Rockets sign forward with famous name


University of Toledo men's basketball coach Gene Cross has added yet another freshman to his 2008-09 roster, one with a notable name.

Emeka Okafor, a 6-foot-7 forward from the Minneapolis area, said yesterday he committed to play for the Rockets over the weekend. That brings Cross' first recruiting class to six players, four that he recruited.

Okafor is the third cousin of Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor, who played in college at Connecticut.

The younger Okafor averaged 12.2 points and 11.4 rebounds his senior year at Champlin Park High School. He doesn't turn 18 until October so was considering going to prep school before the UT offer came.

Okafor said UT coaches saw him play this summer at an AAU tournament in Milwaukee and he visited the campus last week.

"It came down to the size of the campus and how nice it was, it seemed like it would be not too different than my town of Brooklyn Park," Okafor said. "I think the fact that it's a new coaching staff makes it that more exciting. They come in with an open mind."

Okafor, who also visited Western Illinois, was added largely for his rebounding skills. He plans to move to Toledo next week.

NCAA rules prevent Cross from commenting about the commitment until Okafor is enrolled in school. Nine of the 13 players expected to be on UT's roster for the upcoming season will be freshmen or sophomores.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

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