HAMPTON — Three players, three positions, three countries. Three ACC schools?
That's the short story of the outside prospects Boo Williams has enlisted for his 2011 basketball road show.
With considerable talent in Hampton Roads, Williams didn't need much help to assure his program's continued national prominence. But if this weekend's opening session of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League at the Sportsplex is any indicator, Williams chose wisely.
The most familiar and renowned "import" is Justin Anderson, a junior wing from Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md., and a staple of Williams' program for three years. He's a natural passer and shooter and plays with an unbridled joy rarely seen on the spring/summer circuit.
Anderson committed to Maryland on St. Patrick's Day, choosing the Terps over Virginia and North Carolina and giving coach Gary Williams a rare recruiting coup. Two weeks later, Anderson helped Montrose win the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational.
"It's been a great couple of weeks," he said. "Banners are coming soon (to Montrose). Rings and jackets, too."
Montrose (25-1) defeated Oak Hill Academy in double-overtime to win the ESPN Rise as the left-handed Anderson forced the second OT with a left-wing 3-pointer in the waning seconds.
"A lot of people were saying that was the biggest shot of my life," the ever-affable Anderson said. "I hope not."
Despite the winter's frantic pace, the 6-foot-6 Anderson showed no signs of fatigue here Friday and Saturday. He ran the floor, blocked shots and made 3s.
When Boo's team sealed a Saturday morning victory over All Ohio Red, Anderson howled in celebration. Clearly he enjoys, and is accustomed to, winning.
"I think as a freshman I can make an impact (at Maryland)," Anderson. "Not to say I'll be a superstar and start, but I think I can contribute and help Maryland win the ACC championship."
While Anderson likely will emerge as an emotional leader this summer, Boo's floor leader figures to be point guard Teddy Okereafor, a 6-3 junior at Christchurch, an Episcopal school along the Rappahannock River.
Okereafor scored two clutch buckets on slashes to the basket against Ohio Red and drew Boo's praise for "understanding the position." Funny thing is, the two are virtual strangers, and until recently knew nothing of one another.
Okereafor arrived at Christchurch in September from England, fresh off playing for his homeland in the Under 18 European championships in Israel.
"I'm one of the best in England," Okereafor said. "So I wanted to come here and play with the main competition. I didn't even know about Boo. But this is one of the best clubs, and I think I'm a good addition."
And about those two late scores that clinched victory?
"I'm good at reading the pick-and-roll," Okereafor said. "I love the pick-and-roll. That's what we do in England."
Indeed, while Americans too often obsess over 3-pointers and dunks, Europeans, in general, are more fundamentally sound. It's a reflection of coaching and culture.
Okereafor hopes to continue his basketball odyssey in college and recently earned a scholarship offer from Final Four surprise VCU. ACC programs would do wise to take notice.
"No one knows about him," Boo said of Okereafor lacking major-conference offers.
That's about to change.
Like Okerafor, Boo's third import fits the bill literally. Ifeanyi Onyekaba, a 6-8 junior forward at Virginia Episcopal in Lynchburg, came to the United States two years ago, leaving his parents, three brothers and sister in their native Nigeria.
Onyekaba is far less refined than Anderson and Okereafor, indeed all of his teammates. Not surprising for someone who's been playing organized basketball for little more than two years.
"Playing with (Boo) I know my game is going to get better," Onyekaba said in deliberate but well-spoken English.
"He's a great kid," Williams said. "I wish he was two inches taller."
Onyekaba plays limited minutes but contributed eight points and plenty of hustle in Saturday's win over Ohio Red. He hit the floor for a loose ball and dunked off an offensive rebound.
Wake Forest and Liberty have offered Onyekaba scholarships, with Virginia still evaluating.
His potential was most evident in the Virginia Independent Schools Division III state championship game, when he had 29 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots in Virginia Episcopal's victory over Williamsburg Christian.
"He can shoot the basketball," Virginia Episcopal coach and former Virginia star Curtis Staples told the Roanoke Times. "That's one of the things people hadn't seen and didn't know about him. Stepping away from the basket, 8-10 feet away, he can really shoot it."
Onyekaba said he gets homesick and calls family in Nigeria each weekend. His role model, of course, is countryman and former NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon.
"Everything is about learning," Onyekaba said. "I have to work my way to the top. I see this as a challenge."Copyright © 2015, CT Now