As you scan Pitt’s current roster, and factor in the current additions slated to arrive with the Class of 2020, there’s at least two things that would qualify as need: another elite on-ball defender to pair with Au’Diese Toney and depth at the point guard position.
Jeff Capel has identified a player that would fill both needs and extended him an offer.
Over the weekend, Capel offered 2020 point guard Femi Odukale (6-foot-5, 200) from Springfield Commonwealth Academy in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with Odukale’s head coach, Nick Couluris to find out about his rising star including his top attributes.
“Pitt has been on him for about a month now,” Couluris said to PSN. “They really came on heavy during the Hoop Hall Showcase here in Springfield. They sent all three assistants out to watch him and then Coach Capel called Femi to offer himself, which is big for us because it’s important to see that the head coach is as bought in to everything as the assistants are.”
During his conversation with Odukale, Capel made it clear about what impressed his assistants about his game.
”They love his ability to play with the ball in his hands as a playmaker,” Couluris said. “Also and maybe more importantly for Pitt basketball, the level of defensive intensity that Femi plays with. He’s a guy that’s willing to guard 1-5. From the point guard spot, he’s got great size at 6-foot-5. He makes plays without the ball in his hands on the defensive side which is huge and Femi’s IQ is at a super high level. They told him they love tough, big guards and he checks all those boxes.”
Odukale has shown improvement recently at the tournament in Springfield that’s gotten him noticed and receiving offers from high major programs.
”I think some people questioned whether he could consistently knock down the open 3, could he shoot it from long range and I think he had back-back games of hitting four and three 3-point shots,” said Couluris. “I think that opened a lot of eyes and he did it against two nationally ranked programs.”
Couluris said that Odukale’s recruitment is open. He opened the season with a lot of mid-major offers but recently has gotten offers from Virginia Tech, Seton Hall and now Pitt. He’s made official visits to UMass, Saint Bonaventure and is now figuring out where to take his remaining three visits after the visit.
”He understands the history of Pitt basketball and being from Brooklyn, he’s big into the history of the Big East and the tradition of Pitt when they were in it,” said Couluris. “He’s also aware of Coach Capel coming from Duke and was super excited about the offer and the opportunity to possibly play for Coach Capel.”
Couluris is proud of Odukale and although he doesn’t know where he’ll end up, he knows that whatever schools lands him is getting a special player and person.
”He plays so hard and truly loves the game,” Couluris said. “He’s in the gym consistently. There’s nothing he’d rather do than be on the basketball court competing. I think wherever he goes that he’ll have a chance to make an impact immediately. Guys follow him, he’s a natural leader and the way he plays and goes about his business, I think he not only make an impact but has a shot to play at the next level after college.”