Friday, January 4, 2013

Kevin Ollie, UConn on the Hunt for Some Big Men

UConn is using this weeklong break from game action to hit the recruiting trail, and while the Huskies are scouting players of all classes, they are honing in on a big man and a guard from the Class of 2013.

Yes, the Huskies already have 6-9 shotblocker Kentan Facey in the fold. But the more the merrier.

One of their prime targets is Amida Brimah, a 6-foot-11 shot-blocker from Miami's Archbishop Coleman Carroll High. Karl Hobbs went to see Brimah play on Thursday, and Kevin Ollie attended a home game a few weeks ago.

Hobbs had to have liked what he saw Thursday, as Brimah posted his fourth triple-double of the season with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 13 blocks against Charlotte High. He's had four games of at least 10 blocks thus far.

"They definitely like him," Archbishop Carroll coach Juan Hernandez said of the Huskies. "UConn is definitely one of the schools he's seriously considering."

Meanwhile, Ollie was at Fairfield Prep's game Friday night, ostensibly to see Prep's 7-2, Class of 2014 center, Paschal Chukwu.

"For him to come down and watch me is an honor," said Chukwu, who had nine points, 11 rebounds and some foul trouble.

Brimah has made official visits to South Carolina and LaSalle, and has offers from those programs as well as Florida International. Recently, Hernandez has fielded calls from Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and St. Louis, and according to Brimah, Villanova is coming to see him play soon, as well.

Brimah, a native of Ghana who came to the States three years ago and boasts a 7-6 wingspan, has improved greatly over the past year, particularly over the past six months.

"He's got huge upside," said Hernandez. "Unlike some of the American kids who've been playing since they were little kids, he pretty much picked up the game 4-5 years ago. His ceiling is a lot higher than others. He's got a huge motor, he's an extremely enthusiastic kid. He works unbelievably hard."

Brimah could be a defensive force at the Division 1 level right now, according to those who've watched him. It's his offensive game -- particularly at the low post -- that needs seasoning.

"Offensively, he'd be a little bit limited early on," said Nick Ronda, the head coach at Miami Killilan High. "He can shoot free throws pretty well and he's got a nice mid-post, high-post shot. But his feet, he's got to keep working on."

But Hernandez noted that Brimah has already made great strides in his offensive game in recent months, and he could fit in well with UConn's offense.

"He's really good coming off ball screens," said Hernandez. "That's what Coach Hobbs mentioned early on. He said, '(Your team) runs a lot of ball screens, similar to what Coach Ollie does. He'd fit right into what we're running.'"

Brimah, who checks in at about 210-215 pounds, also needs to get stronger, "which he will do in college," Hernandez pointed out. "He's hitting the weights hard here, but he's not getting as good a nutritional program as he will in college. He'll gain 20-30 pounds once he gets to college."

And there's this: Brimah has a GPA of around 3.2-3.2, he's "very vocal, from a positive standpoint, within the team," according to Hernandez, and has no disciplinary issues off the court.

Brimah, whose parents still live in Ghana and lives with a legal guardian, is trying to schedule an official visit up to Storrs. The Huskies don't another weekend home game until the end of January, however, and it's been hard to line the Archbishop Carroll schedule up with UConn's. It might have to wait until after Carroll's season is over in late-February or early-March, but, according to Hernandez, Brimah will "definitely take a visit to UConn."

And, because people seem to like this kind of stuff, here's some video of Brimah in action. And here's some more:


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