Basketball dreams do come true. Take the case of Fidelis Okereke, a 6-foot-7 senior at King/Drew High. On Tuesday, he announced he has committed to Cal State Northridge.
Three years ago was the first time he started playing basketball competitively. This last season, he was honored as the City Section co-player of the year.
He averaged 16.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocked shots as the best big man in the City Section.
He selected Northridge without making an official recruiting visit and it was a reversal. Over the weekend, he was on the verge of committing to Coppin State. Word leaked out and Northridge and UC Irvine made virtual presentations to Okereke.
Northridge coach Mark Gottfried and assistants Jim Harrick, Mo Williams and Jeff Dunlap were in the Zoom presentation and went all-out to convince Okereke to select the Matadors while offering a scholarship.
“I want to go far with basketball and that means I want to be at the top level,” Okereke said in a statement. “When I got the offer from Coppin State, the staff seemed great. Only thing was it was across the country, which I don’t mind but it would’ve been even better if I had a school closer. When CSUN offered last night, I was completely surprised. They have a good track record for being a great team … and for having great coaches.
“I’m just thankful and surprised at how God works. This offer may have come in last night but is one decision that I feel most at peace making, other than that I’m grateful for the opportunity. I promise I won’t waste it.”
Okereke’s parents came from Nigeria, and his focus was on academics until he discovered basketball.