Sunday, December 21, 2014

Basketball: Camden Catholic adds 6-10 transfer student

Basketball: Camden Catholic adds 6-10 transfer student

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By Phil Anastasia

His name is Demola Onifade.

His AAU coach says he's a future high pick in the NBA draft.

He's 6-10.

And he's a sophomore at Camden Catholic, as of the end of last week.

Onifade arrived from Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday. His trip to this country was arranged by officials with YIS Team Speed, an AAU team  that features several top South Jersey players.

Onifade was practicing with his new AAU teammates on Sunday night at Camden Catholic.

"He can jump out of the building," said Eastern junior Matt Klinewski, who is a member of the Team Speed squad.

In the accompanying team photo, Onifade is second from right in the back row, just to the right of the 6-9 Klinewski.

Team Speed coach Rob DePersia, whose twins sons Rob and Nick -- sophomore standouts at Haddonfield -- are members of the team, believes that Onifade will be one of the top high school players in the nation once he gets acclimated to this country and improves his strength and conditioning.

Onifade showed great hops during Sunday night's practice. He's still raw at the offensive end, although on one possession during a scrimmage he squared up and hit a 15-foot baseline jumper over a defender.

In addition to the DePersia twins and Klinewski, Team Speed also includes Cherry Hill West's Rodney Williams and Paulsboro's Theo Holloway, among other athletes.

Onifade is living in Camden Catholic's Nazareth House, which is home to around 35 international students.

Monsignor Andrew Martin, Camden Catholic's president emeritus, lives in the Nazareth House and attended the last minutes of Team Speed's practice in the Irish gym on Sunday night.

DePersia said Onifade, who is 16, will play for Camden Catholic as a junior and senior.

His presence coudd make the Irish one of the top teams in South Jersey next season as well as a state contender in Non-Public A.

Camden Catholic is projected to return three starters from last year's 20-8 team: Junior guards Rob Brosh and Tom Organ and sophomore forward Brendan Crawford.

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com. Follow @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

 

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

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