Special from Phenom Hoop Report. Phenom Hoop Report is known as the top 
scouting service in North Carolina. For subscription inquiries; contact rlewis57@gmail.com

September 13th, 2010
Phenom Quote of the Day: “The more you know, the less you need to say.”

Phenom Hoop Report Philosophy: “Balanced, thorough, and detailed evaluations based upon the 3 P’s philosophy of Performance, Production, and Potential. “

Phenom Hoop Report had the pleasure of conducting an exclusive interview with 6’9 senior Adjehi Baru and his father Tim Branin. That being said, before we start let’s look at the write up on Adjehi Baru from the Phenom Hoop Report December 14th, 2009 report. 

Phenom Hoop Report: December 14th, 2009

My feature player today is 6’9 Adjehi Baru of Richmond, Virginia.  Baru has only been in the USA for approximately two years, but the people in the Washington, DC and Maryland area had tried to keep this young man a big secret.  Baru attends the Steward School in Richmond and his teammate 6’1 Patrick Branin are the 1-2 punch for Steward.  Baru is currently averaging 13.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 5 Block Shots per game.  Unfortunately, the school is in a very weak conference and the competition is not very tough.  That being said, he plays about half the game.  In addition, the team runs a Princeton style offense and the Flex, which takes away the strength of Baru.
Player: 6’9 Adjehi Baru
School: Steward School
City, Richmond, VA
Class: 2011

The 6’9 Adjehi Baru will be a name everyone will be quite familiar with next summer.  Last summer, it was the name of Justin Coleman that skyrocketed up the ranking for Coach Ty White of the Petersburg Elite.  This coming summer, 6’9 Adjehi Baru will be running with Coach Ty White and TEAM LOADED.  Joining Team Loaded will be 6’5 Andrew White, 6’8 Jackson Simmons and 5’11 PG Tyler Lewis from the Carolina Flight along with 6’1 sharpshooter Patrick Branin.  Branin is low D1 to high D2 prospect, but is an excellent 3 point shooter.  The most impressive statistic about Baru is his enormous size, strength and athleticism.  At 6’9, Baru weighs 238 pounds and has a 7’4 wingspan. More importantly, Baru has a 9’4 reach and an impressive 35 inch vertical.  In speaking with his host family representative, Tim Branin, Baru carried a 2.9 GPA and is wide open in his college recruitment.  If there is a favorite at the moment, it appears to be the University of Maryland.  Look for big things from Baru on the summer circuit and don’t be surprised if he’s not the hottest name in the 2011 class for uncommitted players.

“Clearing the air”
9-12-10 Interview with Adjehi Baru

While many young top prospects enjoy the “limelight” and “hype,” it is evident that the 6’9 Adjehi Baru lives by the motto “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.” In addition, with the ever improving prospect he totally understands “actions speak louder than words.”  When Adjehi Baru first came to the United States via the Ivory Coast, he was just learning the English language and was making a huge adjustment both socially and in academics. One has to think how difficult it must be coming to a new country and trying to overcome the language barrier, but Adjehi Baru is no ordinary young man. Adjehi is a quick learner, both in the classroom and on the basketball court. Today,
Adjehi sports a 3.54 GPA at the Steward School in Richmond, VA. The Steward School is a small private school where academics take a high priority.

Currently, Adjehi stands 6’9 in bare feet and has an enormous 7’5 wingspan. In addition, he has a 9’4 reach and an impressive 35” vertical jump.  At the NBA Player’s camp in June, Adjehi stepped onto the scales at a modest 214 pounds, but now checks in at a more muscular weight of 222 pounds. After a successful spring and summer outing with Team Loaded, Phenom Hoop Report has Adjehi as a top 20 prospect nationally in the 2011 class. (#18 nationally to be exact) Adjehi Baru and Team Loaded surprised everyone when it won the prestigious Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest and by defeating other nationally ranked programs such as CP3 and Ohio Basketball Club. After watching Adjehi in many early season tournaments, it was crystal clear there was not a more agile and athletic 6’9 player in the country and he became a crowd favorite with his athleticism, high intensity level and high motor. Adjehi simply played the game hard and gave 100% effort each and every game. 

During the early April and May evaluation period, Adjehi averaged slightly less than 10 points per game with the majority of his points coming off transition via alley oop passes along with hustle points around the basket. The majority of experts loved his intensity and high energy level that was evident early and often, and no one in the 2011 class ran the floor harder and faster than Adjehi! While Adjehi excelled in the transition game, some still maintained his raw offensive skill set a liability. While his offensive skill set was a work in progress, it was no doubt that his offensive development and improvement was noticeable after each tournament. With the help of his dad Tim Branin, he provided Adjehi the resources for improvement. Since his high school season ended in February, Adjehi along with his two brothers Timmy and Pat have been working out daily with strength trainer Bob Blanton of Total Training in Richmond, Virgina and David Anderson, owner of Foundation Basketball. Tim Branin provided Adjehi the opportunity to train relentlessly on a daily basis while maintaining a balance in the classroom. Since February, it was not unusual for Adjehi and his brothers (Pat & Timmy) to take 500-1000 shots daily at a neighbor’s gym along with the strength training from Bob Blanton and ball handling skill work from David Anderson. 

In addition, Adjehi was getting constant guidance from his dad on vertamax training at the home exercise fitness room. While Adjehi was a “work in progress,” his improvement was noticed every game on the court. Simply put, Adjehi was getting better each tournament and actually was getting stronger as the tournament went on.  While the majority of players were wearing down after a 5-7 game weekend tournament, Adjehi was at his best on the final day. It was no secret that the intense training regimen was paying tremendous dividends on the court. Adjehi’s relentless motor was still going strong and many people thought he might be the new spokesman for the “Energizer Bunny.” When Team Loaded walked away with the trophy at the Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest, scouting services started to take notice. After the Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest, Adjehi Baru and Team Loaded was a major impact team at every single event!  In addition, Adjehi Baru was named All Tournament in every single tournament. ( Pitt Hoop Group, Hoop Group Southern Invitational, Bob Gibbons, Big Shots I & II, Peach  State, Fab 48 and Duel in the Desert)

By the start of the summer, Adjehi became a household name in the recruiting circles and among the college ranks of all major schools in the country, especially with a class that was lacking quality big men. But let’s be honest, with Adjehi we weren’t talking about any average big man. We were talking about active, agile, athletic big man that was oozing with upside and potential, but more importantly it was difficult to find anyone on any level that could match his high energy level and intense playing style. In addition, Adjehi’s offensive skill sets were drastically improving as well. Remember, I said earlier that Adjehi is a quick learner in the classroom and on the basketball court, plus he has a determination and mindset to improve and get better. Simply put, he wants to become the best! During the early July evaluation period, Team Loaded played in 4 back to back tournaments in a 10 day period. During this period, Adjehi averaged a double double in points and rebounds while scoring 10.1 PPG. Now, Adjehi was developing an all around offensive game and was developing a nice looking jumper 15-20 feet from the basket and was developing a few “go to moves” on the low block and was doing an exceptional job of making an “outside pivot” for his face up jumper that was reminiscence of former Boston Celtic great Robert “The Chief” Parrish with his high release point on his jumper. In the championship game at the Myrtle Beach Big Shots Tournament vs. Florida Assault, Adjehi tallied a team high 18 points and it was from that point that the transformation into a legitimate scoring big man had occurred. While he still has a ways to go in terms of a “polished product,” the evolution of Adjehi’s offensive game was developing. While Adjehi had the reputation of running the floor in transition, he was also learning to put the ball on the floor when needed and was always making a beautiful outlet pass to start the transition fast break. In addition, Adjehi passing ability is one area of his game that is often overlooked and he may have been the team’s second leading assist man. 

During the second half of the July evaluation period, Team Loaded traveled to Las Vegas to play in the Inaugural Fab 48 tournament and then to the Duel in the Desert in Phoenix, Arizona. While the competition was fierce and impressive, so was the overall development of Adjehi’s game as he averaged 14.6 PPG in the final two tournaments. And before we forget, he was doing it against the likes of teams like Team Detroit, California Supreme, Belmont Shores, Louisiana Elite, Terry Porter All Stars, Team Philly, and the New England Playaz. To make a long story short, Team Loaded finished with an impressive 8-2 record and now the unknown Adjehi Baru that was first written about back in the December 14th, 2009 issue Phenom Hoop Report had become one of the hottest prospects in the country. After a heartbreaking 2 point loss to the New England Playaz, Team Loaded played Team 94 of California in the 3rd place consolation game and easily won with Adjehi Baru playing by far his most complete game of the summer by tallying a game high 21 points. Recently, one of my Phenom Hoop Report’s quotes of the day was the following: “Not enough emphasis in recruiting is placed on winning!  Do you win and make your team better relative to overall talent level?  Under achievers usually stay that way at the next level, the same can be said for those that maximize their talent to make their team better. Winning guys don’t change” This statement could have easily been written about Adjehi Baru. He simply plays the game to win and all the coaches in attendance on the final game of the final day of the summer walked away totally impressed with the passion and purpose displayed by an ever improving Adjehi Baru. After a gruesome July schedule where Team Loaded played over 25 games, Adjehi and Team Loaded played the consolation game like it was for “The Championship.” In reality, it was for a championship. It was a championship game that defined the term “winners.”

While the information coming from the Adjehi camp has been limited, the schools that have been heavily involved in the process have known for some time. In our interview with Adjehi and Tim Branin, this is what Phenom Hoop Report has learned. 

Phenom Hoop Report: “Adjehi, have you narrowed down the list of schools, and if so, what are they?”
Adjehi: “Yes coach, I have narrowed down the list to the five schools listed in alphabetical order, College of Charleston, North Carolina, Maryland, Virgina Tech, and Southern California”

Phenom Hoop Report: “When did you make up your mind?”
Adjehi: “I’ve known for some time coach, since late July, but wanted you to put it out there to clear up any misinformation or confusion.”

Phenom Hoop Report: “As of today, do you have any in home visits set up?”
Adjehi: “Yes sir, College of Charleston was the first school with the in home visiting me and my family Thursday, September 9th. North Carolina is coming to our house Monday, September 13th; Virginia Tech is September 16th; Maryland is September 22nd; and Southern California hasn’t been set yet.”

Phenom Hoop Report: “Have you set up official visits yet and if so, what are they?”
Adjehi: “I will visit Charleston September 24-25th; Maryland is October 22-23rd ; Virginia Tech is October 15-16th; North Carolina is October 29-30th; and Southern California has not been set up yet.”

Phenom Hoop Report: “Do you have a favorite school at this time?”
Adjehi: “No sir, I have no favorites.   I’m going to listen to every coach and visit each school before I form an opinion and make a decision.”

Phenom Hoop Report: “Will you sign early?”
Adjehi: “I don’t know. I want to get to know each coach and watch them play this year. I’m in no hurry.”

Phenom Hoop Report: “You’ve come a long way since I first saw you play for Team Loaded. What has been the most important thing to you?”
Adjehi: “My family, dad has provided the opportunity. He has worked with me and has people training me. Also, I want to thank Coach Ty White. He allowed me to play in a relaxed atmosphere that helped maximize my work.”

Phenom Hoop: “What are your short term and long term goals?”
Adjehi: “I want to continue to work hard in school and graduate with honors if possible. In basketball, my goals are too hopefully with Pat and now as Timmy as a rising freshman who is a Reebok top 50 player in his perspective grade to go undefeated in high school. Another basketball goal is to average a triple double this season. 

Phenom Hoop Report: What are your long term goals?
Adjehi: “My ultimate goal is to get to the NBA.”

In closing, the recruitment for Adjehi Baru will be up for grabs with 5 schools in contention. (College of Charleston, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Southern California) One thing is for certain; Adjehi and his family will have in home visits from each perspective coach and will also take an official visit to each school. Right now, he has no favorites and it will be relationship he develops over the next few months that will determine the school of his choice. 

Adjehi Baru Phenom Hoop Report Interview