Hometown: Newark, Del.
High School: Samford School
Nnanna Njoku preview:
He was the first of his class to commit to the Villanova Wildcats. Jay Wright and his staff were onto the scene early, offering the 6-foot-9 big man before he earned a single star from recruiting services. Shortly after his junior season, his stock skyrocketed and had many more suitors at his door, but Njoku opted for the ‘Cats.
He went on to enjoy a wonderful ending to his high school career, leading Samford to a state championship. He averaged 20.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks as a senior and was named the Gatorade Delaware Player of the Year award.
“Nnanna is a very intelligent young man who has continued to get better over the course of his high school career,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said after Njoku signed his letter of intent last November. “He plays extremely hard and brings a physical mentality when he steps on the floor. Nnanna has a great touch around the rim and is an underrated passer. He is part of a terrific family and will be a great fit here in our Villanova community.”
Since then, Njoku has arrived at Villanova. He’ll be part of a crucial frontcourt rotation and provide an important presence down low. The Wildcats will need a way to fill in the gap left behind by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, last season’s co-Big East Player of the Year and NBA Draft pick, as well as Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, whose career came to an end after ongoing injuries.
Early indications from the team suggest that Njoku has been doing very well. However, he’s faced a couple of setbacks.
At Big East Media Day on Tuesday, Wright mentioned that he dealt with a concussion and missed three weeks in protocol over the summer. He’s also had “hydration issues.”
Villanova may play it slow at first, but there’s no doubt he’ll be an important presence up front. It’ll be interesting to see how he looks once he’s back at full speed, and how he progresses throughout his first season.
“He was looking good over the summer, and he’s been out for awhile,” Wright said. “But for the future, I think he gives us some good hope.”
Best Case Scenario: Njoku recovers quickly from his setbacks throughout the offseason and provides big frontcourt minutes next to Eric Dixon and serves as a dependable and imposing forward.
Worst Case Scenario: He doesn’t get to fully hit his stride, or it takes a little longer to find his rhythm on the court, and the ‘Cats will need to look elsewhere for frontcourt minutes, while he continues to develop and grow behind the scenes.
How many points per game will Njoku average this season?
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