As the recruiting process rolls into the team elite summer camp season just five months before the early signing period for the Class of 2010, verbal pledges are picking up from the remaining uncommitted players. Bellaire (TX) forward Tobi Oyedeji is the most recent Top 50 national prospect to take his name off the board and make a commitment, which is music to the ears of Mark Turgeon and the Texas A&M coaching staff. After returning from the Aggies' elite camp Monday afternoon, Oyedeji sat down with his parents and decided the time was right to end the process and commit to Texas A&M.
"Yes sir, I committed tonight to Texas A&M," Oyedeji said. "I had been thinking about it and the camp was great. I feel comfortable there, so when I got home I discussed it with my parents and they agreed Texas A&M would be a good place for me. I called Coach Turgeon and committed. He was pretty happy."
The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward chose the Aggies over several schools including Arizona State, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Memphis. Oyedeji becomes the second commitment for the Aggies in the Class of 2010 joining fellow 6-foot-8 Texan Daniel Alexander from Dripping Springs who pledged to Coach Turgeon last month.
"When I heard that Daniel committed to A&M, that showed me this class was going to be great and that I could add to it. We're both versatile and mobile big men and we can play off each other in the high-low post," Oyedeji said. "We played together for the first time this week at the A&M camp, and we complimented each other. He fed me 4-5 times a game for some easy baskets, and I did the same thing for him. We clicked on the court."
The accomplishments of the Texas A&M coaching staff was a big factor as well in Oyedeji's choice to play basketball in College Station for the next four years. In particular, Coach Turgeon's ability to develop big men and the fact that the program is one of only six D-1 programs to win a NCAA Tournament game in the past four years also played a factor in his decision.
"Coach Turgeon knows how to develop big men. He did a great job of developing Chin (Chinemelu Elonu) last season. He'll be one of the best post players in the Big 12 next year," Oyedeji said. "The basketball program has become one of the best in the country. I saw B.J. Holmes at the camp and he had a t-shirt with ‘Four Straight NCAA Tournaments' on the back. It's become a program that wins every year."
The new facilities at Texas A&M was also a factor, and the opening of the state-of-the-art practice gyms, locker rooms, and training areas shows that the program is serious about winning and attracting the best players, according to the Scout.com No. 49 national prospect in the Class of 2010.
"I was at Memphis for their camp last week and that's an elite program with a lot of success," Oyedeji said. "They had nice facilities, but they don't compare to Texas A&M's new facilities. It's big-time there. It has everything you need to be successful, and I'm close with all the coaches, staff, and players, so I decided I didn't need to look at anybody else."
At the A&M camp, Oyedeji showed off his abilities and was one of the top camp performers. He also flashed some impressive new ballhandling skills that he's recently developed in the offseason thanks to his hard work at the John Lucas Camp in Houston.
"I've worked hard on my ballhandling and it's paying off. I've been going to the John Lucas Camp for several hours a day and there are mostly guards there and all they do is guard drills, no post drills," Oyedeji said. "I'm getting pretty good with my cross-over dribble and moving with the ball. My shooting range has also improved. I can step out on the perimeter and hit outside shots if I need to bring my man out."
But while Oyedeji has improved on his guard skills, his performance down in the paint leaves no doubt that the No. 13 power forward in nation per Scout.com can mix it up with the most physical players down low and be productive in the paint. He faced off against several of the top post players in the nation at the A&M camp, including five-star big man Luke Cothron from North Carolina and good friend Jason Carter from Fort Bend Marshall who just last week picked up an offer from Oklahoma State.
"I thought I did pretty good against Luke," Oyedeji said. "I've played against Jason several times. We joke around before the games, but we get after it when the game starts. The first time we played, we both ripped each other's shirts. It gets pretty intense. The first time down the court this week, he gives me a big shove under the basket, and I look at him and we know it's going to be physical the rest of the way. Overall, I had a good camp and competed with some great post players. It was a good experience."
Oyedeji indicated that the recruiting process will end with his verbal commitment to the Aggies. He had a visit scheduled to Arizona State and was thinking about a visit to Oklahoma and possibly Baylor, but he no longer has plans to visit other schools and is comfortable with his choice to play at Texas A&M.
Oyedeji Makes His Decision
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