Olasewere Is Ready to Show Off His Improved Attitude

Jamal Olasewere, who led Springbrook to its second straight Maryland 4A state championship, says he spent his senior year transforming his attitude. He has become one of the area's top unsigned recruits in the class of 2009 and he has recently drawn interest from Georgetown. He will play in the Capital Classic.
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, April 9, 2009; Page D05

Jamal Olasewere was familiar with Springbrook Principal Michael Durso's office, usually being called to it for disciplinary reasons. But when assistant basketball coach Darnell Myers brought him there on a recent afternoon, it was Durso who offered the room, simply as a quiet place to share his thoughts about his future.

"Sit here," the coach said to Olasewere, pointing to the blue leather chair behind Durso's desk. The standout basketball player eased his 6-foot-6 frame down, leaned back and interlocked his fingers behind his head.

"This feels pretty good," said Olasewere, breaking into a wide, toothy grin, thinking about the occasions that had him on the other side of that desk. "It's different."

These are different days for the power forward who led the Blue Devils to a 27-0 season and their second straight Maryland 4A title. Once a mid-major prospect with a reputation as being hotheaded, a recruiter's red flag, he now is on the radar of larger programs, most notably Georgetown. His attitude has changed, and more than a few have noticed.

"He has a chance to be special," Durso said, a nod to more than just Olasewere's considerable basketball talents.

Olasewere will be one of 12 players on the Capital All-Stars, a team of top area players that will play a team of national recruits tonight at American University's Bender Arena in the 36th Capital Classic. A left-hander with a strong inside game, Olasewere's productive stretch run has made him one of the area's most sought-after undecided recruits in the class of 2009.

"He's a guy that a lot of [recruiters] missed the boat on," said Gonzaga Coach Steve Turner, who will coach the Capital All-Stars.

Olasewere, who spent much of his first three years of high school hurting his recruiting stock through choices he admitted were immature, says he has spent his senior year working on his game, his image and his attitude.

Olasewere has not taken any official visits, but his recent success in the state tournament, where he opened more than a few eyes in a 74-69, double overtime victory over Walbrook in a state semifinal, earned him an unofficial campus visit and sit-down last week with Georgetown Coach John Thompson III.

In the Walbrook game, he posted 28 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks and stole the attention of Thompson, who was in attendance to scout Walbrook's Roscoe Smith -- a 6-9 junior forward who has college scholarship offers from nearly every major collegiate power.

"Sometimes, that's just how it happens," Springbrook Coach Tom Crowell said. "They're there to see one kid and they're like 'Who's this kid?' "

Since then, Georgetown has started a dialogue with Olasewere. Myers, a former Georgetown assistant, believes that an offer could be imminent. Because of his ties to both sides, Myers is serving as an intermediary in the process.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company