Marquette’s effort in recruiting the Detroit Metro area payed off in a big way for the class of 2017. In addition to grabbing both Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott, Steve Wojciechowski nabbed a big man in Ike Eke.
Ike comes to Marquette from the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. He was a four-year letter winner in high school, and grabbed a state championship his junior year while adding 9.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. Despite missing out on a state title in his senior year, he still averaged a double-double.
He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and played with Jamal Cain and Greg Elliott on The Family AAU team. This year will be only his fifth year playing organized basketball, so you can expect him to be a bit of a project. Even with his experiences in high school. However, there’s a lot to like about what he can offer as both in the short- and long-term at Marquette.
He’s a natural athlete and is physically imposing, standing 6-foot-9, 225 lbs. He can jump out of the gym and has fantastic instinct both on the offensive and defensive glass. Eke has soft hands and will catch most things thrown his way. Ike also has a decent-looking shooting stroke but doesn’t really project to be a volume shooter from outside the lane.
His downsides are what make him a great long-term project for the Golden Eagles. He’s going into only his fifth year of basketball. But, Eke is incredibly instinctual about the game, and cultivating that instinct and raw ability into a polished threat might take more work than more polished incoming players. A massive wingspan and leaping ability will make him an absolute monster down low in future years. Right now, Eke might seem a step behind more talented, more experienced, elite college big men.
I love what he projects to be, but of all the players on the roster, he’d be the one I’d bet on to redshirt. It can only help him and a year of running with collegiate athletes like Harry Froling and Ed Morrow, both of whom can score and can play defense. His raw instinct can only be sharpened into a certified machine in the low post going forward for the Golden Eagles.
If he doesn’t redshirt, I don’t see him getting many minutes (at least later in the season once Froling is eligible). Both Cain and Theo John and are more college-ready freshmen on both ends. He’ll still be called upon to play a reserve role for Matt Heldt, but even his minutes in reserve probably won’t be high.
I think this year needs to be a big learning year for Ike, but redshirt or not, he’s got all the potential in the world to be a great player for the Golden Eagles. It just might take a little bit longer for it to fully develop, and I have faith he will.