him into heading west to California, Southwestern College specifically.

"I was playing in a streetball tournament and this guy [the former player] noticed me," Omolade said. Word got back to the Southwestern staff, a coach came east to assess him and soon he was on his way to San Diego, California, a city and state he had never previously visited. "When I arrived in San Diego, my first workout was with one of the assistant coaches. 'You're a stud,' he told me." That, and playing in open gyms with D-1 players in the area, convinced him that a basketball scholarship to a four-year school was in his future.

It's not like Omolade hasn't done his share of traveling prior to arriving in San Diego. His family moved from New York to Nigeria when he was five years old because his father worked in the cargo business. About his years there, Omolade said, "Oh man, what a big change from America where what you say counts. I learned a lot of discipline and it grounded me as a person."

Spartans fans will notice a long tattoo reading "STAT, Standing Tall and Talented" adorning Omolade's right arm from shoulder to elbow. The genesis of it was watching a video on Amar'e Stoudamire of the Phoenix Suns.

As for his major, it will more than likely be television and broadcasting with a minor in theater arts. He initially had interest in becoming an aerospace engineer ,"But I lost my passion for math," he said. Now, he is more focused on communications.

As for his quick progress on the court, Omolade offered, "I couldn't have done it without God, first and foremost, my family, my coaches and the Southwestern family, and all the people I've met along the way who helped me."

So look for a tall and talented 'STAT man' on the San Jose State campus sometime this summer.

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