Shortly after Christmas, Eddie Ekiyor will arrive in Cincinnati and join the Musketeers.
Ekiyor is a 6-foot-8 power forward from Canada who has recently completed his high school work and will be joining Xavier for the second semester. Because Xavier is so deep in the post with the likes of James Farr, Jalen Reynolds and Sean O’Mara, the plan is for Ekiyor to redshirt this year and be ready to contribute in the 2016-17 season.
In the meantime, he will get the chance to bang with top level college big men, learn Xavier’s system and get used to the rigors of being a college athlete.
Ekiyor is the kind of player on which Xavier has built its recent success. Regarded by ESPN, Rivals.com, and Scout.com as a four-star prospect and by 247sports as a high-end three-star prospect, Ekiyor plays hard, is a good athlete and should continue to develop his skill set over four years. His current skill set projects him as a solid rebounder and a defender who should be mobile enough to hedge ball screens in Xavier’s system. While his offensive game currently consists mostly of put-backs off offensive rebounds, and dunks when set up by teammates’ penetration or in transition, he has also flashed a little hook-shot in the post.
Xavier’s coaching staff has had great recent success developing the back-to-the-basket skills of players like Farr and O’Mara. While Ekiyor is nowhere close to that level now, his athleticism and touch he has shown around the basket gives reason for optimism moving forward.
While getting stronger will be a goal for Ekiyor between now and the start next season, at 215 pounds he looks the part of a freshman who won’t be physically overwhelmed on day one. That may be important for Xavier next year as Farr will graduate and it seems likely that Reynolds may move on as well. Ekiyor will fight for playing time with O’Mara, Norfolk State transfer RaShid Gaston, and fellow four-star freshman Tyrique Jones.
The hope is with a semester of both practice and getting used to college life under his belt, Ekiyor will be able to make a smooth transition next year and provide energy and athleticism off the bench.