Chier Ajou’s commitment went from verbal to written Wednesday, meaning that the 7-foot-2 Ajou will become the tallest player in Northwestern history.
The school hopes he can suit up this season, but the native of South Sudan (his name is pronounced SHEER ah-JOE ) is awaiting NCAA clearance.
A cousin of Bulls star Luol Deng, Ajou is said to be an excellent shot blocker with a nice shooting touch. But he’s thin at 235 pounds and has suspect hands.
“He is an outstanding young man who is athletic, has great upside and is a good fit for our program,” NU coach Bill Carmody said in a statement. “He’ll provide our team with a dimension we haven’t seen in a while.”
Carmody declined a telephone interview Wednesday, citing the NCAA probe.
Ajou competed for two years for Culver (Ind.) Academies prior to attending prep school last year at St. Thomas More School in Connecticut. He averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots per contest at St. Thomas More.
Ajou, who turns 21 in September, originally gave a verbal commitment to New Mexico. Butler also offered him a scholarship.
Ajou joins Kale Abrahamson, Sanjay Lumpkin and Alex Olah in NU’s freshman class. Transfers Nikola Cerina (TCU) and Jared Swopshire (Louisville) will be eligible next season. Redshirt freshman Tre Demps will look to unseat Dave Sobolewski at point guard, and Mike Turner will provide depth.
Five key veterans also return: Drew Crawford, JerShon Cobb, Reggie Hearn, Alex Marcotullio and Sobolewski.
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