Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff kicked off the 2009 recruiting class in style when DeMatha Catholic High School (MD) top 100 national guard Naji Hibbert verbally committed to the Aggies on Monday.
"I committed to Texas A&M today," Hibbert said. "I had a great visit there last summer and I have a great relationship with Coach Turgeon and Coach Spinnelli (asst coach). Everything kept coming back to Texas A&M and it was time."
The Scout.com four-star guard averaged an impressive 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals as a junior for the prestigious DeMatha Catholic basketball program in Maryland that features such alumni as former NBA stars Sidney Lowe, Adrian Dantley, Danny Ferry, Joseph Forte, and Keith Bogans. His junior performance attracted offers from major D-1 programs such as Xavier, Syracuse, Miami, Marquette, Clemson, and Texas A&M. In addition, prominent national programs like Kentucky, Indiana, Georgetown, Georgia Tech and Tennessee were involved with the 6-foot-5, 185-pound prospect this spring.
However, the Aggies secured his verbal commitment and flexed its newfound recruiting muscle on the national scene after a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and coming within two points and seven seconds from defeating No. 1 seed UCLA and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen under first year coach Mark Turgeon. Texas A&M's new status as a perennial NCAA Tournament contender certainly made an impact on Hibbert.
"Texas A&M may not have the history of schools like Kentucky, Indiana, and Georgetown," Hibbert said. "But it's an elite program. They win. They have great facilities and a new practice arena that will be ready when I get there, and they have a great fan base in a college town that revolves around the university. It has everything I'm looking for."
But while the university's facilities and fanbase along with the program's winning ways played an important factor in his decision to commit to the Aggies, the ultimate determining factor for the blue chip guard was his relationship with the coaching staff and the current players.
"I called Coach Turgeon and Coach Spinnelli almost every day," Hibbert said. "Coach Turgeon is a humble guy who gives it to you straight. He'll tell you when you're doing good, and he'll tell you when you're doing bad. The players are close like a family and there are no egos. I just felt very comfortable with the situation overall."
Even though it will be over a year before the blue chip guard joins his collegiate team, Hibbert will fill a need for Texas A&M as the program looks to add the personnel to play more aggressive on both ends of the court.
"They want to push the ball up-court and play aggressive man-to-man defense," Hibbert said. "And God willing I'll be able to come in and help. I just want to be a good teammate. This team has a lot of potential and hopefully I can contribute."
Hibbert becomes the first 2009 commitment for the Aggies. The Maryland native says that his announcement officially ends his recruitment process.
"I'm done," Hibbert said. "I'm not going to take any more visits. I may go down to Texas A&M this summer to show my family around, and I'll take my official visit there, but that's it."
Hibbert Discusses Commitment
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