The recruitment of Willy Kouassi and Bernard Morena has heated up significantly.
The pair, dubbed the "Dynamic Duo" by their AAU coach and guardian, Darien Knox, have taken the summer AAU circuit by storm, rising from virtual obscurity to being a pair of highly coveted prospects.
Kouassi, a near-seven foot center, holds offers from Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas, Arkansas-Little Rock, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Missouri, Murray State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee State, Texas-El Paso, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and Western Kentucky. Scores more schools have inquired with Arizona State, Florida, Georgetown, Iowa State, Tulsa, Virginia, and Xavier showing the strongest interest among non-offering schools.
Morena, a 6'6" small forward, has been offered by Alabama-Birmingham, Arkansas, Arkansas-Little Rock, Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Murray State, Nebraska, North Florida, Ole Miss, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Tennessee State, Tulane, Vanderbilt, and Western Kentucky, He's also being evaluated by Arizona State, Florida, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Maryland, Memphis, Missouri, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Tulsa, Wake Forest, Virginia, and Xavier.
It is important to pay careful attention to the schools that show up on both young men's list of offers; Knox and the boys remain firm that a school must take both of them--not that having them both would be a bad thing.
"Yes, we're firm on this: they are a package deal," Knox confirmed for me once again over the weekend.
Kouassi, in particular, created a palpable buzz at the recently completed Memphis Showcase, run by Ernie Kuyper and Team M33M. "Big Will," as Knox calls him, was a shot-blocking, slam-dunking machine. Every time he scored, it was an emphatic two-handed flush, including a scintillating 360-degree spin followed by a thunderous jam over a defender during a five-on-five game versus Adonis Thomas and his squad.
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