The Miami Tropics have quickly become a force on the AAU circuit and in the recruiting world. The latest proof comes from their big man, Freddy Asprilla, who committed to the University of Miami during a visit to the ACC school earlier today.
The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Asprilla, who is one of the fastest rising prospects in the class of 2007, chose Miami over scholarship offers from Arizona State, Florida, Florida State, Kansas State and Tennessee. He also had interest from Arizona, Connecticut, Oregon State, Pittsburgh and many other major programs.
"There's been a lot of buzz surrounding Freddy the last couple of months, but he really wanted to stay in Miami and follow in the footsteps of other players we've had go there like Denis Clemente and Guillermo Diaz," Tropics coach Art Alvarez said. "(Miami head coach) Frank Haith did a great job recruiting him too. He thinks the world of Freddy and believes he will play big minutes and pay big dividends for his program."
A lot of other coaches envisioned Asprilla doing the same for their programs, even though they hadn't even heard of him four months ago.
That's when the big man moved to Miami from his native Columbia. He started playing for the Tropics almost immediately and grabbed a lot of attention for his performances at the Houston Kingwood Classic – which included a field of more than 600 teams – in April where he and temporary teammate, O.J. Mayo, Rivals.com's No. 1 overall prospect in the class, helped the Tropics reach the semifinals.
Asprilla also impressed at the Memorial Day Classic in Nashville and the Rumble in the Bronx earlier this month. Those performances helped earn him a coveted invite to the Nike All-American camp in Indianapolis on July 5-9.
"A lot of schools jumped in the mix, including Florida. The Gators loved him," Alvarez said. "He could have held out and gotten more offers."
A big force in the paint, Asprilla has a soft touch around the basket and does a lot of damage on the boards. But it's his inexperience that intrigued many coaches. He's only been playing organized basketball for three years.
"Freddy has great footwork and great hands, plus he has tremendous upside," Alvarez said. "He has plenty of room to improve and the foundation to be a great player."