Posted: 2:34 pm Friday, April 29th, 2011
By Jeff Greer
Grandview Prep’s prized senior center Ismaila Dauda will attend Polk State College in Winter Haven for the 2011-12 season. He has also backed off his verbal commitment to Miami and will open up his recruiting process again once he arrives at Polk State.
Rivals.com rates the 6-foot-9 Dauda as a four-star and top-100 recruit in the Class of 2011. The Nigerian-born Dauda committed to Miami in February 2009 and his AAU and high school coaches and his guardians had told other colleges that Dauda’s commitment was rock solid. But with Frank Haith leaving Miami and a new coaching staff coming in — plus playing at a highly regarded JUCO program in Polk State — Dauda decided he’d like to see what his other options are.
Because his first high school in Florida — Miami Choice Prep — is not recognized by the NCAA, Dauda was behind academically and there were questions as to whether or not he’d qualify for the 2011 school year at Miami. He’s currently catching up with online school and plans to be fully qualified for junior college and beyond.
He’s still high on Miami, but his guardian Greg Brown said they wanted to be in touch with new Miami coach Jim Larranaga and find out if Dauda is still in Miami’s plans for the future. Brown also said Dauda would prefer to go to a college in a warmer climate.
“That’s why I’m thinking it’s gonna be close to us,” said Brown, who lives with his wife, Colette, and Dauda in the Fort Lauderdale area. “The Florida schools would be the favorites in my book.”
Dauda said he is excited to see what playing at Polk State will bring his way. He wants to gain 20 pounds to add to his 6-9, 210-pound frame. He has also been “working for hours” on his jump shot.
“With the skills I have now, being able to shoot a jump shot would make me even better,” said Dauda, who also mentioned that he has displayed his jumper on the AAU circuit, but his role at Grandview Prep didn’t afford him the same opportunity to show off his range. “I have a great turnaround jumper.”
The other school that was close to landing Dauda was Arkansas, but when he visited the Fayetteville school, it was too cold for his liking. He does have an older brother who still lives there. Brown and Dauda weren’t exactly sure which schools might join the fray for Dauda now that he’s open again, though several Polk State players are attracting serious attention from major Division I schools. Dauda expects to grab someone’s attention when coaches come to see his teammates.
Polk State coach Matt Furjanic has sent 37 players to four-year institutions after playing for him. He is perhaps most famous for coaching former NBA center Rik Smits at Marist. Now he has a new big-man project to coach up as Dauda blows up in recruiting circles.
“He’s gonna see what it’s really like to be heavily recruited,” Brown said.