East Carolina basketball coach Jeff Lebo will look to Nigerian big man Usman Haruna to help address pressing needs in the post. The 7-foot transfer from Bismark (ND) State College fielded offers from Charlotte, Duquesne, Stetson and Virginia Commonwealth, among others, before opting last week for the Pirates.
Bismarck State also happens to be the alma mater of another native of Nigeria, Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri.
Haruna has at times displayed the ability to be a dominating force on the backboards. He established a new Bismarck State record for rebounds in a game in January when he grabbed 29 caroms in a contest against United Tribes Technical College.
With former ECU post players Andre Washington and Deng Riak having departed — Washington by graduation and Riak by transfer — Haruna will have every opportunity to have a big impact early.
Jabari Craig, a 6-10 center/forward, will also compete for playing time after logging about eight minutes per game in a reserve role for the Pirates last season.
Haruna joins 6-8 Chesapeake (VA) Oscar Smith High School forward Justin Whatley and 6-6 Portsmouth (VA) Norcom High School small forward Kevin “K.J.” Davis in ECU’s recruiting class of 2017-18. Davis pledged to the Pirates last August while Whatley committed last month.