May 25, 2011
The Tennessee basketball team recently added a 6-9 post player to its current signing class, as coach Cuonzo Martin confirmed Wednesday that Yemi Makanjuola (pronounced: YEH-mee MACK-in-JEW-luh) has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Tennessee and play for the Volunteers beginning with the 2011-12 season. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Makanjuola is expected to enroll at UT this summer and hopes to major in Sport management.
Makanjuola moved to the United States in January 2010 to attend Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., and transferred to Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C. for the 2010-11 academic year. He was coached at Word of God by Quentin Jackson, and the Holy Rams posted a 24-3 record this past season while advancing to the semifinals of the NCISAA Class A tournament.
"Yemi is 6-9, 245 pounds. He has a really good frame, and he's only going to get bigger and stronger," Martin said. "I really like how hard he competes. He's plays a physical brand of basketball, he runs the floor well and he's a good shot blocker. He continues to improve offensively. I think he's capable of big things, and I'm excited about having him join our program."
On a team that featured two other NCAA Division I signees, Makanjuola averaged 12.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game last season, according to Jackson.
"I liked all the coaches (at Tennessee), and they made me feel like that was the place I wanted to be," Makanjuola said. "It seemed like a great place to get a good education, and I really want to get my degree. It's important to me.
"Knoxville felt like a real family atmosphere. When I was there I felt really welcomed everywhere I went. I really liked all the players I met, too. I like playing with people who are competitors and love winning, and that's a big part of why I chose Tennessee."
He chose Tennessee over Indiana and is the fifth member of Tennessee's incoming class, joining forward Dwight Miller (Nassau, Bahamas) and guards Wes Washpun (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Josh Richardson (Edmond, Okla.) and Quinton Chievous (Niles, Ill.).