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PF 11 Uche Echefu (Montrose Christian School) Rockville, MD 6-8/220/18.0 05/16/2005 Florida State

SF 18 Casaan Breeden (Marlboro County HS) Bennettsville, SC 6-8/185/16.0 Signed Letter of Intent on 10/26/2004 Florida State

PF 22 Ryan Reid (Boyd H. Anderson HS) Lauderdale Lakes, FL 6-7/215 Signed Letter of Intent on 09/28/2004 Florida State


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Quote:6-Foot-9 Power Forward Picks FSU Over UNC

By DOUG CARLSON The Tampa Tribune
Published: May 17, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - Basketball victories in general, and wins against mighty North Carolina in particular, have been rare for Florida State in recent years.
But the Seminoles scored a surprising win along the recruiting trail Monday with potential to be a turning point in Leonard Hamilton's effort to revive a struggling program.

Power forward Uche Echefu, of Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md., signed to play his college ball at Florida State, a stunning decision in light of the fact that he chose the Seminoles over reigning national champion North Carolina.

Those kinds of head-to- head recruiting triumphs have been nonexistent since the Seminoles joined the ACC in 1992.

The news is all the more surprising considering the Tar Heels have lost their top six scorers from the 2005 season due to graduation and the early departure to the NBA of center Sean May, forward Marvin Williams, shooting guard Rashad McCants and point guard Raymond Felton.

Echefu, a 6-foot-9, 230- pound native of Nigeria, has the makings of a player who can make a difference for Hamilton, who is 45-48 in three seasons at FSU, including a 12-19 mark last season. The Seminoles haven't been invited to the NCAA Tournament since 1998.

``Uche has very good speed and quickness, shoots the ball well from the perimeter and has a very effective post game,'' Hamilton said in a statement released by FSU. ``We feel that his versatility will allow him to fit very well into our offensive and defensive systems.''

Echefu, whose parents remain in Lagos, Nigeria, said his relationship with Hamilton and his staff was the difference. He had earlier eliminated Duke, Kentucky, Michigan and Maryland, among others, before choosing the Seminoles over the Tar Heels.

``They have been with me the longest, I have a good relationship with [Hamilton] and the staff, and it's just a place where I felt the most comfortable,'' said Echefu, who averaged 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds as a senior, when he was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Maryland.

Though he has played organized basketball only three years, he is rated the No. 2 center prospect in the country by Rivals recruiting service and the No. 11 power forward prospect by Scout.com.

Echefu, who likely will line up alongside FSU junior center Alexander Johnson next season, is the third signee for next year's incoming class. In November the 'Noles signed forwards Casaan Breeden (Bennettsville, S.C.) and Ryan Reid (Lauderdale Lakes).


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