Friday, May 1, 2009

San Jose State's new big

(photos by Russell Scoffin, Southwestern College)

Closing out recruiting for the upcoming 2009-2010 season, San Jose State has brought in another frontcourter:

He's familiar with Brooklyn and the Queens -- make that the outer almost rural Queens section that stretches into Long Island and "is a place where there's not much to do but play basketball." He is also accustomed to Nigeria after spending years there as a youngster when his father worked in the shipping and cargo field. Then a cross country trek to San Diego and a residency of three years introduced him to southern California. Now, he's landed in San Jose.

Moses Omolade is indeed a traveler and now a Spartan, having signed a letter-of-intent to spend the next pair of seasons at San Jose State. At 6-8, 200 and having finished up at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, Omolade isn't the bulkiest of paint players. But here's what he is: strong, uber athletic, determined and aggressive. Those qualities were utilized in Omolade being the top shotblocker in the state's junior college ranks with 5.3 rejections a contest.

Southwestern College, coached by John Cosentino, has a program with a tradition of strong defensive play. Omolade was a three-year captain there -- he redshirted his second year there -- and the recognized leader among the players.

"In my over three decades of coaching in high school, junior college and D-1, Moses is the best shotblocker I’ve had," Cosentino said. "We’re a defensive oriented team and he changed how teams attacked us."

But Omolade also demonstrates other abilities. "Moses is tremendous on the offensive boards and you better put a body on him because he will try and dunk everything," Cosentino added.

Another element in Omolade's repertoire is his ability and willingness to run the floor. As he put it when the ball changes hands whether it be the result of a steal or a defensive board, "I'm coming to get that dunk."

His motivation? Omolade's father stayed working in Nigeria for a number of years after the remainder of the family returned to New York City. His mother took on physical jobs that left her worn down at the end of the day. "So I think of my mother when I get tired on the court and that inspires me." he offered.

As for his reason for selecting San Jose State, Omolade said, "It was my visit," Omolade said. "That and me having a better relationship with the coaching staff there than at any other school."

Remarkably, Omolade played soccer as a freshman but no organized basketball at Martin High in Queens. After graduating, he played street basketball while also growing a few inches. Someone with a connection to Southwestern basketball saw him one day and soon he was headed to San Diego and college.

Omolade has a strong interest in communications as a major and is looking at radio and television as his primary focus at San Jose State. But he is also intrigued with theater arts so Spartan fans should get ready to see much better flopping to gain a charge call than what North Carolina's Kingflopper Tyler Hansborough has demonstrated.

Here's Tyson Aye, a former Spartan assistant coach and now the head coach at Imperial Valley College: "Moses was in our league and we've played him four times in the last few years. Moses is a defensive force in the paint. At 6-8, he is quick and extremely long. He has one of the longest wingspans I've ever seen, and I've actually seen Moses block 10 shots in a single game. Offensively, he has come a long way since his frosh season, and I see his best basketball is still in front of him. I've heard nothing but great things about his character. The Spartans got a good one with Moses."

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