After SMU’s controversial loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Larry Brown and his staff can focus on recruiting. While the 2015 class is still yet to be finalized, 2016 is important too, and one of the 2016 prospects to watch is Corona (Calif.) Centennial power forward Ike Anigbogu.
Anigbogu picked up an SMU offer in the early fall, but didn’t stay in consistent contact with the staff during the season. He described his contact with SMU as “sometimes, here and now and again,” and couldn’t remember who his primary recruiter had been. But his opinion of the school remains favorable.
“I think it’s a really good school, my teammate Sedrick Barefield is going there,” Anigbogu said. “And I was watching them closely throughout the season. I think it’s a really good school with a really good coach.”
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound center said he would like to take a visit to the Hilltop, but hasn’t scheduled one at this time.
Anigbogu has offers from California, Arizona State SMU, Tulsa, UC Irvine, Vanderbilt and San Jose State. Arizona and UCLA have been showing heavy interest lately. Since Anigbogu values academics highly, it’s no surprise that a couple of his favorites are highly regarded academic schools.
“I think Cal, Arizona and UCLA [are separating themselves],” Anigbogu said. “A lot of contact and they’re building a strong relationship with me. Some of them come out a lot; Cal visits me a lot.”
While those three are West Coast schools, Anigbogu said geography isn’t a big factor in his decision. But finding a well-rounded school is.
“It has to be all-around, because school is for academics,” Anigbogu said. “For basketball, I want to be comfortable in the program, and I want to be able to have the opportunity to play right away.”
Anigbogu said he may make a decision after the end of his AAU season, but could decide to push it back.
Centennial advanced to state semifinals in the California Division I state championship, and Anigbogu said that’s when he started playing his best basketball.
“I felt like once we got in the playoffs, I really started picking it up,” Anigbogu said. “I really started playing better and getting more confident in myself.”
He’s also steadily kept a focus on his defensive game.
“One thing I’ve always specialized on from the beginning was defense,” Anigbogu said. “I like to block and alter shots. I’m more on the athletic side, and I’m always looking to finish above the rim.”