On Monday morning, Shaka Smart and the Texas basketball program secured their first commitment for the 2021 class when 6-foot-9 big man Keeyan Itejere announced his pledge to the Longhorns.
I'm excited to announce I will be committing to Texas! I want to thank all the coaches that have recruited me. I'm grateful for my parents and the sacrifices they've made for me.....@GraceEagles @CHOSEN_COACH @HookEmSmart @UpwardStarsSE @TexasMBB @UC27Carolina @PaulBiancardi pic.twitter.com/JZSb2Qc3eX— Keeyan Itejere (@KItejere) June 22, 2020
Itejere is not currently rated by ESPN or 247Sports, but he is ranked among the top 30 prospects from the state of North Carolina. He attends Grace Christian School in the Raleigh area.
Itejere chose the Longhorns over a plethora of mid-major programs including VCU and Radford. Head coaches Mike Jones (Radford) and Mike Rhodes (VCU) coached alongside Smart during his time at VCU.
Under Smart, Texas has been very successful at landing athletic forwards with upside on the recruiting trail. Jaxson Hayes, Jericho Sims, and Kai Jones were all late risers as high school prospects. Smart deserves a lot of credit for how he’s evaluated talent and built connections with under-the-radar recruits.
In a Q&A with 247Sports, Itejere mentioned that his relationship with Smart was a big reason why Texas is the right fit for him.
“The coach [Smart] holds a lot of the values that I look up to, relationships coming first, me becoming the best version of me that I can at the end of the day even outside of basketball, I just really felt like he was the right fit for me.
We started building a relationship right off the bat. I would say the biggest thing was the fact that he just felt really confident in my ability and what he could do with it.”
At 6’9 and 190 pounds, Itejere is extremely mobile for a player his size. As a lengthy forward who can put the ball on the floor at times, he attacks the rim with aggression and uses his body around the paint well. While he plays above the rim, Itejere also has a soft touch and is fluid in the post.
Here’s an updated look at the Texas basketball scholarship chart with the addition of Itejere.