St. Peter’s senior O.D. Anosike has chosen Siena from among more than 35 scholarship offers.
For the past two years, college coaches have been making their way to New Brighton to get a look at O.D. Anosike and make a sales pitch for their school. Now one of them has come away with the prize.
Anosike, St. Peter’s 6-8 senior forward, called Siena coach Fran McCaffery Monday night to verbally accept the school’s scholarship offer. He plans to sign his letter of intent to attend the Loudonville, N.Y. school — outside of Albany — during the early signing period in November.
The decision concludes a recruitment that began during the 2006-07 season.
“Sophomore year when he started to play varsity we started getting coaches at games,” said St. Peter’s coach Charlie Driscoll. “Manhattan was in early, Hofstra, Rutgers. Really since his sophomore year he’s been generating interest.”
Siena got in on the Anosike pursuit in April, well behind some of his early suitors such as Hofstra and Fordham, but still ahead of the game compared to the explosion of interest that came after July’s series of AAU tournaments.
Anosike had a dozen scholarship offers by the spring, and another 20 or so came in after he got off the AAU circuit. He eventually had more than 35 schools to choose from.
“In July it got crazy,” said Anosike. “I was at tournaments all of July. It just got really crazy once I got back. Phone calls in the evening every day. I started to get about 15 letters a day in the mail. I was getting bombarded. My mom and myself just got phone calls and e-mails constantly.
“Beginning in August I just wrote out all my offers and it was crazy each and every day. We had to do something about it. So we cut our list to 10 and then we cut it to five.”
Anosike narrowed his options down to Temple, Hofstra, Delaware, George Mason and Siena from a group that also included Penn State, Manhattan, Rhode Island, Vermont and Boston University.
After an official visit to campus last weekend, he chose Siena, the defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion. As a No. 13 seed, the Saints advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s second round with an 83-62 win against four-seed Vanderbilt before losing to Villanova, 84-72. With five returning starters this season — two seniors and three juniors — the non-conference schedule includes Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Kansas.
Anosike will join another Staten Islander, Monsignor Farrell grad Ryan Rossiter, in Siena’s frontcourt. Rossiter, a 6-8 sophomore, started 11 games for the Saints last season.
“When I was up there I hung out with the players a lot,” said Anosike. “He was one of the players I was around a lot. I got to speak to him about how the coaches were. He gave me his insight. It did influence my decision.”
Anosike was an Advance All Star last season after averaging 15.8 points per game while anchoring the St. Peter’s defense with his shot-blocking and rebounding. He led the Eagles to the SIHSL Tournament championship, where he was named tourney MVP after scoring 19 points in the championship game win against Curtis, and then into the CHSAA Intersectional quarterfinals. St. Peter’s finished with a 21-7 record.
“They explained to me that I’m going to come in as a freshman and battle for a spot at the 3, 4, 5,” said Anosike. “They have four seniors this year, a couple in the front line so I’ll be able to come in and fight for minutes. He sees me eventually playing the 3.”
Anosike had drawn steady interest over the past year from Big East schools such as Rutgers, St. John’s and Providence. But their preference that he spend another year maturing at a prep school wasn’t what Anosike was looking for.
“I got a lot of calls in the summer,” said Driscoll. “Some of the Big East schools, Rutgers signed some big guys, they were in early they backed off. St. John’s had a lot of interest. They wanted to know if he would go to prep school for a year, get stronger and then come in and play. Providence was interested. Some of them really wanted him to go to prep school. We didn’t think academically or basketball-wise that was something he needed to do.”