The Miami Hurricanes—loaded at guard—lost a few key back-ups this off-season, but just landed a quality center in Ebuka Izundu.
The 6-foot-10 senior—out of Victory Christian in Charlotte, NC—chose Miami over Cincinnati and Arkansas on Wednesday; UM’s size, conference and culture being an ideal fit, according to his high school coach Aureice McCain.
“It’s the ACC and he felt really comfortable there,” McCain told the Charlotte Observer. “They have an African on their basketball team who is from his home area (of Nigeria). They have another on the football team. And Miami is a small school, with a student-teacher ratio of 12-to-1. He feels he’ll get the same type of academic support there that he got at Victory. Plus, he’ll get to play five or six games in North Carolina each year, so so he can play in front of family and friends.”
Rivals.com lists Izundu as a 3-star prospect, while 247Sports has him a 4-star recruit. Whatever the ranking, the center can play—averaging 21 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks per game last season. Outside of Miami, Arkansas and Cincinnati, Izundu had upwards of two dozen total offer.
The hometown newspaper named him also named him first-team All Charlotte Observer (which means a lot in that hot bed of basketball talent) while his AAU coach, Kevin Ligon compared him and his game to that of Chris Bosh; another left-hander.
Izundu officially visited Miami weeks back and made his decision today during a press conference at his high school. Competing for immediate playing time, as well as joining a Canes program that appears NCAA Tourney-ready next season were factors in his overall decision.
After seeing the role that Tonye Jekiri played for Miami last season—as well as how much the Canes missed his presence in the NIT Championship loss to Stanford—UM fans should be excited about the addition of a much-needed big man, opposed to stressing point guard transfers.
Manu Lecomte landed at Baylor weeks back, while it was announced days ago that Deandre Burnett is taking is talents to Ole Miss.
While losing players like Lecomte and Burnett certainly hurts on paper, depth-wise the Hurricanes are fine at the position, returning Angel Rodriguez, Sheldon McClellan, Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton at the position, as well as back-ups James Palmer and Mike Fernandez.
Jekiri—a senior—is Miami’s lone center on the roster, which will bode well for Izunda.