TU nets a big new signee
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Friday, December 14, 2012
12/14/12 at 6:12 AM
The University of Tulsa's basketball roster has been retooled in three waves.
A year ago, guard James Woodard and forwards D'Andre Wright and Zeldric King were early signees in the 2011-12 class.
Within a three-day span in May, after Danny Manning had become the new Golden Hurricane coach, TU signed two more guards - junior-college transfer Pat Swilling Jr. and Rashad Ray - while processing scholarship paperwork for senior transfer Kauri Black, who had just graduated from Northeastern University in Boston.
And during the most recent signing period, Manning secured for the Hurricane a big shooter (6-foot-5 Stevie Repichowski), a big forward (6-10 Lew Evans) and a big center - 6-11, 275-pound Emmanuel Ezechinonso, currently a senior at Covenant Christian Ministries Academy in Marietta, Ga.
Manning acknowledged on Thursday that Ezechinonso's signing has been finalized.
"Everything is done," Manning said. "We're expecting him this summer."
Referring to Repishowski, Evans and Ezechinonso, Manning said, "We think they are three very good pieces who give us an opportunity to really stretch the floor. It all looks good on paper, but, obviously, they've all got to get here and work well together."
As a sophomore, Ezechinonso led his Covenant Christian team to the National Association of Christian Athletes national title.
"(Ezechinonso) has been a big key (defensively) ever since he got here," said Frederick Anderson, the Covenant Christian pastor and basketball coach. "Offensively he's not as explosive. He's averaging 15 or more rebounds a game (and) at least four or five blocks a game. He'll get us eight to 10 points.
"He plays hard-nosed defense. He's a hard worker. He does what he's asked to do to the best of his abilities. You can't beat that."
Ezechinonso visited the TU campus last weekend and sat behind the Hurricane bench as Manning's team defeated TCU 50-49 at the Reynolds Center. The Hurricane (6-3) visits Arkansas-Little Rock for a 2 p.m. Saturday contest.
Ezechinonso is a Nigerian who moved to the United States four years ago. His family wanted him exposed to higher levels of basketball. In making his decision to sign with Tulsa, it is believed that Ezechinonso was attracted to Manning's history of coaching Kansas big men like Julian Wright, Wayne Simien, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Sasha Kaun, Cole Aldrich, Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey.
"He's mature," Manning said of Ezechinonso, "but he's a baby in terms of his (basketball) development."
Original Print Headline: TU nets a big new signee
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397