Ernest Udeh Jr., currently the nation’s No. 115 ranked prospect in the 2022 class, entered a new phase in his recruitment Monday afternoon by slicing his college list to nine schools plus Overtime Elite (OTE).
To date, fifteen players have signed with OTE for its inaugural season which is slated to begin this September.
Among the schools that made the cut for the 6-foot-10, 230 pound mobile, hard playing, post player out of Dr. Phillips High School (FL) is Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee and UCLA.
The Yellow Jackets offered the three-star big man less than three months ago but Josh Pastner and assistant coach Julian Swartz have built a strong relationship with the Orlando native.
“I spoke with him Sunday,” Udeh Jr. said of Swartz. “They’re always checking on me. Right now it’s more just, you know, normal conversations. The basketball stuff, we got that out of the way. It’s nothing new that he would need to explain to me but obviously there will be further down the line. But you know, like, just right now, of course, it’s even building the relationship stronger. Just talking to me like a normal kid. You know, one on one conversation, nothing too crazy.”
Udeh then talked about Pastner.
“His energy is crazy,” said Udeh Jr. “He takes pride in this program. He’s one of those guys that really cares about the program that he’s coaching for. They’re a program that has standards and being able to have that academic background but also being able to be a solid basketball program, you know, he really knows how to handle his program. I feel like that credibility should be given to him. They’re a well put together program all around. It’s really hard to find holes in their program.”
We asked Udeh Jr. if location will be a factor in his decision.
“All I know is Orlando,” he said. “I’ve been here my whole life. So, anywhere I go will be uncharted territory for me to conquer. So, whatever school is best for me and my future I’m just gonna have to, you know, fit in at whatever location [the school] is at.”
Udeh Jr. has not scheduled any school visits yet nor has he spoken with anyone with OTE but he told JacketsOnline.com that their offer is $1.2 million for two years.
“I just see it as another great opportunity,” Udeh Jr. said. These [scholarship offers] are all great opportunities to play the game, I love at a high level. They [OTE] see me like any anybody else has seen me. They saw me play, talked with Coach [Anthony] Ricks and they made it made it known that they really wanted me, liked my game and like where I’m headed. One of their things is being able to, you know, take care of my family starting now. So, you know, it’s a really great opportunity.
Ernest Udeh Jr. is an intelligent kid who has taken his time to carefully research all 37 schools that he holds offers from. I expect him to continue to do his due diligence, including with OTE, and trim his list again before making his school choice. Udeh Jr. won’t rush the process so it is possible that he could wait until spring to sign – but I am not predicting that.