South Kent Profile
September 9th, 2006
A week ago South Kent may have had the most talented frontcourt in the country, and now after Kenechukwu Obi (pictured) recently arrived from Nigeria, it just got better.
Earlier this summer, South Kent Prep Basketball Coach Raphael Chillious must have felt pretty good about the front line he had coming back. Seniors Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Ayodele Coker, and Papa Dia as well as junior Christian Morris were all returning for the Cardinals. Then two days ago the front court gained even more depth and talent with the arrival of Kenechukwu “Ken” Obi from Nigeria.
The 7’2” Obi is massive with huge shoulders and a strong frame. He is still just learning how to play, but his soft touch within 8 feet was on display all afternoon as he and Christian Morris battled for almost two hours. Obi used his size and strength to his advantage all day long as he was very physical on both ends of the court, blocked out well on the glass, and utilized his huge hands to throw very accurate baseball style outlet passes the length of the court on more than one occasion. Obi is extremely raw but with so many tools and such incredible size it is hard to believe that a high-major program won’t be the next stop for this intriguing prospect.
Not to be outdone by the new man on campus, Bryan-Amaning, Coker, Dia, and Morris were all very impressive as well. Bryan-Amaning (6’8”, F, Sr.) has obviously spent the summer developing his perimeter skills as he was shooting the three, getting into the lane off the dribble, and finishing with a wide variety of moves the entire afternoon, which is all good news for the University of Washington which secured a commitment from the forward very early in the summer. Coker (6’10”, C, Sr.) picked off right where he left off this summer demonstrating his unique combination of strength, athleticism, and agility that has made him an unquestioned high-major prospect. The ultra powerful Morris (6’9”, C, Jr.) was unstable when he caught the ball deep on the block even when being guarded by the taller and longer Obi. Morris is being recruited by a wide variety of high-major programs and said he hopes to make a decisions sometime in the spring. Dia (6’9”, PF, Sr.) was aggressive offensively all afternoon showing an extended range to 15 feet as well as his patented lefty sky hook. Earlier this summer, Jeff Goodman reported on scout.com that Manhattan was probably the leader for Dia, and they certainly were making a strong statement today with both head coach Barry Rohrssen and assistant coach Ron Ganulin present during the first day of the recruiting period.
While South Kent’s frontcourt may be among the best in the country, their backcourt is impressive as well. Mike Walker returns for a post-graduate year and if today was any indication the extra year will pay huge dividends. Walker is the type of tough and vocal point-guard the all coaches love to have. Additionally, he has done an incredible job building up his body and was the consistent floor leader that Coach Chillious may have lacked at times last year, making excellent decisions with the ball time and time again. If Walker continues to develop at the rate in which he has over the summer it is hard to believe that a mid-major program won’t find a use for him.
A trio of new perimeter players joins the mix at SKS this year as well. 6’3” lefty combo-guard Calvin Haynes, who is committed to Oregon State, was impressive with his ability to score from behind the arc as well as create off the dribble. Manual Cass, a 6’7” left-handed small forward who had originally committed to DePaul but has since re-opened his recruitment, was impressive with a very smooth offensive arsenal including an improved outside shot as well as a terrific touch in the mid-range. Cass has the potential to play at a high-major level but could be a star at the mid-major level. 6’0” shooting guard David Hicks was showing his terrific three-point stroke and deep range all afternoon long as well and is more than likely another mid-major prospect.
Three other members of South Kent rotation where not working out today. 6’0” junior point guard Mark Lyons and 6’5” junior shooting guard Kieran Ramsey were both sidelined with injuries, and Jin Soo Kim, a 6’9” senior small forward is not expected to arrive on campus until the 15th of the month.Three head coaches were in attendance today in Rohrssen, Jim Baron of Rhode Island, and John Jay of Oregon State. Assistant coaches from Louisville, Indiana, and Fordham were also present.