The Cincinnati Bearcats added to their 2013 recruiting class on Tuesday night with a commitment from 6-foot-9 240 pound center Jamaree Strickland.
The Oakland native is playing a prep year at Queen City Prep in Charlotte, North Carolina and gave his pledge to Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin during a stop by Cronin and associate head coach Larry Davis at the school.
Style of play was a big factor for Strickland as he is used to an up tempo, 4 out attack with himself in the middle. And while he hasn't yet been to the Cincinnati campus he has studied up on his future college destination.
“I chose Cincinnati because they run a 4 out and 1 in which is what my high school and now prep school runs,” Strickland said. “I loved their campus, they put 100 million dollars into it and it looks beautiful. I like coach Cronin and the assistant coach Davis. I just had a great vibe.”
In the information age virtual tours can really open your eyes to places you haven't yet seen, but Strickland will get a first hand view for himself this weekend as he comes to town for an official visit.
“I've seen lot of videos and the campus looks really nice,” Strickland said. “I will be there Saturday for an official visit.”
Strickland has been an under the radar recruit in large part because he suffered an ACL tear during April of his sophomore year, and then had to have another surgery in June of 2011 after missing his entire junior season.
There were times he thought his basketball career was over, but he has worked through the rehab process and is now ready to put the injury behind him.
“Recovering from it was the worst,” said Strickland. “At first I doubted myself on ever playing basketball again. I didn't really think I was capable of coming back. It was basically more of a mental thing than physical. I mean that's just what its like with an ACL injury. I've worked extra hard to get to where I am now.”
Since the injury and leaving his hometown, Strickland first landed in Philadelphia before finding a new home at Queen City Prep. It hasn't been an easy road, but he is happy with his situation leading into becoming a Bearcat in June.
“Coming from the Bay Area in Oakland it was pretty tough,” Strickland said. “I had to stay with the right people and not get into any trouble which was the hardest thing. I had fun playing in Philly, but I wasn't really out there too long. I'm loving North Carolina. They are pushing me really hard to get done what I need to get done.”
Strickland has a nice skill set on the offensive end, and models his game after a current NBA star.
“I would describe my game as a Zack Randolph,” said Strickland. “My favorite move to go to is the left hook shot, and I can shoot it from about 15 feet.”
When it comes to defense and rebounding, he is confident in his ability, but knows there are still areas for improvement.
“I rebound well, but that's something I want to improve and my shot blocking is something I want to improve,” Strickland said. “I'm an alright defender, but I want to work on having to guard like a 3 or someone that can dribble the ball. I need to step that up a little bit.”
As mentioned above, Strickland will make his way to Cincinnati for an official visit on Saturday and then ink his Letter of Intent on the first day of the signing period Wednesday the 14th.
After a long road to get to this point, obviously he is very much looking forward to officially becoming a Bearcat.
“I can't wait. I'm so excited.”
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