Jason Smith, the head coach at Brewster Academy in N.H., has seen his fair share of big time basketball talent. His roster this season includes players going to UConn, Louisville, Washington, Providence and Purdue just to name a few. But Smith says newcomer Emmanuel Negedu could be one of the best players to ever play for him. That's saying something.
Smith has guys like Jeff Adrien, Chad Millard and Harvey Perry, all national prospects, are at Brewster right now. Washington's Joel Smith played at Brewster. Adrian Joseph played for Smith before going to Virginia. UNC's Damion Grant is a product of the N.H. prep school.
Smith said Negedu, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound small forward from Nigeria, could be the best of the bunch.
"He could be one of the best players we've had here," Smith said. "His upside is phenomenal."
Negedu played just 10 minutes against Proctor Academy in his debut. His first basket was a thundering dunk in traffic. Smith said Negedu had the one bucket, four rebounds and three blocks.
Coaches from Notre Dame and Maryland were in the stands, more so to watch Proctor's Jerome Dyson who scored 35 points including seven three pointers.
Smith said Arizona called about Negedu 48 hours after his arrival to Brewster.
"His skill level is further along than any of the other African kids that have arrived over here. He's raw, sure, but he's much more fluid and skilled than the other kids that I've seen over here," Smith said.
"He has a ways to go but his work ethic and athleticism is amazing. Standing flat footed, he jumped up and touched the top of the square."