Chisom Okpara, a small forward out of national powerhouse La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana, announced his top six on Tuesday, and Pitt made the cut, as did Harvard, Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State and Washington.
Top 6 pic.twitter.com/2twrRp7rhZ— Chisom (@chizokpara) August 17, 2021
The 6’7”, 215-pound prospect has accrued 18 offers during his recruitment and cut a dozen programs from contention with the reveal of his finalists on Tuesday. The 12 programs cut included Brown, Bryant, DePaul, East Carolina, Howard, Iona, Ole Miss, Providence, Seton Hall, UMass, Xavier and Yale.
Okpara holds a four-star rating from Rivals, which ranks him as the No. 99 recruit in the 2022 class as well as the No. 28 small forward. ESPN concurs with the four-star rating and places Okpara at No. 83 in its ESPN 100 list for the 2022 class as well as No. 12 among power forwards. The lone dissenting opinion on Okpara comes from 247Sports, which gives him three stars and places him at No. 134 nationally and No. 24 among power forwards.
As the list of finalists suggests, academics are an important aspect of Okpara’s recruitment, and the prospect said as much while discussing what he was looking for in a program earlier this year.
“I want a good school with good academics, a good campus and great basketball,” Okpara told Dushawn London of 247Sports back in April. “I also want a team where I can get in transition. But if we need to run a set, that’s fine. On defense, I want to play a lot of man.”
In addition to a good academic reputation that helped in landing similarly inclined recruit William Jeffress back in 2020, Pitt also has a familiar face to offer Okpara, who has ties to Pitt associate head coach Tim O’Toole through his son Jameson O'Toole, an AAU teammate.
“I played with Coach O’Toole’s son,” Okpara told 247Sports. “Him and his family have been great, really helped me out a lot, and give me advice to stay positive. Like when I had COVID, he helped me stay positive, saying he knew that I would come back stronger than ever.”
As for what Okpara offers Pitt, he is known for his toughness as a rebounder and in attacking the rim, as he gets to the free-throw line frequently. His coaches have also noted that he isn’t a selfish player, as he looks to make plays with assists. But he is more than capable of finishing plays on his own both by driving to the basket and by using his range to occasionally knock down jump shots from beyond the arc.
During his junior season at La Lumiere, Okpara averaged 11.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game over 14 games. That was down a bit from his sophomore season, which he played at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont. With the New England school, Okpara averaged 16 points and five rebounds per game. However, the fact that he still managed to put up solid numbers against stiffer competition is a promising sign.
At this point, Okpara has yet to set an exact decision date. However, he recently noted that he plans to announce his next destination at some point in September or October.