The Rutgers men’s basketball team announced the signing of rising sophomore center Emmanuel Ogbole to the 2023 class yesterday. Ogbole played at Monroe College last season and will enter the Scarlet Knights program with three years of college eligibility.
Ogbole hails from Aune-Adoka, Nigeria, stands at 6-foot-11 and weighs 242 pounds. He will provide Rutgers with much-needed frontcourt depth for the upcoming season.
Ogbole has a lot of potential to be a prolific defender for Rutgers, as he did not start playing basketball until he was 18 years old.
"When I started playing some games, I realized I was capable of big things," said Ogbole. "Even though I am new to the game of basketball, I have great things I want to achieve. I realized it was going to take hard work to live up to the expectations of all the coaches who were recruiting me."
At Monroe College, Ogbole played in 24 games, playing 20.7 minutes per game, averaging 12.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game. He shot 69.3 percent from the field last season, though, most of his shots came from right around the rim. Ogbole also showcased his defensive potential in his one year of junior college, totaling 49 blocks in his 24 games played.
"His stature alone is going to provide a lot of things for Rutgers defensively," said Monroe College head coach Jeff Brustad. "He’s physical, and he can run the floor north to south. He’s a great athlete that is improving in all areas, especially offensively. He’s got a great work ethic, so I’m sure that Rutgers is going to take him to the next level. The Big Ten is a physical conference, and I think that plays into his hands a little bit."
Ogbole has been on the Knights' radar for a while and took his first visit to Rutgers last January. He also had an offer to Seton Hall but chose the Knights due to his connection with the coaching staff and the chemistry in the program.
"I saw how great the coaching staff was, and how hard the players were working," said Ogbole. "I saw the bond and chemistry between everyone there. This is a family, and it’s nice to say I am joining them."
With the signing of Ogbole, the Knights still have three open scholarship spots for the 2023 season and will most likely look to add at least a guard for the upcoming season.
"We have added another high-character individual to our program who is humble, appreciative, and hard-working," said head coach Steve Pikiell. "He has great hands, terrific athleticism, great size and his best basketball ahead of him. We’re looking forward to having him on the court in November."
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