Okonoboh to trim list, IU expected to make cut

  • 08/19/2013 1:50 pm in


Class of 2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh is about to take the next step in his recruitment.

A source close to the Wilbraham and Monson (Mass.) senior told Inside the Hall Sunday evening that Okonoboh will trim his list of schools to “no more than five” in the next few days and that there is a “real good possibility” Indiana will be on that list.

After Okonoboh shortens his list, he will take official visits this fall with the expectation of making his decision by the early signing period in November.

Okonoboh is known to be close friends with IU freshman Noah Vonleh, as the two were AAU teammates on Mass Rivals. Since the time he received a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers in April, Okonoboh has spoken with Vonleh about potentially joining forces in Bloomington.

“He’s always in my ear about IU,” Okonoboh said to a group of reporters in July. “The most humble kid you’ll ever meet. He’s one of the top players in the country, but he’s just a great kid. He knows he doesn’t have to talk to me like anybody else would talk to me. We just keep it real with each other.”

“I don’t know how that couldn’t help,” Vin Pastore, Okonoboh’s AAU coach, told Inside the Hall in July. “So I would say the answer to that would be yes (that it helps). Goodluck is his own guy, but when you have a friend that’s already somewhere else and doing well already …”

Okonoboh also has mentioned that finding a program that will help him grow as a player and as a person is a priority.

Indiana seems to fit both criteria with its recent success in the 2013 NBA Draft and a reputation for graduating players early.

“It’s a developmental program. Was Victor Oladipo even top 100? Now look at him, the No. 2 pick in the draft,” Okonoboh said. “It just shows you from a developmental standpoint, that Indiana is good.”

At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, Okonoboh is regarded as one of the top shot-blockers in the 2014 class. ESPN.com ranks him as the 19th best recruit in the country, and he has offers from Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Maryland and Louisville, among others.

(Photo credit: Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

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  • IUrocker

    Landing this guy and Johnson? Yes please

  • RatKingSports

    Man… This kid has the defensive ability that Crean and Co dream about. And those who say he is just another Hanner Perea haven’t studied his game enough… the kid has incredible timing on blocking shots and can jump outta the gym. He is not nearly as raw as Hanner either… He would be a significant get for us in 2014.

  • RKJackson23

    I’ll take him in a heartbeat!!

  • Rie

    He is just as raw as Hanner was on the offensive end. I do agree that he is a bit better at shot blocking though, although he isn’t on the Nerlens Noel level either.

    He has the potential to be a very special player and would be a great guy to have in the 2014 class.

  • Caleb Moore

    He would be significant sure. Anytime you can get a shot blocking and rebounding presence like that in he BT you want that. And to say he’s not “just another Hanner Parea” feels like a slight to Hanner. Hanner got jobbed by the NCAA last year, which I personally think hurt his mental approach to the game. I think HP will be markedly better this year. But I have seen a ton of video of GO, have heard all the talk from folks watching his games this Summer…..the concensus, as you stated, is shotblocker/defender/rebounder/good hands. But also no jump shot/bad free throw shooter. I’m not sure I have ever even heard of him taking a jump shot in a game. And there were multiple games this Summer where he went 2-10 or 4-12 or something like that from the line. I want GO at Indiana as I think he becomes a really good all around player 3 years out. But he’s much more Hanner than he is Zeller.

  • Hardwood83

    So what is the best case scenario for IU’s 2014 class? Using only the names on the updated ITH board and keeping it to 3 names, I say it’s Exum, Blackmon & GO.

    How about most likely/realistic? Nairn, Johnson & Humpherey, perhaps?

  • jagard23

    I am on board with Goodluck as much as anyone, and I really feel like the interest -mutually- has cooled off from the early parts of the summer. Although it is just my opinion, I am not really sold on him committing to IU. A “real good possibility” Indiana will be on that list, just doesn’t sound like a commitment is imminent. There are still some very good player’s out there, especially Johnson, Whitehead and Snider. Hopeully there are some commitments coming, because the 2014 class has been a major disappointment so far. I hope I am wrong, but Goodluck would be the perfect complement to the 2012 and 2013 classes, IMO. Let’s hope he makes the right decision…

  • RatKingSports

    I agree with you overall… I do however believe he has a mire diverse offensive game than Hanner did as a senior in High school. But that is not saying a whole lot. I am looking forward to seeing the progress HP has made since last year but I am still hoping we land Goodluck. I guess when I see Goodluck with his athleticism, good timing and a big time motor, I think of a 6’9” Oladipo with all the potential in the world… but I guess I have to be realistic about how truly rare Oladipo is.

  • twarrior87

    First, no disrespect to Hanner at all. The issues with the NCAA definitely hurt him, disabling him from valuable playing time that could have better prepped him for the B1G season. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about his development since last year.

    However, to say GO is as raw as Hanner was on offense in high school is, in my opinion, a very flawed statement.

    I’ve seen a couple of GO highlight videos and I saw him catch the ball, dribble the ball, hit at least two shots from at least 12 feet or more, and hit a few one handed (almost hook) shots.

    If I remember correctly from the Hanner highlight videos I was watching while getting excited for “the movement” to show up in b-town I don’t think I saw anything on the offensive end other than him dunking on people.
    I think GO would bring a huge value add to this team defensively. When was the last time we had an elite shot blocker patrolling the paint? I think he would be a good complement to Hanner and Luke.

  • jmac

    I read where he was the number 1 predicted 2014 player to be a bust. I am very interested in him, especially if Duke wants him

  • WisconHoosier

    It might be best for Goodluck to try to carve out a Dennis Rodman type role. Forget about ever trying to be a scorer.

    Just defend and rebound as a forward, and start the fast break better than anyone.

    4 points, 4 blocks, and 12 rebounds a game make him a lottery pick.

  • twarrior87

    Let’s not forget the kid still has another whole year of HS and AAU basketball before playing a college basketball game. That’s a lot of time to develop. Don’t forget he’s only 17 years old.

  • Rie

    …or he could try and vastly improve on every facet of his game he can, especially with the player development our school posses.

    I don’t get this comment at all.

  • Dee McDonald

    Hanner did add a jump shot to his game for his senior year in high school. It wasn’t consistent, but she used it quite a bit in the season. Very raw, but I don’t know that we want him shooting jump shots even at IU. I’m perfectly fine with Hanner and GO rebounding and getting SportsCenter Top10 Dunks every night. 5pts, 11rbs, 3blks…..SUCCESS!

  • WisconHoosier

    Some players never become good scorers. They can work on it 8 hours a day for years, and just not get there.

    Same with free throws. Many never get above 70%, no matter how hard they work. Some don’t make 60%.

    All I meant was *perhaps* GO is one of those players.

    I wasn’t writing him off. I was identifying a valued role where he can start for IU, get a degree, and make $10 million a year in the NBA by playing to his strengths.

    I think GO would be great at IU.

    But not everyone can drop 20 points a game, nor should they try to, any more than we should have Peter Jurkin practice three-point shooting so he can “vastly improve” that facet of his game.

  • r

    Honestly, I think the most likely class is Johnson, Whitehead, and Black…but I can also see Johnson, Whitehead, and Okonoboh.

    As for best case, add Exum and take your pick of who to take out. I would probably go with Exum, Black, and Johnson.

    At one time, I never would have left Blackmonn off either list.

  • Rie

    That sounds better to me; however, it is way too early to write off anything in regards to Goodluck’s game. Apart from the great shot blocking and good defense, most scouting sites say he has a ton of upside and potential. Couple that with IU’s player development, and who knows, maybe Goodluck becomes a very real offensive post threat. Point being, he is still learning the position and is a senior in high school, and if he chooses IU, there is no reason to believe he can’t improve his weaknesses and develop a strong post game.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    I see Johnson , Okonoboh , and Whitehead / Snieder

  • a train

    he wood b an instant impact on the defensive end…ther should b no comparisons to hanner, hes much farther along than him…i just hope the noah friendship helps us land him

  • PV Mike

    Not sure if this has been posted already but G.O. as well as other IU targets Whitehead and Zimmerman to play this Saturday on ESPNU @ 7pm in the Under Armour Elite 24 game. Many other big time recruits also playing in this game being played in Brooklyn. Friday at 7PM is dunk and skills contest.

  • Actually, Peter has a vastly improved outside shot that if he can get and stay healthy, will likely make you eat your words…

  • Dagwoods

    AAU is over for him, but he’ll probably get invited to some all-star games & camps.

  • Oldfan

    Kind of like that Olidipo kid who will never be a good three point shooter.

  • IUJeff

    The best thing about the 14 class is that it does not have to be the best class or even a really good class.

  • Ole Man

    Why is that Jeff?
    That’s a very curious statement.

  • Ole Man

    I really like Black for some reason. Think he would be a real “get” for IU.
    Personally would love Black, Exum, Blackmon/Johnson.

  • IUJeff

    Obviously I am disappointed by recent happenings but I believe the horses are in the barn already so to speak. Just gotta get em to run together.

    I do understand it could have been an unprecedented recruiting year and could still be a really good year.

    But why are the kids we want most not coming? It is largely because the talent is already here IMO.

    I don’t doubt CTC and co will make this a good year, I just see it now as more of a bridge type year for recruiting some solid role players.

  • tj21

    Whitehead, Johnson and Black is our best case, Blackmon’s ship has sailed and if Duke wants GO, he’s theirs. Our bonus is the slight chance Exum decides he wants to go to college and we have to open a spot for him.

  • IUJeff

    Of course I will take some elite players, but this ultra glass half full stuff is helping me cope until some good news comes along.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Robert Johnson, LeRon Black and Goodluck Okonoboh will look good in stripes. So would Isaiah Whitehead, Quentin Snider/Ahmed Hill and Michael Humphrey. Has IU stopped pursuing Trevon Blueitt?

  • Tucson Hoosier

    I completely agree Jeff. I love the idea of having a culture of 3 and 4 year players on our team with a supplement of some stud 1 and done players. I think we had one of the best recruiting classes in 2013 and if we follow that with a top 15-20 class we will be in good shape. Very realistic. But, just like you said, I won’t turn down the 1 year players but I like a nice mixture. I never want to be like Kentucky ( insert curse word)

  • thrawnjan

    How come nobody except Hardwood83 lists Lourawls Nairn as a likely/potential commit? He has trimmed his list to three, IU is “competing” against Oklahoma and Minnesota. Looks pretty likely to me,unless IU tells him that he cannot join before they know that Exum is 100% gone to the NBA.

  • IUeconAlum

    Lets hope IU makes the cut. If he commits, lets also hope he’s not #3 of 3 to decommit.

  • The_Bob_Michaels

    I really hope he chooses to come to IU. He, along with Noah, gives us an inside presence we haven’t really had for some time. It was great to see his quote about Vic rising from obscurity to being the #2 pick in the draft. This confirms that player development is not going unnoticed by recruits.

  • twarrior87

    Point was he still has a lot of time to develop. Another season in HS then a summer working out at IU before the season. Plenty of time to develop. How much improved was Oladipo’s outside shot in less than 1 year?

  • calbert40

    I agree. Obviously, none of us are going to complain if we land nothing but top 25 players each season, but the reality is that probably won’t happen for us, or most teams.

    Occasionally, you need that bridge class that will reinforce the talent currently on the roster and add needed depth. It isn’t sexy, but sometimes those classes help more than we’d expect.

    Remember the 2010 class? We were all pretty down on a class of two, 3 star players from out of state. That turned out pretty well for us.

  • calbert40

    I see that you are catching some grief over your original comment, I actually agree with you. Not every recruit is going to score 18 ppg. Every team needs those guys who are willing to get nasty on the boards and/or on the defensive end.

    That doesn’t mean that we are saying Goodluck shouldn’t work on his 10 foot jumper or his FT shooting. Far from it. However, if he develops into a player who scores 6 ppg all on putbacks, but contributes solidly on the glass and defending the rim, he will be a GREAT asset for our program.

    If he develops into a solid scorer, and can be a double double guy, that is icing on the cake. But we don’t need him to be that type of guy for him to be successful.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Just saw his list trimmed to 5 and no mention of pUke of L. All along I have had to listen to the Louisville radio stations intentionally not mentioning us as a potential suitor and now they don’t make the top 5 cut and we do…….Cheers to you Louisville and your slanted media coverage (recruiting tools) for pUke of L. Not trying to be over the top negative but this deal rubbed me the wrong way the whole time. Goodluck I hope you end up coming to IU and becoming a Candy Stripe Legend in Bloomington.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Sorry for the repost but….

    Just saw his list trimmed to 5 and no mention of pUke of L. All along I have had to listen to the Louisville radio stations intentionally not mentioning us as a potential suitor and now they don’t make the top 5 cut and we do…….Cheers to you Louisville and your slanted media coverage (recruiting tools) for pUke of L. Not trying to be over the top negative but this deal rubbed me the wrong way the whole time. Goodluck I hope you end up coming to IU and becoming a Candy Stripe Legend in Bloomington.

  • Ole Man

    Excellent thoughts; and thanks for responding.