The O’Connell boys’ basketball team will have something of a new look next season, thanks to a big-time transfer, 6-8 forward Junior Etou, a rising senior.
The Democratic Republic of Congo native came to the Arlington private school at the end of this past school year from Arlington Country Day in Florida.
A physically imposing player who will likely play the three in college, Etou has drawn interest from a number of top college programs after an impressive showing at the recent NBA Top 100 camp. Etou, a cousin of Oklahoma City Thunder star Serge Ibaka, has scholarship offers from Memphis, Cincinnati, Florida, Arizona; Maryland and Virginia also have been in contact.
Etou will live with his aunt, who works for the World Bank, according to Knights Coach Joe Wootten. Etou plays AAU basketball for D.C. Assault.
“As player, he’s very strong, skilled; he’s got a great natural feel for the game of basketball,” Wootten said. “He definitely communicates well defensively, he’s a tremendous rebounder, and he can also face up and shoot. He gives us a lot of versatility.”
O’Connell also added Siyao Sun, a 6-10 sophomore from China. According to Wootten, Sun arrived at O’Connell via a connection to Michael Li, a junior varsity player last season.
Li’s mother works in China for several months during the year, and Sun is the son of a family friend in China, Wootten said. Sun visited in January and elected to transfer after finishing his freshman year in China.
“He would remind you of a European big man,” Wootten said. “He’s a very good athlete, he’s got good feet, moves well. He’s got a nice jump shot, he’s comfortable shooting the three-point shot. … We have him playing JV and varsity summer league to get more game experience.”
While the Knights added two players, they lost a pair of rising seniors, 6-foot-7 Rashard Kelly (to Massanutten Military Academy) and 6-foot-8 Cam Gregory (to St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes). Both players will be reclassifying as juniors at their new schools.
“Both of them wanted to reclassify and you cannot reclassify in our league,” Wootten said. “So we wish them the best of luck.”
The attention around Trimble has been picking up, Wootten said, after an impressive Adidas Nations Camp. Trimble has drawn heavy interest from Rutgers, Notre Dame, Xavier, Maryland, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Miami, among others.
Video of Melo Trimble: