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Basketball recruiting update



Stan Heath's search for a big man to bolster the Bulls' frontcourt is developing quickly, with one recruit from Nigeria out of the mix and another big one stepping to the forefront.

One recruit the Bulls had met with, Joseph Katuka of Montverde Academy near Orlando, committed to George Washington on Monday after visiting Miami last week. Katuka's coach at Montverde, Kevin Sutton, said that Heath met with Katuka but the Bulls jumped into his recruiting process too late after the coaching change earlier this month. Heath also spoke with another Montverde prospect, 6-7 junior swingman Martez Walker, who has UCLA, Arizona State, Cal and Cincinnati among his top choices.

If Katuka is out of the picture, the Bulls seem to be moving quickly on Kem Nweke, a huge center prospect -- 6-foot-10, 309 pounds, according to Gary Nichols, his coach at Fort Bend (Texas) Thurgood Marshall High in southwest Houston. USF assistant Dan Hipsher met Monday with Nweke, and Nichols said a campus visit to Tampa is the next likely step.

"I'm quite sure he will visit," said Nichols, who expected a call from Heath on Tuesday to set up the visit.

Nweke, who averaged 10.9 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 blocks as a senior, is fully qualified academically. He had considered Iowa State, which just used up its last scholarship, and recently visited East Tennessee State. One other consideration is South Alabama, which just hired Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Ronnie Arrow to replace John Pelphrey, another domino in the Stan Heath succession.

"He has good hands, good feet for his size, good inside moves," Nichols said of Nweke.

The key, Nichols said, is keeping Nweke's weight down -- he had weighed as much as 340 pounds and has worked to drop to his current weight, but would still do well to drop another 20. Nweke's father, Vince, told me Monday night that Kem is short for Nkemdilim -- his family is from Nigeria, but he has lived in Texas since 1990.

I should be able to check back with an update on this later in the day, perhaps to confirm a visit or check in on other prospects ... 

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:24am]


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