I traveled to Mount Vernon High School this past Saturday to get my first look at Maryland Terrapins target player Obi Enechionyia. Enechionyia, the 6’8-6’9 junior forward from St. James School in Hagerstown, Maryland, did little during the 30 point blowout victory against Oakton to dissuade me that he won’t eventually be a high four star by his senior year. As it stands, the kid has offers from a whole lot of big name programs like Indiana, Villanova, Miami, and Xavier just to name a few. The Nike Team Takeover AAU player is expected to get a whole lot more as well, given his play this season.
I got a chance to sit down and talk with him after the game, but before we get to the interview I’ll give you a first-hand scouting report of the kid.
- Athleticism and Length
- Shot blocking
- Free throw shooting
The attributes above are only a few of the things that Obi excels at on a basketball court, as evidenced by his 20 point, 16 rebound, 5(ish) assist, 12 block performance against Oakton High School. His skill set is as versatile as they come, as he is just as at home dribbling the ball up the court and hitting a transition jumper as he is doing damage down low on the block.
Because of his large wingspan and athleticism, Obi is one of the more difficult players in the country to drive against. Any shot attempted down low by him is a prime candidate to get sent flying; his blocking instincts are some of the best I’ve seen in awhile. He isn’t out there leaving his assignment just to try and score another block. Rather, as one of St. James other players gets beat, Obi is there to pin the ball against the backboard as he comes over to help.
Another one of Obi’s underrated strengths is his unselfishness and ability to pass. He has an uncanny ability to thread the ball through traffic with a behind the back pass to an open cutter for an easy lay-in, and I saw him do it numerous times. I tried to get it on film, but unfortunately the one time I managed it is the one time it actually gets intercepted by a defender, but I’ll show you the clip anyway so you can get the picture
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FuBs-8a0DU&feature=youtube_gdata_player (he’s #31)
Perhaps one of his most impressive skills is his touch on the ball, as advertised by the eight consecutive free throws he made in the second half when Oakton was forced to foul him down low. Obi has phenomenal form on his free throw shooting, and will likely do lots of damage from the stripe at any level because of that. Check out the clip below for a peek at a couple free throws:
Obi didn’t take many jump shots when I saw him (most of his points were on dunks and from the free throw line), but coaches agree that he has great range and possesses a solid knock down mid-range jumper.
Obi’s weaknesses weren’t really on display against Oakton, a team that was clearly overmatched and had few answers for him, but there were a couple things things that could be obstacles to his success in the future. While Enechionyia is not particularly skinny, he could stand to add a few more pounds of muscle; as it is, he weighs around 220 lbs. His frame suggests he could get up to 240-ish, which would allow him to play down low against virtually anyone without any major issues. If Obi gains a little more weight, defenders are going to have an incredibly difficult time handling him on the court.
The other thing is his aggressiveness during the game both on offense and defense. Obi took a few plays off against Oakton on defense, and allowed some of their players to shoot over him and score down low. Part of that is because of a tweaked ankle he suffered a bit ago, and as a result wasn’t playing at 100%, but part of it is not being particularly honed in.
Offensively, I would have liked to see him demand the ball more often down low and dominate, as he could have scored on nearly every possession if he did. He did not establish position down low a few times, and ball-watched on some possessions while his brother (another very talented Enechionyia) dribbled around the defense looking for help. If he develops a mean streak in the future, and starts to become more aggressive on offense, his status as a five-star big man is almost a certainty.
I sat down with Enechionyia after his conversation with Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who offered him a scholarship, for a quick minute interview.
On his performance today:
“I think I played pretty well. I could have played better offensively, but all-around, I think I helped the team win so that’s good.”
On the team’s early season struggles and finally hitting their stride:
“Yeah I think so [that we’re hitting our stride] because we finally got one of our best player’s back, A.J., who had been out all year. With him back, I think we’ll be pretty good as a team.”
On the recruiting process:
“It’s pretty hectic. There’s a whole lot of things going on and it’s really busy, but I’m enjoying it.
On the University of Maryland:
“I like the school a lot. I like the coaching staff. [Mark Turgeon] is a cool guy.”
On who his game resembles:
“Probably ‘Melo [Anthony]!”
Quick interview, but overall from speaking with the coaching staff and Obi, there’s a lot to like about his prospects with the University of Maryland. He’s a very nice kid with local roots who would be an excellent fit at Maryland. While he may not be on everyone’s radar just yet, by the end of the year you can count on people taking plenty of notice as he grows into his own. As a 2014 target, he is as strong as anyone.
Big thanks to the coaching staff and Obi for the chance to speak with him!