The Texas Tech men’s basketball team is expected to host a big-time prospect over the weekend.
Putnam (Connecticut) Science Academy’s Malik Ondigo is scheduled to take his third, out of five, allotted official visits to Texas Tech. Ondigo, a 6-foot-10-inch, frontcourt player, is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.
“I’m just hoping to learn all I can about the schools I listed on my top 5,” said Ondigo, who holds 12 offers according to 247Sports. “Each team has different coaching staffs and needs, and I want to get as much information as I can to make an informed decision.”
Back on March 15, Ondigo Tweeted of a photo of his top 5 schools — including Purdue, Texas Tech, Boston College, Colorado and Nevada — who are mostly recruiting him as a power forward.
The Red Raiders offered Ondigo last July and have been recruiting the big man hard.
“They’re really interested in me,” he said of Texas Tech. “Coach Beard, in his first year in the Big 12, got some big wins and that’s impressive. The Big 12 is hard to play in and get wins.”
Ondigo said his visit will run from Friday through Sunday. During that span, he’s expected to meet with the coaching staff, take in an Oklahoma State-Texas Tech baseball game and hopes to meet a few players from the current Red Raiders squad.
“They have a great recruiting class coming in and great academics, too,” Ondigo said of the research he’s done on the Red Raiders. “I’m excited to see the type of style they play and see what else I can learn.”
On his first two official visits, Ondigo has gone to Purdue (April 8) and Nevada (April 14). He unofficial visited Boston College back in February and is expected to use all five of his allotted official visits.
“Purdue is Big Man U to me, they produce NBA talent,” Odigo said of Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas, A.J. Hammons and JuJuan Johnson. “They get a lot of guys ready to play at the next level and their player development is one thing I like. They also make sure they graduate guys, too. They win on and off the court. … Coach (Matt) Painter has things going.”
“Nevada may not have all of the accolades, but they’re an NCAA Tournament ready team looking for pieces to take them to that next level. And they have a bunch of coaches who have NBA connections, starting with head coach Eric Musselman.”
Putnam Science Academy, which runs a 2-3 zone defense, is the same program that produced five-star Kentucky shooting guard Hamidou Diallo. Ondigo, who completed a postgrad season at Putnam Science Academy, helped guide the Mustangs basketball team to a 34-7 record.
“The main thing I learned what that it’s not about individuals, or scoring a lot of points. It’s about the team winning,” said Ondigo, who is originally from El Mirage, Ariz. “A lot of guys think they’re the man coming off their AAU team, but you need to work as a team, be good teammates, to win at the next level. You can’t be selifh and make that extra pass or take charges. That’s one thing I need to work on, taking more charges because our coach (Tom Espinoza) said those are smart plays.”
Ondigo would certainly be a nice addition to Texas Tech’s 2017 signing class, which includes Garland Centennial shooting guard Zhaire Smith, Coronado’s Jarrett Culver, Gainseville (Fla.) Rock School’s Daniel Mading, South Plains College’s Josh Webster, Trinity Valley Community College’s Hyron Edwards, DePaul transfer Tommy Hamilton and Florida transfer Brandone Francis.
Culver, Mading and Smith are high school prospects.
Texas Tech graduated frontcourt players Thomas Brandsma, Matthew Temple, Aaron Ross and Anthony Livington which would likely open up some playing time for Ondigo.
Norense Odiase, Zach Smith and John Brown are the only frontcourt players listed on the Red Raiders official online roster.
“Coach Beard has told me he wants me to earn my minutes and have the goal of being the Freshman of the Year in the conference,” Ondigo said. “He’s going to put me in the right positions to do that, and develop me to play at the next level.”