Because Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar was at UCLA at the same time the O’Bannons were doing their work at Westwood, there’s an instant tie between the two families.
“Coach Romar was the one who recruited my Dad,” O’Bannon, Jr. told Dawgman.com Sunday night. “I think he knew me before I knew myself.”
That kind of relationship forged the basis for O’Bannon, Jr.’s unofficial visit to Montlake during last week’s Washington State-Washington game, the Huskies’ final game of their regular season.
“It was awesome,” O’Bannon, Jr. said of the unofficial visit to UW. “It was a rivalry game - Washington State - and Andrew Andrews had 47 points on his Senior Night, his last home game at Washington. So it was really impressive.
“It was pretty cool. I enjoyed it. Coach Romar is a great guy, he always makes you feel welcome when it comes to just being around and wanting me to come to Washington overall. Really great visit though. I really enjoyed it. I got a chance to talk to the players a little bit.”
O’Bannon, Jr.’s mother accompanied him on the unofficial visit. How did she like UW?
“She thinks the exact same thing because she’s known Coach Romar before I was even born,” said O’Bannon, Jr. “It was really cool and we all really bonded well together.”
Per the Scout database, O’Bannon, Jr. has a bevy of top scholarship offers; Arizona, California, North Carolina State, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington.
“It’s still manageable,” he said when asked about dealing with the hectic nature of recruiting. “It hasn’t gotten crazy.
“I’m looking to break down my list pretty soon. I’m looking to commit my senior year, right before basketball season - but nothing’s for sure.”
O’Bannon, Jr. visited Washington on the heels of winning a Division 1 championship for Bishop Gorman. The Gaels defeated Coronado 83-63, and O’Bannon, Jr. led the way with 26 points, 19 in the first half.
“It was a good season overall,” he said. “I had a good year. It started out slow but I picked it up near the end. We made it happen as a team. It was a good year.
“Last year I was playing with two McDonald’s All-Americans (Chase Jeter, Stephen Zimmerman), so it was kind of hard to get in the rotation, but now that they are gone, it opened up a lot of things for me.”
How would O’Bannon, Jr. describe his game? “I’m a scorer,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I like to get up and down. I can score from the mid-range, outside. I like to get up and down, I like the fast pace. That’s my style.”
Now that his season is done with, what’s next for O’Bannon, Jr.? “Just get ready for AAU,” he said. “EYBL and Peach Jam.”