After a month of Seton Hall being in pole position to land SMU transfer Blaise Mbargorba, the 6-foot-11 forward committed to Boston University over the Pirates today.
Blaise, a Hightstown, N.J. native and Peddie School graduate, was considered all but a done deal to Seton Hall for at least a week. Sources close to Seton Hall had indicated that Mbargorba was a strong Seton Hall lean as far back as a month ago. Some had pegged his likelihood of committing to Seton Hall as high as 95%.
Mbargorba was offered by Seton Hall out of high school, but was heavily recruited by George Mason, Georgetown, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech before committing to former SMU head coach Matt Doherty. "Blaise is long, athletic and skilled," said Doherty in 2011. "He can pass, handle and shoot it as a 7-footer. As he gets stronger, he will become a great all-around player for us."
Blaise averaged 15 ppg, 11 rpg and 4 bpg as a senior at Peddie, good enough for second-team All-Prep for the Class of 2012. Mike Tobey (Virginia) and Melvin Johnson (Miami, VCU) were selected over Blaise.
Here is Peddie head coach Joe Rulewich's evaluation of Blaise in November of 2011:
He can score in a number of ways both at the basket and from the perimeter. He has worked extremely hard to continue to develop his back-to-the-basket moves and Blaise shoots it from 15-18 feet as well as any other player in the country with his size.
Blaise's skills as a passer, ball handler and screener are also getting better and he will fit in very well in the Princeton style offense that Doherty has implemented at SMU. Defensively, Blaise is one of the best at his position for his ability to block and change shots. That part of his game is ready for the college stage and with those skills, Blaise will have the opportunity to contribute immediately to a program that has been improving each year.
Jay Gomes of NJHoops.com has compared Mbargorba to former Rutgers center Hamady N'Diaye, who played briefly with the Washington Wizards after college. "He was kind of like Hamady N'Diaye coming out of high school. A little different, but if everything comes together, he has the chance to be a legit shot-blocker and a fringe NBA player."
WHAT SOJ THINKS:
From an objective standpoint, Boston University is a perfect fit for Blaise Mbargorba, who clearly values academics. Away from the classroom, BU only has one player that stands taller than 6-foot-7 on their roster, Justin Alston. Justin averaged just 6.4 MPG last season as a freshman. The Terriers do have a commitment from 6-foot-11 post-grad Dylan Haines of St. Thomas More (Conn.) There is clearly plenty of time available at center at the Patriot League school.
From a Seton Hall prospective, this is yet another example of failing to close on a recruit for Kevin Willard and his staff. What's worse is that Seton Hall was competing against two low-majors for the New Jersey native's services. Boston has not won a post-season game since head coach Joe Jones took over for Pat Chambers in 2011. Unlikely to suit up until 2014-15, Blaise would have only had to compete against Kevin Johnson and any potential forward recruit in the Class of 2013 or 14. In short, the competition was nearly as light as BU's front court depth. There are no excuses here.
Looking ahead, 2013 PF Billy Magarity Jr. now sits firmly in Seton Hall's crosshairs as a candidate for the 13th and final scholarship. Also standing at 6-foot-11, Magarity just concluded a visit to Seton Hall that took place on Sunday and Monday. He is slated to visit Boston College and then Temple later this week before making a decision.