Stetson University men’s basketball coach Casey Alexander announced today that his program has added a fourth signee for the 2012-13 school year.
The newest Hatter is Leke Solanke, a 6-foot-6 forward from Marquette Catholic High School in Valparaiso, Indiana. A native of Abeokuta, Nigeria, Solanke has only been in the United States for one year.
“Leke is exactly what we want this program to look like as we represent Stetson,” Alexander said. “He is a very mature, responsible and impressive young man. We're really excited that he chose us when he had plenty of other good programs to choose from.”
During his one year of play in the United States, Solanke impressed his coaches and college recruiters with his athleticism and ability to learn quickly. He has a measured vertical leap of 40 inches and is possibly still on his way to filling a frame that includes a wide wing span and extra large hands.
“I'm ecstatic,” Solanke said of signing with Stetson. “But that doesn't take away from the work I'm going to have to put in. A lot of people go in thinking things are going to be handed to them. Anything in life, I look at it like I'm the underdog. That's the best approach. I don't deserve anything until I prove myself.”
Solanke did not take up the game of basketball in his home country until the age of 12. Before that, he was a soccer player. His older brother, Olumide, is a seven-footer, and when Leke started to grow, he took up basketball.
Marquette Catholic coach Donovan Garletts said the numbers Solanke put up during his one season of high school basketball do not provide an accurate accounting of his abilities.
“Around Christmas time, he just exploded,” Garletts said. “His stat line (which included 7.3 rebounds per game) doesn't do him justice. He changes games completely.”
Alexander said he and the Stetson coaching staff like the potential that Solanke will bring to the court for the Hatters.
“Leke is a really hard worker and his best basketball is ahead of him,” Alexander said. “He's a dynamic athlete that will produce a lot of excitement for Hatter fans. He will also be a great compliment to the three young men we signed in November.”
Those three November signees were guards Tanner Plemmons of Sylva, N.C., and Logan Irwin of Ft. Wayne, Ind., along with forward Brian Pegg, the brother of Hatters center Adam Pegg, from Clearwater, Fla.