Recruiting Trail Puts Basketball’s Changes on Display


Oladokun, a 16-year-old from Upland, Calif., was invited to the Pangos All-America Camp in Las Vegas, which included many of the top 100 prospects in the country. The camp was not held during an in-person evaluation period so it drew only N.B.A. evaluators — including the Oklahoma City Thunder’s general manager, Sam Presti, and the Denver Nuggets’ president of basketball operations, Calvin Booth — and recruiting analysts.

At 6-9, 210 pounds, Oladokun plays like an overgrown puppy — more enthusiasm than grace — but he made his mark by relentlessly banging for rebounds with some of the best prospects in the country.

“I was so nervous,” said Oladokun, who has a 4.5 grade point average and has, since the camp, received scholarship offers from the University of California, San Diego, and U.C. Davis, as well as an offer for a roster spot from Yale, which does not award athletic scholarships but can provide other financial aid.

“A huge part of basketball is confidence; it doesn’t matter if you have the skill,” he continued. “The camp helped me display what I could do even though I didn’t play to my ceiling. I realize they’re great players, but they’re just like me in a lot of ways.”

These revelations have been occurring from coast to coast.

In a mostly empty gym last Friday night, Efstathiou found himself matched up against Alassane Amadou, a spindly, athletic 6-9 wing from Quakertown, Pa., who was being watched intently from the baseline by Marquette Coach Shaka Smart and an assistant coach, Cody Hatt. (They took turns applauding when Amadou made a play in front of them.)

Efstathiou’s team, which lost two starters to injury in its opening game, was quickly down by 22 points when Amadou came flying down the lane for a dunk that Efstathiou was helpless to prevent.

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