Though it’s current starting lineup only has one local recruit — Novi freshman Tray Maddox — Oakland has found success recruiting first and foremost about a 30-mile radius of its campus. Fittingly, the Grizzlies were the first to offer two of Oakland County’s best forward prospects, Yusuf Jihad a 6-7 senior from North Farmington and Peter Nwoke a 6-8 sophomore from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
We’ve beseeched coaches since the summer to recruit Jihad as a mid-major redshirt candidate. He’s not that he’s a late bloomer so much as a good player blossoming right on time — he’ll be 16 when he graduates. 6-7 now, it’s easy to see Yusuf ending up 6-9 given his frame and age. Reminds you, if not in ability and potential, then in how he’s just a young pup figuring it out and getting better and better, of Jaren Jackson at MSU. He’ll look awkward for a second, then suddenly is fully extending and throwing down two-handed. Jihad has a soft touch around the basket and is comfortable both facing up or shooting a half-hook from the blocks. While nothing flashy, he does a good job of not bringing the ball down.
Nwoke is another guy who has the basics down, and as a 6-8 pretty athletic 10th-grader with strong grades, that’s a mid-major floor at least. Enter the Grizzlies. Nwoke works well with good guards, and he better at St. Mary’s, as a screener who knows well enough to cash in on those chances he does see the ball. Terrific rebounder, with a good base, fundamentals, and effort. He has a good work ethic, which should allow him to remain a top 5 prospect in Michigan’s 2021 class.