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October 11, 2012
Huskers locked in on 2013 big man Atewe
It's no secret that Nebraska's biggest need for the 2013 recruiting class is far and away to add some size and strength in the post. Coincidentally, one of their top low post prospects at the moment might be one of the better kept secrets in the country.
For the past three weeks or so, the Huskers have been locked in on 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward Matthew Atewe of Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep. Though he's an unranked prospect, Atewe (Ah-too-Eee) has been gaining interest from major programs around the country the past year.
A native of Canada, Atewe broke onto the scene this past summer with his Northern Kings AAU team, and as schools continue to search for lesser-known talent to round out their '13 classes, his stock has taken off.
He currently holds 12 Division-I offers from programs such as Kansas State, Marquette, Memphis, Auburn, Dayton, Clemson, Duquesne, Nevada and UNC-Charlotte. Other schools like Purdue and Butler have also shown interest.
While Nebraska is relatively new on his recruiting trail, Atewe said he was immediately impressed with what the Huskers have to offer. Assistant coach Chris Harriman has been the lead recruiter on him, and head coach Tim Miles has also been heavily involved.
"I really like Coach Harriman and Coach Miles," Atewe said. "They're really cool. They've seen me on good days and they've seen me even on pretty bad days, and they've still been consistent with recruiting me. I'm pretty high on them."
Atewe said Nebraska's new practice facility and soon-to-be completed new arena were obviously big draws as well.
"I just really like the fact that it's a big college town, and the facilities as well," Atewe said. "They've really told me about that. They're like in the top-two in the states, including, like, professional teams, in terms of their facilities. I really like the fact that even the Chicago Bulls came over there to go check it out. I kind of like how they're going forward and stuff."
The Huskers haven't been shy about telling Atewe where he stands on their priority list, either. With three commits for 2013 so far - point guard Tai Webster, guard Nathan Hawkins and wing Nick Fuller - the coaches have been clear that he is exactly the type of player the Huskers need.
"They've actually really been talking to me about that," Atewe said. "They've been talking to me about being a priority for them as a big. I know they have a lot of guards, but not a lot of bigs."
While he attends prep school in Massachusetts, Atewe is still a Canadian resident. He said he likes how Nebraska has already gone the international route with Webster, a native of New Zealand, as well as Brazilian native Andre Almeida and of course Harriman's connections overseas.
"I really like that they have a lot of international people and have like an international flavor, with me being from Canada," he said.
Atewe's size and strength have made him a perfect fit for schools looking to add a defensive-minded big man, and he said his game thrives on his shot blocking and rebounding skills.
"My strengths are really on defense," he said. "I think a lot of coaches have recruited me to be like kind of the anchor in the middle, someone who can block shots and rebound. Also just running the floor and being active. Those are my strengths.
So far, the only official visit Atewe has taken has been to Kansas State, which he said was probably his top choice as of now. He still plans to take a few more visits within the next month or so, and Nebraska is working hard on trying to get him to Lincoln.
Atewe has set his commitment date for Nov. 28, in honor of his late mother's birthday.
"I'm still kind of pretty open," Atewe said. "In the coming month or so, I'm not sure yet, but I'll start to just cut things down and go from there."