Despite being just a 2008 prospect, it seems like Olu Ashaolu has been a name on the prep circuit for a long time. Maybe it's because the 6-foot-7 forward from Toronto has been a starter at Community Christian School in metro Atlanta since he was an eighth grader.
Ashaolu, considered by most Canadian hoops experts, is one of the top players from north of the border. He moved to the United States three years ago and was a pioneer player for Linzy Davis at Community Christian. Ashaolu said he feels like he came to the United States at the right time.
"I came in as an eighth-grader grader to a place that had Louis Williams, Dwight Howard, Randolph Morris and all of those guys and I learned from watching them," he said. "Now it's just flying by. Now I'm thinking about college decisions, SATs, everything like that. I know I have to get ready."
Still two and a half years away from graduating from high school, Ashaolu has taken the fast track on the high-major road. He's played at the ABCD camp for two years in a row. He's in his third year of starting on varsity as a sophomore. He's played in several high exposure events as a prep player.
This season he's helped CCS climb to a 13-1 record. Still a bit of a 'tweener, Ashaolu is a difficult player to defend because of his incredible length, ability to play hard inside the paint and he uses his long arms to grab a number of offensive boards. There are still a number of things he wants to improve on in order to fine tune his skills for the college level.
"I definitely have to work on my j and my handles," Ashaolu said. "Other than those two things I'm just trying to get bigger, trying to get more muscle. I see myself as a combo two-three unless I grow to be 6-8 or 6-9. NBA average two guard size is more my size."
While it's still early for the 2008 prospect, Ashaolu says he thinks about the recruiting process on occasion.
Ashaolu has unofficially visited Georgia and Georgia Tech, he said, and has interest from the likes of LSU, Illinois, Syracuse, Michigan State, UConn, Iowa and Memphis. There's certainly a Canadian flair to his college list. Several of the programs currently have a Canadian native on it's team.
LSU assistant Nikita Robinson was on hand to see Ashaolu play on Thursday night. Ashaolu's brother Jon played college ball at the University of New Orleans with Robinson before transferring to nearby Xavier, a Division II school. The Tigers have long been a favorite for the younger Ashaolu.
"I know all of those guys like Big Baby, Tasmin Mitchell, all of them. They are all really cool guys," Ashaolu said. "I've been down there to Baton Rouge before and it's a nice place. LSU is just a nice program."
As teams come in to evaluate the youngster, Ashaolu said he's also trying to figure out what level he wants to play at.
"I'm trying to predict my talent level," Ashaolu said. "Will I be a guy that is a high-major guy that will go to a program and a be a piece to the puzzle or will I be a high-major guy that goes to a program and be a star? I want to go to a place where I can go and further my career and be the best that I can.
"There is no problem in being a piece of the puzzle. You look at a guy like Marvin Williams and he was the sixth man for the team but was the second overall pick in the draft and he's got a ring. I'm trying to see who else best fits me."