Nwankwo On the Brink

Perhaps no target in this 2004 Stanford Basketball recruiting class has been tracked and desired by Stanford fans longer than Maryland's Davis Nwankwo. The accumulated anticipation may have been great, but anxiety has now doubled after the power forward has returned from his official visit to Arizona. A college decision may be right around the corner...

We told you last week of the intensifying battle between Stanford and Arizona for the services of one of the top power forwards in the nation, as they tussle for Washington D.C. big man Davis Nwankwo.  The #58 player in the country took his first official visit back in late February to The Farm and has ever since pronounced Stanford as his favorite school, but the gap between the Cardinal and another school has been narrowing of late.  As recently as this past week Nwankwo named Arizona in the top two with Stanford.  And a recruiting rule of thumb says that you are in trouble if you are tied with a school despite your advantage of alone having hosted an official visit.

So perhaps then it is not surprising that Nwankwo is sky high on the Wildcats today after returning from his official visit to the Desert this past weekend.  "It was exciting," he describes.  "I had a lot of opportunities to interact with a lot of people.  I felt really comfortable with the players.  We played some pickup games that I enjoyed, and we went out and partied, too.  I feel like I really connected with the players and coaches."

He also says that he heard all the right things from Lute Olsen and the Arizona coaching staff.  "They tell me I'm just the player they need," Nwankwo says.  "They like that I'm a long player who can run the court and play defense.  There is no question they really want me."

While it is not singularly newsworthy in of itself that Nwankwo had a fun time on the trip, which is expected to occur on almost any official visit to a top program, the impact of this visit could play out as early as this week.  The 6'9" power forward was already uncertain as to how he would balance the rising momentum he feels with Arizona, versus the need to wait things out another month to gain admission to Stanford.

"This is big," he proclaims about the Tucson visit.  "Playing the players was really big.  The campus is easy to get around, and I had a little big more fun at Arizona.  It's definitely possible that I could commit to Arizona this week.  There was no way I would do that while I was there, because I needed to talk with people.  I need to get my parents' insight and talk with my high school coach.  Still, Stanford is my dream school.  But I could definitely decide this week."

It is also unsurprising that with such strong feelings toward the two Pac-10 schools, Nwankwo is now doubtful on remaining official or unofficial visits.  He was previously planning on taking an unofficial trip to Virginia in two weeks, and then an official trek to Georgia Tech after that.  Today he calls any visits to those two schools "long shots."

"The latest I could decide is early November before the signing period," Nwankwo continues.  "But it might be early October.  It might be this week.  All I know is it's coming and things will be more clear after I talk with my parents and coach."

The magic dates Stanford is watching are September 27 and October 11.  Those are the next offered ACT and SAT opportunities, respectively, and Nwankwo has previously told The Bootleg that the Cardinal coaching staff needs incremental improvements in one or both of his test scores to gain admission to the school.  Clearly all is lost for Stanford in this recruitment if Nwankwo pulls the trigger this week for Arizona.  Conversely, though, if he makes it through the week without a decision, time is on Stanford's side.  A conscious effort to wait now will pull the recruit further away from the emotional aftershocks of the Arizona visit and bring him closer to the tests that could put him into his self-professed dream school.

We will all watch and wait this week for news.  But we do know that no news will be good news for Cardinalmaniacs™ holding their breath for Davis Nwankwo.

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