The Pitt basketball program hosted a number of talented visitors during their ‘Courtside at the Cathedral’. One of them happened to be 2019 Nigerian big man Olanrewaju Olamuyiwa from Erie McDowell High School. He recently transferred from Capitol Christian Academy in Maryland. Despite being a relative neophyte to the game of basketball, the athletic 6-foot-10 inch, 215 pound power forward / center prospect has already received scholarship offers from Ohio State, Kent State and Florida International. Pittsburgh Sports Now spoke with him about his first visit to Pitt.
When were you first contacted by Pitt?
(Pitt assistant) Kevin Sutton contacted me. He said he was going to come watch me play. I think he saw me play during the summer. I moved down to Erie and I go to McDowell High School in Erie, PA. He told me he wanted to come to a practice and watch me play. I played in a showcase game at Ohio State and Coach Sutton watched me play. Since then we have been communicating and he invited me and my family to the Courtside at the Cathedral event.
How many years have you been in the United States?
I have been in the United States for two years.
When did you start playing basketball?
Back home in Nigeria, I grew up playing soccer. I never played basketball. I lot of people [told] my parents to let me play basketball because I was growing really tall. My parents were like, “Okay, we’ll give it a try.” Then my parents would send me … They helped me get here to America. As soon as I moved in here, that’s when I started playing basketball. I am relatively new to the game.
How tall are you? How much do you weigh?
I’m 6-foot-10 inches tall and weigh 215 pounds at the moment.
Are you projected to play power forward or center on the next level?
On my AAU team, I’m projected as a power forward, then center. Right now, in my high school, I play center. I’m the only big at my school. I can play either position in college.
What are your strengths on the basketball court?
Defense comes naturally for me. I protect the rim really well and then I get rebounds really well, too. Rebounds and block shots. My offense is getting better and my jump shot. My shooting is coming up. During the summer, I really improved offensively than when I just started here.
What did you think of your first visit to Pitt? Did you enjoy the ‘Courtside at the Cathedral’ event?
To be honest with you, I didn’t really know what to expect. I wasn’t expecting what I saw. First of all, Coach Kevin Sutton is a great coach. I want to come down there and spend the day and visit, see all the facilities, and all that, because he is a really great person. Aside from being the coach, he has a great personality. Pittsburgh, when we went there, I really had a good time. The whole basketball team, nice guys. I talked to Peace IIlegomah and Sampson George. Both of them are from my country, so it kind of like made me feel at home, talking to my brothers, using the language, and all that. I was able to speak with some of the staff, some of the players. It was a good time. I felt really good about it.
What other schools are you hearing from
I have some popular schools (reaching out to me). I have heard from Georgetown, Michigan, Florida State University, LSU, Virginia Tech, UAB, Houston and Butler. Then, I have offers from Kent State University, and Ohio State, and Florida International University in Miami.
What has Pitt said to you? Have they discussed a scholarship offer?
I’m not sure yet. They say they are really interested in me and excited to see if they can extend an offer to me. I’m looking forward to that.
— Team St8ment (@TeamSt8ment) June 19, 2017