For Pitt’s Odukale, it’s a New York thing

He's yet to step on campus as an official member of Pitt's basketball team, but freshman guard Femi Odukale is pretty well-versed on the recent history of the program.

And it's got a lot to do with the Panthers' success in recruiting players from New York City.

Odukale hopes he's next in line.

"It seems like a lot of people in New York, and especially the Brooklyn area, once they go to Pitt, they just even do better than what they (were) doing in high school," Odukale said Wednesday night during the team's IG (Instagram) Live Takeover. "You got Levance Fields, Justin (Champagnie) and a guy who is coming right behind me, and that's a big key right there."

That guy is Ricardo Greer, a New York native and former Pitt forward who played his way into the team's statistical record books for two years under Ralph Willard and the first two seasons of the Ben Howland era. Greer, an assistant coach at Dayton, said he choose Pitt over other Big East and ACC schools because of the success fellow New Yorkers and Dominican-Americans Jaime Peterson and Orlando Antigua had there.

Greer also took part in the Instagram chat, hosted by former Pitt guard and the team's assistant director of basketball operations Ronald Ramon, another New Yorker.

Yep, the chat had a definite New York groove.


Odukale is at home in Brooklyn, where he is waiting for word to arrive on campus. Part of a five-player freshman class, which includes 6-foot-10 center Max Amadasun from the Bronx, Odukale is eager to get his collegiate career started.

"I just can't wait to go and play and practice and get wins in practice, just being competitive," Odukale said.

Like a lot of players from New York (though he played for Commonwealth Academy in Springfield, Mass.), Odukale considers himself a vocal presence, capable scorer and a physical threat on defense.

If that description sounds similar to players such as Fields, Carl Krauser and Chris Taft, well, maybe it's just a New York thing.

"I just hope Pitt fans stick around, even if this (coronavirus) stuff still sticks around.I'm going to give you everything that I've got," Odukale said. "This year is going to be a great year because a lot of schools is really going to feel our pain."


Height: 6-5

Weight: 185

Position: Shooting guard

Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.

School: Commonwealth Academy (Springfield, Mass.)

Offers included: Stony Brook, Virginia Tech, Washington State, Seton Hall

Rivals ranking: Three stars, No. 146 nationally, No. 32 shooting guard

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