Nwankwo received a number of offers from big-time college basketball programs last fall. The big man favored Arizona, but his parents preferred Stanford, and he ended up deferring his college decision until the spring signing period. Having used up all five of his official visits and still undecided, Nwankwo took an unofficial visit to Northwestern earlier this week, and plans to visit Vanderbilt unofficially next week. Vanderbilt has three signees already for the class of 2004, but still has two scholarships available.
TheInsiders.com spoke with head coach Dwayne Bryant, who has coached Nwankwo all four of his varsity seasons at Georgetown Prep, about Nwankwo's abilities and his recruitment process.
Georgetown Prep head coach Dwayne Bryant: "I think Davis is going to be a tremendous player on the college level. He's as skilled as any big man I saw in the McDonald's All-American game this week. I didn't see one guy on that floor that I thought was as skilled as Davis is.
"He's definitely a power forward in college. I often compare him to Chris Webber, because he's got that kind of hands, and he shoots the 15-footer. We had a 7-foot-2, 270-pound kid, Roy Hibbert [Georgetown signee], who played center for us, so Davis played the 4-position.
"When he first got here, he was about 6-4, 6-5, and he played the point guard spot up until he got into high school. So he's a good ball-handler and passer. He runs the floor as well as any guard. He's extremely athletic. He was ranked as one of the top five power forwards in the Nike camp last summer.
"His parents just didn't think that the schools that offered him were academically what they wanted for him. He's a 3.7, 3.8 student, and at our school the average SAT score is around 1350, and the average grade point average is around 3.7.
"[Before the fall signing period] he got offers from Arizona, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Michigan, UCLA... you name it. His parents just felt that some of the schools that offered him early were not what they were looking for as far as academics are concerned. More recently he's gotten offers from Gonzaga, Clemson, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and even some Ivy League schools.
"He just went to visit Northwestern on Tuesday, and he's going to Vanderbilt I think next Wednesday.
"He really, really likes Vanderbilt. He really likes Coach [Jeff] Jackson, and he's had a chance to talk with Coach Stallings. On paper, Vanderbilt really is the perfect fit for him. Of course, I think a lot will rest on his visit, when he goes and meets the coaches, sees the school, gets to meet some of the players.
"But academically and athletically, Vanderbilt is the right fit for him. He'd like to major in engineering or business, and from what I've been told, there's a couple of guys on their team right now that are in those programs. It is extremely important to his parents that they do have guys that play at that level, but that also academically in the kind of courses that their son wants.
"He's an unbelievable person. I've been coaching for 12 years, and he's probably the best person I've ever coached, in terms of attitude, being a leader, and his work ethic. He's one of the few guys in my 12 years that I've allowed to come to practice late, because I knew he was in the library. I didn't have to look for him-- I knew exactly where he was.
"I know he likes Clemson, he likes Coach [Oliver] Purnell. I've had a relationship with Coach Purnell for the last seven years. But I just feel that-- and I said this to his father-- where he is in his recruiting, there's no doubt in my mind that Vanderbilt is what he's looking for. It's in the SEC, a tough conference year after year. And academically it's one of the top 20 schools in the country. I just think it's the right fit for him.
"Things happen for a reason. Maybe the reason he didn't sign early was that this opportunity was waiting in the wings. Vanderbilt hadn't really talked to him back in the fall, I think because Vanderbilt really didn't know if they would have a shot. Arizona, Georgia Tech and some others were right there, obviously some traditional powerhouse basketball schools.
"I think when [Vanderbilt] saw that he had not signed with anyone, and they got a look at some of the schools he was now looking at, they thought they had as good a chance as anybody else."