Pair of 2009 Standouts Big East-Bound

Alex Oriakhi

Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs are only entering their sophomore campaigns, but both are already off the board. The two standouts from Massachusetts committed while on an unofficial visit to a Big East school on Friday afternoon.

The rash of early commitments has reached Storrs as UConn coach Jim Calhoun has taken the pledges of two of Massachusetts' top young players.

The duo of Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs, who led BABC to the under-16 Super Showcase and also the under-15 national championship last month, committed to UConn on Friday afternoon.

It was the earliest that any player has committed to Calhoun in his 20-year tenure at UConn.

``It's an opportunity to play for a Hall of Fame coach," Oriakhi said. "It doesn't get much better than UConn."

``As soon as he offered the scholarship, we both said we're committing," Coombs added. "I'm happy and excited. This is a dream come true."

Oriakhi is a 6-foot-8, 215-pound big man who played at the Brooks School (Mass.) last season while Coombs is a 6-foot-6 forward who was at Lawrence Academy (Mass.) a year ago. Both players will be at the Winchendon School this season and both were key in the success that BABC had this past spring and summer in compiling a 85-3 record.

``Alex is a big, strong post player who plays a little bit like Alonzo Mourning did back when he was the same age," BABC coach Leo Papile said. "He's overpowering and is a good shot-blocker." ``UConn is getting two players that are going to be really good in a couple of years," Papile added.

``UConn and Jim Calhoun have an unbelievable track record and they wouldn't be making a premature move if they didn't feel these guys were good enough," he continued. "These two kids are not only very good players, but are also great team guys as well. Their emotional competitiveness is a good fit because of what Jim Calhoun demands of his players."

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