Each year in North Carolina, we see at least one prospect come out of nowhere and really burst onto the scene. The most recent example is Keeyan Itejere, who surfaced about this time last summer and began rapidly trending upward. Our first viewing came during travel ball season with the UC27 Dreamchasers. There were multiple next-level prospects on that team, but Itejere was clearly on another level. His showings were not just made up of high-level flashes but rather consistently pure dominance against any type of opponent. The thing that made this all so impressive was his undeniable usefulness for being pretty raw in terms of skillset. Itejere stood around 6-foot-7 and possessed just enough ball-handling ability to get the ball on the wing, take two or three dribbles, and absolutely punch it on anyone in sight. On the other side of the floor, he relied on his length, athleticism, natural timing, and nose for the ball to dictate the action. It was all very straightforward but effective nonetheless.
Not even six months later, Itejere appeared at the Upward Stars Combine in Spartanburg, South Carolina and genuinely stood out as one of the most exciting players in the gym. This was about three weeks removed from receiving his first pair of offers from Elon and Radford. He had grown, added weight, and continued to further polish his overall skillset but still maintained the incredible motor, work ethic, and approach that originally got him noticed. The high school season was on the horizon, Itejere transferred to join Jaylon Gibson at GRACE Christian, and the rest is history. They had some depth issues and could never reach their full potential as a team, but that had very little to do with Itejere. Reclassifying would’ve vaulted his recruitment into an entirely different territory but his academics are almost too high to even consider doing so. That is a likely reason as to why primarily low-major programs are fighting for his services, as they know he could find success at a higher level. Only time will tell, but a 6-foo-9, incredibly explosive, defensive menace with a high motor is something that a vast majority of Division I programs could utilize.