The 2021 Texas basketball recruiting class got a very nice under-the-radar addition on June 22 by landing the commitment of Grace PF Keeyan Itejere.
The The latest commitment that head coach Shaka Smart was able to land on the trail came for the 2021 Texas basketball recruiting class. Prior to landing this solid pledge that the Longhorns nabbed on June 22, the last that Smart got his hands on was the highly coveted five-star Vandegrift power forward Greg Brown.
The commitment that Smart and the Longhorns landed on Monday morning came from unranked Grace Christian School 6-foot-9 and 190 pound power forward Keeyan Itejere. This Raleigh, NC, native is the first commitment to the Longhorns 2021 class. That means that Smart got to start filling out the 2021 class much quicker on in the cycle than he did for 2020.
Furthermore, the first and only commit (at least up to this point) in the 2020 recruiting class for the Longhorns was Brown. At least the one commit Smart got in his 2020 class was a good one.
According to a 247Sports report, Itejere reminds his AAU coach of a “traditional” Texas big man. Here’s what he had to say on this subject: “Keeyan is a big and athletic kid who is 6-foot-9 and can really run and jump”.
Apparently Itejere more specifically reminds his AAU coach of the former Longhorns star big man (currently playing for the New Orleans Pelicans) Jaxson Hayes. Texas nabbed Hayes as an underrated four-star power forward prospect, who immediately turned into a lottery caliber prospect and a top 10 pick of the Pelicans in the 2019 NBA Draft.
According to a Zagsblog report, Itejere chose the Longhorns over other offers like Elon, UNC-Wilmington, VCU, Radford, Arkansas-Little Rock, Utah Valley, and Rhode Island.
From viewing the film that is out there of him, Itejere appears to be a lengthy and bouncy big man that can have a high ceiling with the Longhorns. It is true that the recent track record of the Texas men’s hoops program does produce a lot of NBA caliber big man talent. Hayes, Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets, and Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic, prove that fact.
Itejere has great leaping ability, which could lead to him becoming a potent rim protector. He also has upside as a stretch-shooter from the mid-range. That might eventually translate into him becoming a solid shooter from downtown. But that would be a long ways away given how his current skill set appears to be rounded.
You’ll find Itejere commonly dunking on his opposing big men, and outrunning the opposition in transition. He’s very fleet of feet, and is a decent defender even though he needs to put on more strength to contend in the paint in the Big 12 night in and night out.
Since the Longhorns will be losing standout big man Jericho Sims (and possibly Brown just as soon as he arrives), landing the commitment from Itejere to add depth in the frontcourt rotation is pivotal. Texas needs as much frontcourt depth as it can get its hands on, as proven by the rise of former four-star recruit and freshman forward Brock Cunningham emerging in a big way down the stretch last season.
Texas now has two commits combined between the last two recruiting classes. This is still a big get that is getting a lot of well-deserved attention. We’ll see if Itejere gets an official recruiting ranking from the likes of 247Sports or ESPN in the near future.