GFA winter preview: Healthy Okeke, transfers set to lift Dragons
Published 8:54 am, Thursday, December 1, 2016
WESTPORT — Between learning how to play the game that he had little experience in and several nagging injuries along the way, Greens Farms Academy center Sunday Okeke has yet to realize his immense potential.
Until now, that is.
The Wake Forest-bound Okeke is finally 100 percent and ready to have a significant impact for the Dragons — who went 14-11 and reached the FAA and NEPSAC Class C semifinals — this winter.
Last season, the 6-foot-9 senior averaged 13.9 points and 14.9 rebounds per game after missing seven games with a knee injury that kept him out of practice for the entire season.
“I’m happy to see all the stuff he’s overcome,” said Dragons coach Doug Scott. “It’s kind of been a three-month happy ending we’re going into. He’s probably going to end up being one of the most dominant players we’ve ever had here. He never really could show it until now.”
Okeke spent the fall playing soccer for the Dragons to further get into playing shape. Projected to play at power forward in college, Okeke has developed many facts to his game, including the ability to shoot and guard multiple positions.
“We’re now seeing a kid who can move,” Scott said. “He’s a spectacular athlete for his size and can guard No. 1-5.
“When he got here he’d basically played a handful of games in his life. Now he’s a student of the game.”
The Dragons graduated several starters from last season, which will result in a different lineup. GFA received a pair of incoming transfers from Fairfield Ludlowe in Greg Lawrence and Cole Prowitt-Smith. Lawrence is a 6-5 wing who will slot into the frontcourt with GFA, while Prowitt-Smith will help run the backcourt. Both reclassified as sophomores and will have three years to grow with the Dragons while being asked to contributed immediately.
Joining Prowitt-Smith at the guard spots will be senior Evan Roteman and junior Henry Holzinger. With the Dragons hoping to run up and down the court, all three can run the offense and knock down shots, according to Scott.
“I’ve got two guys who can really score close to the basket and three guys who can score away from the basket,” Scott said. “I think we move the ball to the right spots and take what the defense gives. If we stay healthy we have enough weapons that the defense can’t overplay any one part of our game.”
Coming off the bench will be guards Jacob Manton, Kobi Agaard, Mack Muller, Brady Reynolds, Bennett Close, Max Mitchell and Jack Seegers. Sophomore Teddy Brown — who grew eight inches over the past two years — stands 6-7 and will spell Okeke and Lawrence when needed.
The group has jelled during the summer and fall league season, and appears to be ready to compete in the rugged Fairchester Athletic Association.
With St. Luke’s — which went 25-1 a year ago, and won a pair of championships — owning a stranglehold over both the FAA and Class C, the Dragons’ path to claiming hardware may be blocked. The schools played five times last season with the Storm taking all five. In games not against St. Luke’s in 2015-16, GFA went 14-6.
The schools face one another Dec. 6 in an early-season showdown. The Dragons visit Hyde (Maine) to open the season Dec. 3, and the schedule is littered with a number of prep school powers.
“Our goal is to get better this week, and get better next week,” Scott said. “The cool thing about this team is that it’s a bunch of guys with great attitudes, so it’s just fun coming to the gym. You see they’re getting better every day because they’re coachable.”