The nation’s highest-rated unsigned men’s basketball player announced his commitment to the University of Tennessee on Tuesday.
Emmanuel Negedu, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Brewster (N.H.) Academy by way of Nigeria, told reporters he would play for UT this season. He is the class of 2008’s No. 12-ranked power forward and No. 40 overall prospect, according to Rivals.com.
Negedu had signed with Arizona over several schools, including Tennessee, but got a release from Wildcats coach Lute Olson and visited UT, Memphis, Indiana and Georgia Tech.
Negedu was highly complimentary of Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl and his players following last week’s visit to Knoxville, saying they seemed “like a family.”
Like recently dismissed Vols forward Duke Crews, Negedu overcomes lack of ideal post height with massive muscle tone, quick feet and relentless effort.
“An intense competitor, Negedu is an exceptional leaper with a long wingspan, which allows him to play larger than his size,” said Rivals’ Jerry Meyer, a longtime recruiting analyst. “He excels at rebounding and attacking the basket. His perimeter game is a work in progress.”
Tennessee’s signing class was generally considered one of the nation’s 10 best before Negedu’s decision. Now it has four of Rivals’ top 68 incoming freshmen, including No. 5 Scotty Hopson, and junior college All-America point guard Bobby Maze.