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May 1, 2013

Etou a major late addition

This late in the recruiting game, it is a rare to be able to add a player with the ability and upside of Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell power forward Junior Etou. Rutgers was able to do just that today when the 3-star prospect committed to new head coach Eddie Jordan.

Etou's familiarity with Jordan from his time as a DC Assault coach and with assistant coach David Cox paid great dividends for the Scarlet Knights. Etou is the 139th-ranked prospect in the country, according to Rivals, and has a lot to offer the new regime, according to his high school coach Joe Wootten.

"Number one, they're getting a kid who has a great presence on the court," said Wootten. "Unbelievable heart. When you see him play, he just plays with passion, and plays so hard. "

The cousin of Oklahoma City Thunder standout big man Serge Ibaka, Etou's skill set is similar to his older relative's, right down to his penchant for attacking the glass and defending the rim.

"He's a great rebounder," said Wootten. "He averaged in our league--which many consider the toughest high school league in the country, top to bottom--about 14 rebounds per game. He led the league in rebounding. He also led the league in blocked shots. He's a great shot blocker with a great knack for timing."

Etou is comfortable shooting the ball from 15-to-18 feet, another attribute which should serve him well moving up to Divison I.

"He's got a great touch on his jump shot. He can really shoot the ball; he's got great form," said Wootten. "He didn't shoot a ton of threes for us but he shot a ton of 16-footers and in. He's a guy that can play inside and out."

A native of Congo, Etou began his high school career in Cameroon before making a name for himself at Arlington Country Day in Florida. He then moved on to O'Connell, where he managed to make a big impact in a short time, both on and off the court.

"He's got a great smile. He's soft-spoken and quiet but very personable," said Wootten. "He just made such a positive impression amongst all of the teachers.

"He's a native French speaker, so he's learned English since he's been here. When he first got to O'Connell, he was taking Biology and the teacher said the first couple of days that he had trouble with a couple of bigger biological words because of the translation. He came to me about three weeks later and said, 'I wish every one of my students worked as hard as him, because he just works his tail off.'"

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