Posted: 4:38 pm Friday, August 3rd, 2012
By Jeff Greer
Ismaila Dauda needed to take a short detour after he was told he couldn’t attend Miami right out of high school two winters ago, but that move hasn’t slowed down the 6-foot-9 Nigerian-born center.
Dauda, known in Palm Beach County as a good-natured, always-smiling kid, has spent the past year and a half at Polk State College in Winter Haven, where he’s turned himself into one of the top junior-college prospects in the country. Now the former Miami commit, who had to go to juco after his freshman-year credits at a small Miami high school weren’t accepted by the NCAA, is opening his recruitment back up, and schools are clamoring to see more.
Big-name programs like Kansas State, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh, along with schools like Dayton, Rhode Island and several smaller colleges have all contacted Polk State about Dauda, who is “definitely 5-man” according to Polk State coach Matt Furjanic.
A big reason for the uptick in college outreach was Dauda’s impressive run at the Mullen’s Top 100 JUCO Camp last month, where he was named one of the top rising sophomores in junior-college hoops.
“He’s gotten stronger,” Furjanic said. “He’s improved his game. He has to develop his low-post game, but he’s definitely a 5 man. He does a great job of occupying space in the low post. He’s not really a great shot blocker but he’s a solid defensive player. He’ll keep his hands up. He’s strong to move out of the way. He does well.”
Academically Dauda is on course to graduate in the spring, which would give him two years of eligibility at the Division I level. He was a dominant player in high school, and his size alone makes him an attractive prospect for colleges.
Dauda said he’d heard from more than 30 programs, but eight stuck out to him ahead of September’s evaluation period: Dayton, Kent State, Marshall, Murray State, North Carolina State, North Texas, Rhode Island and Southern Miss. That list could change, and his decision won’t come for a bit longer, but Dauda said he’s enjoying the renewed interest in his abilities.
“I’ve put in a lot of work,” he said. “I’ve been running on the beach, playing a lot, getting in the workouts I need. Things are really going well.”