Chris Beard and the Texas Tech basketball staff stayed hot on the recruiting trail by adding power forward Malik Ondigo to the 2017 commitment list Monday night. Ondigo is the sixth addition to the recruiting class as the Red Raiders have already signed five prospects.
Ondigo, a 6-foot-10, 210-pound power forward out of Arizona who also played a year of prep basketball at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut last year, said he chose Texas Tech over a host of other schools including Purdue, Nevada, Colorado and Boston College, because the Red Raider program is a perfect match for him and added his official visit to Lubbock over the weekend sealed the deal.
"I have been high on Texas Tech for the longest time, because it's the best situation," Ondigo said. "When I got to Tech you know it lived up to the hype. I feel like I can do really well here. My game can really expand and coach (Chris) Beard can help me out in a lot of ways."
The Scout three-star prospect went on to say Beard and Co. not only impressed him during the visit but his parents as well and that he made his decision in the Lubbock airport Sunday after talking it over with them. Ondigo and his parents, who also accompanied him on official visits to Purdue and Nevada earlier this month, agreed Lubbock and Texas Tech just felt like the right place for him.
"Like I said I had been high on Tech for awhile and a lot of my visits went great, but they said it felt different at Texas Tech," Ondigo said. "They understood why I was talking so highly of Texas Tech and they thought they will take good care of me and I don't think that, I know they are going to take good care of me."
His meetings with Beard during the visit went a long way toward confirming for Ondigo what he already felt he knew about Red Raider basketball and how he could fit into the program.
"It was the meetings. I felt like with Beard, we sat down and he broke down the roster with me, he showed me where minutes are at, where I can get the minutes at," Ondigo said. "Just honestly explaining it from that standpoint it was more the basketball standpoint of breaking it down with the head coach, looking at the roster, looking at the situation, breaking down film, looking at the way they play and showing me multiple ways I can thrive in his offense and his defense by being able to switch and defend multiple positions."
Aside from the X's and O's Ondigo described Beard as "straight-dead serious" on one hand, but a "good, goofy character" on the other, adding Texas Tech's head coach is a player's coach, which he likes. He also appreciated the open door philosophy employed by Beard, who welcomes players to come by his office and hang out, watch TV and converse between classes and workouts.
Ondigo named every coach in the program down to the strength and conditioning assistants and nutritionist as a reason for picking Tech, but assistant coach Mark Adams was instrumental in the power forward ending up at Tech.
"Adams is a funny dude, too. Both of them recruited me, both of them when I was away at school (Putnam) came down and met my dad (in Arizona)," Ondigo said. "Adams is a funny guy, I really like how honest he was with me throughout the whole process and just being honest with me and told me not just things I wanted to hear, but that I needed to hear and I thought that was really important in the process. On the visit we were hanging at his house having a good time and he just gave me the biggest hug you could give a player as I was leaving for the airport and I just really felt the love that he had for me and that they were going to take care of me there."
Ondigo noted he's also familiar with Beard's offense as he played in a similar motion offense on his AAU team.
"I was successful in AAU being able to catch it, come off a down screen, go attack the basket on straight-line drives and be able to hit the 15-16, 18 foot jump shot and be able to play all around the court offensively. Then being able to post up because of how much space you have in the offense, plus me running it before, knowing a little bit about it with ball screens he wants to incorporate a little bit more, I feel like I know the offense."
Finally Ondigo said he felt a lot of love from current players on the visit such as Justin Gray and Zach Smith as well as 2017 signee Jarrett Culver, a three-star local star out of Lubbock Coronado. He was also taken aback a little bit by how many Tech fans and Lubbock residents recognized him, introduced themselves and impressed him with their West Texas charm.
"They were showing a lot of love, but I felt it," Ondigo said. "Just me being there I felt it a lot and people weren't afraid to come up, say hi and talk to me. It was great. I just felt comfortable."
Though Ondigo isn't quite sure when he will sign his Letter of Intent with Tech, he said it will be before the end of the late signing period deadline on May 17, that it's just a matter of figuring out the logistics of getting some family in town for the ceremony.
Ondigo chose Texas Tech over at least 18 other offers. He's the sixth commit of the signing class joining junior college transfer point guards Hyron Edwards and Josh Webster, plus a trio of fellow three-star prospects from the high school ranks including 6-5 guard/wing Jarrett Culver, 6-10 forward Daniel Mading and 6-5 wing Zhaire Smith, who signed earlier this month after choosing the Red Raider over the Texas Longhorns among others.