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Notebook: Balamou getting high-major interest

Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:00 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 3:01 pm
 

By Jeff Borzello

Chris Obekpa is the marquee player on Our Savior New American (N.Y.), but college coaches have been surprised when they go to check out the Nigerian big man.

Obekpa isn’t the only high-major player on the team. Felix Balamou, a native of Guinea West Africa, has been impressive throughout the season.

“He’s one of the most underrecruited kids in the country,” OSNA assistant coach Eric Jaklitsch said. “He’s exploded his senior year.”

There is a chance Balamou will have to reclassify to the class of 2013 and do a post-grad year at a prep school due to academics. However, that will likely only increase his recruiting attention.

St. John’s, Providence and Virginia Tech are already among the schools showing interest.

“He’s 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-6 wingspan and a nice set of athleticism,” Jaklitsch said. “He has a chance to be really special.”

Brantley plays different role away from AAU

When he’s playing with BABC on the AAU circuit, junior Jaylen Brantley is one of the best 3-point shooters in the country. At Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.), things are a little different.

Brantley is the focal point of the defense, expected to carry most of the load offensively. Nerlens Noel, Wayne Selden, Georges Niang and co. are not there to help him out.

“There’s not a lot of open shots,” Brantley said. “Our team is not as gifted as BABC, so I’m trying to be a leader.”

Brantley currently has offers from Syracuse, Florida, Louisville, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Richmond, Rhode Island, Iowa State and Missouri. Connecticut is interested.

He’s visited Georgetown and UConn.

“I’m looking for a good coach, a team that’s a contender, and academics,” Brantley said.

Former New Mexico commit exploring options

At 7-foot-2, Chier Ajou is bound to get plenty of attention from college coaches. The questions surrounding his recruitment have only forced more schools to get involved.

“I don’t know where he’s going to end up,” St. Thomas More (Conn.) coach Jere Quinn said.

Ajou is a native of the Sudan who is also related to Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng and former Connecticut big man Ajou Deng. He was once committed to New Mexico, but the two have parted ways.

“I haven’t talked to them,” Ajou said.

There are some academic situations with Ajou that he is looking to fix at St. Thomas More, but for now, plenty of schools are in the mix.

Oklahoma, Central Connecticut State and Cincinnati are among the “eclectic ray of schools” that have talked to Quinn about him.

“Everyone asks about him,” Quinn said 

Notes: Torin Childs-Harris is hearing from Hofstra, Quinnipiac, Central Connecticut State and Sacred Heart . . . A.J. English has interest from Duquesne, Delaware, Towson and others.

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