Last fall, schools such as Louisville and UCLA were looking at 6-10 Temidayo Adebayo, according to Stu Vetter, his coach at Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.). Then, a medical condition slowed down the young player from Nigeria enough that he missed the start of the season and was never really at full strength during the season. That medical condition has since cleared up, according to Vetter.
The physical setback meant some school was going to have to take a risk on a player who is much more potential than performance at this point. Saint Joseph's is that school and, if academic records from Nigeria can be put in good order, Adebayo will enroll in summer school at St. Joe's next month.
"His upside is he's very athletic, a very good shot-blocker," Vetter said. "The downside is he hasn't played a lot of basketball. Skill-wise, he has the potential to be a fine player and, at some point, maybe a very, very good player."
Adebayo has been in the United States for a little more than a year. Vetter thinks he has only played 3 years of basketball and barely any of "what you would call basketball."
Vetter coached Kevin Durant at Montrose. He has coached many big-time players in his long, successful career. So he does know what a player looks like.
"He does have excellent timing on blocked shots," Vetter said. "As he grows in his basketball knowledge, he has the potential to be very good. He had a lot of big schools that were very, very interested in his potential. We just kind of felt that St. Joe's was a good fit because at St. Joe's they will work with him and realize the potential."
Michael Auriemma, son of Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma, is coming to St. Joe's as a walk-on. The elder Auriemma and St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli are longtime, very close friends.