The Tilton School (NH) had a bit of a disappointing end to its 2011-12 season with an early playoff exit, but next season is promising despite the loss of elite shot-blocker Nerlens Noel. With Wayne Selden and Goodluck Okonoboh slated to return, the juniors know a big summer could go a long way both individually and for the team.
For Okonoboh, it's about taking the next step as one of the premiere big men in the Class of 2013. That process begins with a potentially big summer.
"A lot of working out, but after the season I took a week off to rest my body from all the aches and bruises," he said of what he's been up to since the season ended. "Just getting ready for the AAU season."
As Okonoboh prepares to once again run with BABC in AAU ball, he will have to take a welcomed detour after snagging an important camp invite on Sunday.
"I got invited to the NBA Top 100 camp," he said. "I felt like I should have been invited last season, but I'm happy to go this year.
"It's a basketball school where NBA players who attended the camp come back and coach for the top 100 sophomores and juniors – mostly juniors – for like four days. You do a lot of working out, a lot of drills and just get to play a lot."
The event is usually in mid-June, and it was held at the University of Virginia in 2011 – where it will likely again be held. With a solid run in the AAU circuit and a good showing at the Top 100 camp, the 6-foot-9, 205-pound big man has the chance to elevate his status from that of a four-star to five – not to mention the potential impact on his already hot recruitment.
"A lot of coaches are waiting for the AAU season to start, when they start really really recruiting because they know the AAU season for some juniors is the breakout point for them," said Okonoboh, who already holds verbal scholarship offers from Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Providence and Minnesota. "They just want to see how you can fit in their program."
Also mixed in this summer will be some trips for the athletic Okonoboh.
"I know I'll be visiting a couple of colleges I will visit this summer," he said. "I'm not sure which ones in particular, but visits will be taking place."
In the short term, Okonoboh will be playing the role of supporter for his top-notch teammate, Noel, who is in the final days before making his own anticipated decision.
"It's definitely a big decision in his life, it's definitely stressful but I know at the end of the day he's going to pick a great school for him," said Okonoboh. "I have no doubt about that. He's going through this pretty well…he's the same man, nothing's changed."
So where is Noel going to end up?
"I don't know…I mean his top three Syracuse, Kentucky and Georgetown," he continued. "He's very high on all three of them, you guys will have to wait and see."
Fans of each school will know the fate of Noel when he announces on April 11, but it also may sway his Tilton teammate.
Said Okonoboh on Noel's school of choice, "(It's) A big influence because we both have similar games in a way. I know Nerlens wouldn't steer me wrong in any way, so obviously he would tell me what's the deal with this or what's the deal with that. It will have a big impact, he's like a brother to me. I would look at what he did, with his accomplishments, and try to do the same thing."
Okonoboh added that the final choice for Noel would weigh greatly on him even if the top prospect declares for the 2013 NBA draft after his freshman season, which would mean the two wouldn't have the chance to play college ball together.
Goodluck Okonoboh is the second-most popular player on The Tilton School (NH) roster behind top prospect Nerlens Noel, but his connection with him could go a long way when it comes to the four-star making a decision. He is expecting a big summer, and fills Scout in on why inside…