Last week, I mentioned in the May 7th Dig that UTEP was reportedly showing interest in former Tennessee Volunteer Emmanuel Negedu. Now, another report says that UTEP is indeed among a score of schools showing interest in the former Tennessee Volunteer.
Negedu originally signed with the Arizona Wildcats but was released after Lute Olsen left the program. A 6'7, 225 pound power forward, Negedu, was not cleared by Tennessee to return to the team for his sophomore season after suffering a "cardiac event" in September and now has an ICD device implanted in his heart.
As mentioned in the Dig last week, Negedu visited with the Indiana Hoosiers and was cleared by team doctors to play. However, the school's administration decided not to clear him for competition with the school.
Today, Negedu visited with the New Mexico Lobos. According to the article, UNM is being very cautious, understandably so, in their pursuit of Negedu and will recquire "a coach, an athletic director, a team doctor, and a university’s legal counsel to all be in agreement for Negedu’s playing career to continue."
The Will Kimble Model
Remember former Miner center Will Kimble? He of the 6'10 frame and similar heart condition (Kimble also had an ICD implant)?
According to the report, Negedu has spoken with Kimble, now an assistant coach at Pepperdine, about playing division1 basketball with their shared medical condition. If you remember, Kimble played two seasons under Doc Sadler after UTEP cleared him to play. By the way, if you want a fascinating read on Kimble's re-entry into the basketball world, check this out.
According to the report, several schools are showing interest in Negedu, including Oregon, UNLV, Rutgers, Iowa State, UAB, Arizona, and UTEP. Obviously, the safety of a student athlete comes first in these situations, but it will be interesting to follow Negedu's recruitment in the coming weeks.
Negedu, a native of Nigeria, sounds like an interesting person. And, if you didn't think he was awesome already, you should know that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Marisa Miller and him are friends. She even goes to UT games to cheer him on.