Stanford lands nation’s No. 1 recruit
November 13, 2009
STANFORD – Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer landed the nation’s consensus top recruit Thursday in forward Chiney Ogwumike, the younger sister of Cardinal sophomore Nnemkadi Ogwumike.
The younger Ogwumike signed a letter of intent to play at Stanford starting for the 2010-11 season. The Cardinal are ranked No. 2 heading into this season following back-to-back Final Four appearances, and they open the season Friday night at Old Dominion.
The 6-foot-3 Chiney Ogwumike, from Cy-Fair High in Cypress, Texas, averaged 21.4 points and 12.6 rebounds per game as a junior last season and shot 55.6 percent from the field.
“We are very excited that Chiney has signed with Stanford. She brings a great combination of size, talent, versatility and aggressiveness to this program,” VanDerveer said. “We expect that she will make great contributions to our team and we know that she is a very special player.”
Chiney Ogwumike said joining her sister, who goes by Nneka, wasn’t her main motivation. She did say she feels comfortable coming to The Farm because of her knowledge of the program, its philosophy, coaches and players. She chose Stanford over Connecticut and Notre Dame, largely for Stanford’s academic reputation, too. She plans to study law.
“Surprisingly or not, I considered Nneka especially in my recruiting somewhat as what a teammate is,” Chiney said. “She’ll always be my sister no matter where I’m at. I think Nneka being there will be great but I treat her as a teammate. I thought it was the best combination of what I worked for, which is academics and athletics.”
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Chiney Ogwumike can play post or wing, and VanDerveer is likely to use her in both roles depending on opponents and lineups.
Two people were thrilled with her choice: the women’s parents, Peter and Ify Ogwumike. They emigrated to the United States nearly three decades ago from their native Nigeria to attend college. Nneka is the oldest of the couple’s four girls.
“As a mom, you want a lot for your girls and your children,” Ify Ogwumike said in a phone interview. “They are siblings. That is pretty special for me (they’re both going to Stanford). Chiney is going over there for a good balance of academics and to focus on basketball.”