#23 Tonye Jekiri is an exceptional young man, who came to Miami from Nigeria just 3 short years ago. Jekiri quickly assimilated to his new surroundings and especially excelled on the court. Tonye averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks per game as a senior in high school and was rated the 17th-best center in the country by ESPN.com and No. 13 by Scout.com. Tonye has been described as student of the game and an exceptional athlete. Jekiri is expected to provide immediate depth behind seniors Reggie Johnson, Kenny Kadji, and Julian Gamble.
Coach Jim Larranaga already loves his game.
"He's the most gifted in terms of speed and quickness of any frontcourt player we have," Larranaga said.
Here is our Q&A with the talented young man:
SOTU: Whats it like banging in practice with Big Reggie? Have you dunked on him?
TJ: It is difficult. But it is good because there are a lot of players in college basketball from other schools just like him. As far as dunking on him, no (Tonye laughs).
SOTU: What is the biggest adjustment from high school to division I?
TJ: Well in college you go from the weight room to practice, from practice to class, from class to study hall. It's not quite like that in high school. Also as far as the game, it is the speed. Everything is faster. Nothing is slow. So you have to make the adjustment. Managing your time and the speed of the game are the two biggest things.
SOTU:Scouting reports from your high school coaches praise your athleticism and ability to run up and down the floor. Do you anticipate getting out and running a lot this year?
TJ: Yes. yes! That is my number one weapon which I have, so everyday I have been working on it.
SOTU: As a true freshman on a senior laden team, how do you see your role?
TJ: Actually I am trying to learn as much as I can from Reggie and Kenny and Julian. Stuff like setting picks. Also to provide depth and be ready when my time comes. As a freshman I feel I am ready to go. And do my best to play defense and eat up space.
SOTU: Who is the funniest guy on the team?
TJ: (Tonye laughs). I would have to say Reggie or Julian. One of them!!!
Thanks again to Tonye Jekiri for taking the time to let us get to know him a bit better. Watch out for the big man wearing #23 come November 9th when the 'Canes open the season, as well as through out the season.
Here's a little more on Jekiri: