- Adam Finkelstein
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UNLV picked up its second ESPN 100 commitment Thursday night, when No. 21 overall and No. 4 center Goodluck Okonoboh (Boston/Wilbraham & Monson) announced he will join the Rebels during ESPNU's broadcast of the Western Kentucky-Louisiana-Monroe football game.
Okonoboh joins Dwayne Morgan (Baltimore/St. Frances Academy), the No. 34 prospect and No. 9 power forward, to give the Rebels a top, athletic, front-line tandem.
"Me and coach [Dave] Rice established a real good relationship," Okonoboh said. "They play really fast, and that style of play fits me. I can go right in and do what I do defensively but also have some freedom offensively."
Okonoboh chose the Rebels over Duke, Florida, Indiana and Ohio State. UNLV started late in its recruitment but made the talented center a priority after the summer circuit. He took official visits to UNLV and Ohio State within the past week.
Okonoboh, widely considered one of the top shot-blockers in the country but still a raw offensive player, says he came away from his recent trip to UNLV convinced the coaching staff could help him take his game to the next level.
"The blueprint they had for me was second to none. The amount of intensity the team had in practice, how the coaches develop their big men, and, again, just the blueprint they had for me personally," Okonoboh said.
Okonoboh, who plays for the Mass Rivals on the AAU circuit, has seen his stock skyrocket after reclassifying 15 months ago, going from almost an afterthought in the Class of 2013 to one of the most heavily recruited big men in the 2014 class.
Okonoboh and Morgan are examples of UNLV's recruiting reach on the East Coast. Rice's first recruiting class in 2012 included another shot-blocking sensation from the New England prep school circuit in Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch (Fitchburg, Mass./Notre Dame Prep), along with Savon Goodman from Philadelphia and DaQuan Cook from Baltimore. In 2013, the Rebels added Jelan Kendrick from Georgia.
UNLV picked up its second ESPN 100 commitment Thursday night, when No. 21 overall and No. 4 center Goodluck Okonoboh (Boston/Wilbraham & Monson) announced he will join the Rebels.