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Gopher Baskerball Recruiting: Jonathan Nwankwo Signs Letter of Intent

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Powerful rebounder Jonathan Nwankwo is the third Gopher commit to sign his letter of intent today.

USA TODAY Sports

This was maybe the surprise of the 2014 recruiting class for your Golden Gopher basketball squad.  Nwankwo as somewhat considered the back-up plan to in-state power forward, Alex Illikainen.  But Nwankwo visited campus for the Middle Tennessee State football game and left with a verbal commitment.

Very tough kid in the paint who is a relentless rebounder, making easy comparisons to Trevor Mbakwe.

Big and strong kid, physically should be ready to compete in the Big Ten immediately and that is good because there will be frontcourt minutes available from day 1 with departures of Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker.

Height: 6'9"
Position: C/PF
Stars: 3
Ranking: ESPN #29 center
Other Significant Offers: Tennessee, Boston College, Seton Hall, mid-majors
ESPN Eval: "Nwankwo rebounding and defense is ahead of his offense at this time. He has great size and is a immediate factor on the defensive end of the floor and possess terrific upside and is a major college low post prospect."

Defensively ready to compete and should be a beast on the boards.  The staff's job is to get his footwork perfected and help Nwankwo develop an offensive skill set.  I love having toughness and tenacity in the paint, especially in the Big Ten.  If Nwankwo can find his offensive niche he is going to be another great find for this 2015 recruiting class.

Amelia Rayno's comments on Nwankwo:

With the Gophers losing Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker after this season, the tough, 6-9 Nwankwo represents more depth on the horizon. The Nigerian-born New Yorker already has the raw tools - the athleticism to run the floor and rebound, as well as shot-blocking potential. The three-star athlete is honing his back-to-the basket moves and his 10-foot shot at Victory Rock Prep in Florida.