Heading into the new year, Seton Hall's blockbuster 2014 recruiting class seemed to be missing just one thing, a true center. That final piece of the puzzle fell in place earlier this week as Northwestern transfer, Chier Ajou enrolled at Seton Hall for the spring semester. Ajou, who accounts for the 13th and final scholarship, will sit out a full year with the Pirates and become eligible next December with 2.5 years remaining. On January 7th, it was announced that Ajou would be transferring after playing sparingly during his time at Northwestern.
Ajou, who is listed at 7'2-235 and is 22-or-23 years old, played in 7 games his freshman year (2012-13), before receiving a medical hardship waiver, granting him 4 final years of eligibility. Though healthy this year, he failed to see minutes (only 2 to be exact) under Chris Collins and as Sippin' on Purple notes, he fell behind a walk-on, on the depth chart. With the writing on the wall, Ajou sought another university where he'll intend to continue learning his craft and Kevin Willard's Seton Hall Pirates happened to be the beneficiary.
A native of South Sudan, Ajou attended high school at Culver Academy in Indiana for two years, where he averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds, while shooting 59% en route to leading his team to the 3A state championship. An offer and brief commitment to Steve Alfrod's New Mexico Lobos would follow, but Ajou decided his next stop would be St. Thomas Academy prep school in Connecticut. While taking a year to hone his basketball skills, he put up 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots a game, earning him additional looks from Butler and Northwestern before he eventually signed with the Wildcats.
You can't teach size, and Chier Ajou certainly has that at 7'2, but make no mistake, this is a big time project for the Seton Hall staff. The Pirates will enter the 2014-15 season without a true center on the roster to begin their non-conference slate. Ajou will become eligible just before Big East play begins, but as the lone center on the roster, he will have his hands full from his very first game in South Orange.
Patrik Auda, Brandon Mobley and Rashed Anthony will have to contribute in the paint, but for someone this inexperienced to be expected to man the middle, block shots and rebound, will leave one giant question mark heading into next season. With very few options remaining at the high school level, Seton Hall decided to fill this final need by going the transfer route. By securing Chier Ajou now, the Pirates hope he'll benefit from a year of practice with the team, before he's looked at as the replacement to both graduating centers, Eugene Teague and Aaron Geramipoor.
From all of us at SOJ, welcome to Seton Hall, Chier!