Wake Forest’s incoming freshman class doubled with an announcement Tuesday night.
Emmanuel Okpomo announced that he’s joining the men’s basketball program, making him the second incoming freshman for new coach Steve Forbes along with Quadry Adams. Wake Forest confirmed the signing today.
"Emmanuel is a high-character individual and will be a great addition to our Wake Forest community," Forbes said through a news release. “He played for one of the most historic and powerful high school programs in the country this past year at Oak Hill, under legendary coach Steve Smith. His team was extremely deep and talented, and he was challenged everyday he stepped on the court. I love his ability to block shots, defend the basket, and run the floor.”
Okpomo is a 6-10, 220-pound center with a 7-4 wingspan, according to a news release from South Florida, which is the program he signed with in November. He was granted a release from his National Letter of Intent with South Florida in late-April.
Okpomo, who is from Nigeria, was described by Coach Brian Gregory of South Florida as “an excellent shot blocker and rebounder on the defensive end,” with a reference that he’s a developmental player on the offensive end because he’s only been playing organized basketball for four years. Okpomo played at Oak Hill Academy last season after transferring from Huntington Prep, averaging 7.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots per game.
Forbes has made no secret that one of his philosophies in recruiting is to “recruit offense and coach defense,” but he’s also said that can be adjusted when it comes to recruiting post players because their offensive skills sometimes develop at a different rate than those of guards and wings.
Forbes has one remaining scholarship. Assuming it’s not given to a player who’s currently on the roster as a walk-on, the last scholarship will mean Wake Forest has eight new players next season — and one of the five returnees, Tariq Ingraham, didn’t play a game last season because of a torn Achilles.
Additional staff positions filled
Wake Forest announced earlier Tuesday the additions of two more staff members for the program: Antanas Kavaliauskas as the director of player development and Joe Hugley as director of player relations.
Kavaliauskas was recruited to Texas A&M while Forbes was an assistant there and played in the Euroleague for 12 years. Hugley finished his college career last season as a graduate transfer at East Tennessee State.
Kavaliauskas moves into the role previously held by Evan Manning, while Hugley’s position is a new one.