Sky is the Limit for Osasere Ighodaro
It was the beginning of the 2017-18 season and long-time friend and Desert Vista High Head Coach Gino Crump invited me to a practice. He raved about the talent he had on his team and how good they could be if they all bought in. There was the walking bucket kid in 6-2 junior guard Tyrek Chambers. The kid with mixtape-worthy handles in 5-9 junior point guard EJ Jackson. There was the freak, highlight-reel athlete in 6-6 senior forward Wesley Harris. The 6-0 lockdown, up-in-your-jersey defender in senior Alijah Gammage. And the 6-9 senior post man Christian Anigwe. I saw the pieces. I saw what it was that he was raving about.
In the corner of the gym there was a lanky 6'6" kid with a focused but deer-in-the-headlights look. However, he was long and so skinny that you just knew he had some extra inches in him. He was so raw but his stroke from the 3-point line looked good. He looked like he was still figuring out the game at the speed that team was capable of playing at, but he was starting to figure it out.
It is hard to believe that the same kid I saw in the corner of the gym at that practice is the same kid I just saw play last weekend for Desert Vista in the Monarch Sports Prime Time summer high school tournament. He is now a legit 6-foot-8. He looks so much more fluid and athletic. He is even becoming a little bouncy. His shot looks a little more confident upon release and his hands have tightened up for sure. He is not just looking more solid on the floor, but like a leader. Like he belongs and is often the best player on the court. He is playmaking and setting up teammates for open shots. He is being everything Coach Crump will need him to be. In the Prime Time event he earned 1st Team All-Tournament honors while playing the role of a swiss army knife all weekend for the Thunder.
Oh, his name is Osasere Ighodaro. If you don't know his name yet, you might want to check him out. The distance from his floor to his ceiling is ridiculous. If how far he has come as a player and prospect is used as the measuring stick, we could be looking at a PAC-12 caliber player. No question, he still has a long way to go. Every part of his game and frame needs to get better and stronger. But man, is he intriguing.
If you would have told me seven months ago that I would be hearing about college coaches calling about him, I would have dismissed the conversation. Now I am stuck wondering why certain colleges are not calling to, at the very least, enquire about this 6-8 playmaking wing. And possibly even more than his upside and length, it is his academics that make him so appealing. Ighodaro holds a 4.8 GPA, acing every honors course he took all year long last year.
He has probably been Head Coach Pat Johnson's best player on the Powerhouse 16U team that he has played on all spring. Johnson is also on the Desert Vista coaching staff. He spends a lot of his free time training and putting up shots with Powerhouse and Mesa junior college assistant coach Mike Contreras, along with Coach Crump. He understands how lucky he is that he plays for a coaching staff that believes in him as much as a player now as much as the player he will project to be at the next level. He is one of the rare players in the state that will regularly pull the ball off the rim and take it the length of the floor like a point guard.
"Osa" is a very humble kid but also one that knows exactly what he wants out of basketball and life. He has a goal to play college basketball at the highest level. However, as a math whiz he naturally gravitates into the world of business, though teaching has always been an interest of his as well. That might have something to do with the fact that his mother, Dawn, is a teacher and his father, Osaro, is the Vice President at South Mountain junior college.
Ighodaro and his Desert Vista team will play top-100 nationally ranked 6-foot-7 2019 wing Emmanuel Taban in their first match-up of this weekend's Arizona State Team Camp. That match-up will be the perfect measuring stick to see where Ighodaro is at. I know there will be some eyes on that one.