The recruiting saga for Emmanuel Negedu is halfway home. The top unsigned player from the class of 2008 has two official visits under his belt and two more to go. Rivals.com caught up with the 6-foot-6 big man at the midpoint of his trips and got the latest on his recruitment.
After being released from his National Letter of Intent from Arizona, the entire nation tried to throw a hat into the mix for the springy and aggressive big man, says Negedu's high school coach Jason Smith. Indiana, Georgia Tech, Memphis and Tennessee made the final cut and he's in the process of looking at each school closely.
Negedu, the No. 40 overall player in the class of 2008, has visited Indiana and Georgia Tech officially and is on his way to Tennessee on Tuesday and then closes out his tour this weekend at Memphis.
The trip to Georgia Tech went well, says the four-star prospect.
"It was a good trip. I have a good relationship [with the coaches] down here. I like what I see," Negedu said from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. "I saw the classrooms and I hung out with the players and played with the players. It was fun, it was good. The campus is right in the city but you wouldn't know it."
For outsiders looking in, the decision to visit Georgia Tech was a bit of a surprise. Indiana and Tennessee were high on Negedu's list prior to committing to Arizona. Memphis was a natural choice because of the existing relationship with former Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner, who was the lead recruiter for the Wildcats in Negedu's recruitment. Negedu said he wanted to look closer at Georgia Tech because of regional advantages and the academic structure of the engineering school.
"I wanted to look at a school that was close to Boston, no more than two or three hours maximum on the plane from there. That's why Georgia Tech was on my list. Plus, they are in the ACC and they play there," he said. "They are a good, good school. I have to look for what is best for me."
Negedu will be on Tennessee's campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. He said he is looking forward to spending time with Bruce Pearl and the staff in Knoxville.
"I'm excited about going to Tennessee. They were on top of my list before I went to visit Arizona. Going to Tennessee to visit is going to be great. I can see everything. It's not too far away from where I want to go. I like their style there. I'm going there to see what they have for me," Negedu said.
Memphis is final stop. The Tigers have been hot down the stretch, landing Tyreke Evans and Wesley Witherspoon in the late period. Can the Tigers strike again?
"I'm going to Memphis just like I'm going to Tennessee – to see what they have to offer in their program. I have done my research a little bit," Negedu said. "I know they need someone at my position right now. I want to see how it goes. I just want to make sure, you know?"
There is little doubt that Negedu's relationship with Pastner will play a significant part in the prep star's decision.
"We have a good relationship. I can talk to him about anything. That's what is great about him. Everything didn't work out the way it should at Arizona. It could at Memphis, you know? Now I have to make my decision and look at every situation at Memphis for the school and the players and in that situation," Negedu said.
Negedu visited Indiana early last week and enjoyed his time with some familiar faces.
"The visit to Indiana, I would say, went okay. I got to see the guys I used to play with in AAU. I think the coach is doing a really good job for them. I think they will be good. The visit was just okay," Negedu said. "Most of my AAU guys are there. Seeing them there makes me feel comfortable."
Negedu returns from his whirlwind tour on Saturday. He said he hopes to have a decision shortly after his return.
"I'm trying to find all of the positive and negative stuff for every school before I make a decision," Negedu said. "That is why I'm taking my visits. I want to see how every visit goes so I can make a comfortable decision…I should know a couple of days when it is all over. I need to figure it all out."