VU hoops might add big-time prospect for this season

Thursday, August 9, 2007 at 4:04pm

Vanderbilt might not be finished putting together its 2007 basketball recruiting class.

Festus Ezeli, a 6-foot-11 center and native of Nigeria, visited the VU campus Thursday and was scheduled to depart Friday, The City Paper has learned.

Ezeli moved to Maryville, Calif., and is already a high-school graduate. According to reports, the NCAA is checking his Nigerian transcripts. If cleared, he can enroll at the school of his choice this month and be eligible for the 2007-08 season.

If denied eligibility, Ezeli said he will attend The Brewster (N.H.) Academy this year, then enroll at an NCAA school next summer.

Vanderbilt has one available scholarship, which could work in VU’s favor if Ezeli is cleared by the NCAA for immediate eligibility.

Ezeli was a mostly unknown player before playing well on the summer AAU circuit with the NorCal Pharaohs. Rivals.com quickly ranked him as the 138th-best prospect nationally for the class of 2008.

In addition to Vanderbilt, Ezeli has been offered scholarships by Florida, Ohio State, UCLA, California, West Virginia, Creighton, Oregon State and other schools.

Vanderbilt already has five recruits in the class of 2007, including guard Charles Hinkle of Los Alamitos, Calif., a late signee who was inked in July.

Other incoming Commodore freshmen are center A.J. Ogilvy of Canberra, Australia, forward Darshawn McClellan of Fresno, Calif., forward Andre Walker of Flossmoor, Ill., and guard Keegan Bell of Hazel Green, Ala.

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