Days away from the start of practice for the 2017-18 basketball season, Fresno State coach Rodney Terry continued to build on an ’18 recruiting class, receiving a commitment from power forward/center Efe Odigie from Pro-Vision Academy in Houston.
“You’re getting a better person than player,” said Henry Simms, coach at Pro-Vision. “His character is outstanding. He’s going to graduate top one, two or three in his class. He’s a high academic kid. But you’re getting a very good player, also. He may be considered one of the top bigs here in Texas, probably top five.”
Terry, who will start his seventh season at Fresno State on Friday with the official opening of practice across the country, is unable to comment on prospective student-athletes until a national letter of intent has been signed and validated.
But the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Odigie is a solid fit for a program that has not taken many four-year players during the early signing period – Odigie said he would sign a national letter of intent in November. He is a skilled low-post scorer and rebounder, but also has the ability to step out and knock down jump shots from the elbow or short corner.
“Very skilled player in the post, physical player, really knows how to maneuver around the paint and get buckets and rebounds,” said Keith White, coach of the AAU Houston Hoopstars.
“I think they’ll be very pleased with him. I think he has a good foundation and they can build up on it at Fresno. He has a big body, is very strong. He’ll be able to come in right away and help out a little bit.”
The Bulldogs also have a commitment in the Class of 2018 from guard Isaac Likekele (6-5, 195) from Mansfield, Texas.
Very skilled player in the post, physical player, really knows how to maneuver around the paint and get buckets and rebounds.
Houston Hoopstars coach Kevin White on Fresno State recruit Efe Odigie
With Terrell Carter II entering his senior season, Odigie will slide into Carter’s spot in the rotation next season. But that early opportunity wasn’t the most attractive thing about Fresno State for Odigie, who also held scholarship offers from Tulsa, Arkansas State and Texas State.
“It was being comfortable around everybody,” said Odigie, who made an official visit to Fresno State the weekend of Sept. 2, when former Bulldogs star Paul George was in town and the football program retired the No. 4 in honor of record-setting quarterback Derek Carr. “It wasn’t anything about playing time. I feel like I can compete with anybody. But the people, that’s what stuck out.
“It was a hard decision, considering that everybody that was recruiting me, I liked them, I liked everything about them. But, to me, Fresno State was the closest thing to home.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
The Fresno State basketball seasons are about a month away:
Exhibitions: first of three home exhibitions Oct. 30 vs. Pacific Union
Season-opener: Nov. 13 vs. Cal State-Northridge at Save Mart Center
Notable: Dec. 16 home vs. Oregon; Dec. 27 Mountain West opener home vs. Nevada
Exhibition: Nov. 3 vs. Fresno Pacific
Season-opener: Nov. 10 vs. Eastern Washington at Save Mart Center
Notable: Nov. 15 home vs. Arizona State; Dec. 28 Mountain West opener at Nevada