When hired this past spring, the new coaching staff at Drake, led by head coach Ray Giacoletti, made a concerted effort to recruit the state of Illinois. The Bulldogs now have an early return from those efforts.
St. Viator senior guard Ore Arogundade committed to Drake Monday morning, ending a recruitment that included offers from the likes of Saint Louis, Murray State, Toledo, Wright State, Southern Illinois, Utah State, Northern Illinois and San Francisco.
Drake and Giacoletti had an early start in the recruitment of Arogundade with the hiring of Todd Townsend as an assistant. Townsend had developed a relationship with Arogundade the past couple of years while working as an assistant at Northern Illinois. But his relationship with Giacoletti was a huge factor after the first-year coach make Arogundade a priority in the spring.
"I just felt really comfortable with coach Giacoletti," says Arogundade. "There was a real sense of comfort with him. That relationship with coach Giacoletti was important, along with knowing coach Townsend from earlier. They said I will have an opportunity to play early if I work hard.
"I want to be pushed, and they're going to push me. We have goals of what we want to do in the Valley, and I think we have a chance to shock some people in the future."
Now Drake has locked up one of the top 20 prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2014 and a player who helps fill a lot of needs for any college program. Arogundade has done two things consistently while at St. Viator: produce and win at a high level.
Arogundade has shown the ability to fill a stat sheet throughout his career and do whatever it takes to help a team win. As a sophomore he led St. Viator to an East Suburban Catholic Conference title and school record 25 wins while averaging 14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2 steals a game. He came back this past season improved on those numbers as a junior, putting up 19.1 points, 7.6 rebounds. 3.1 assists and over 2 steals a game. St. Viator won 21 games last year and reached the sectional championship, where it fell to Stevenson.
"Ore just impacts the game and contributes in so many different ways," St. Viator coach Mike Howland told the Hoops Report earlier this month when discussing his three-year varsity performer.
The 6-2 Arogundade, who has played the past few years on the AAU circuit with the Illinois Wolves, is a versatile 2-guard who has gradually improved his overall game. He's become a more efficient shooter and is an effective defender with his lateral quickness, reach and effort.
On Sunday, Drake picked up a commitment from Reed Timmer, a standout point guard from New Berlin in Wisconsin, who averaged 25 points a game as a junior.
"We are going to be a part of that first group, that first recruiting class," says Arogundade. "It's exciting to be a part of something fresh and new."
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