Wichita State may be a late arrival to the recruitment of 2018 prospect Aguek Arop, but the Shockers have made the final cut for the 6-foot-6 forward from South Sudan who could be the final piece to this year's recruiting class.
Arop was originally committed to Nebraska, as he was an in-state star and led Omaha South to back-to-back state championships. But the Huskers pulled his scholarship and Arop decided to reclassify to 2018 and play a post-graduate year at The-Skill-Factory in Woodstock, Ga., where he averaged 21 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists.
According to his coach, Rob Johnson, Arop has narrowed his choices down to San Diego State, Texas, and Wichita State and plans to use his final three official visits to those programs. As of this weekend, Arop's official visit to Wichita is yet to be scheduled.
"The first thing he mentioned to me about Wichita State was the crowd," Robinson told the Eagle. "He said, 'Man, I would love to play in front of a crowd like that.' So now it's just a matter of how much of a fit it is with Wichita State and making sure he feels comfortable on the court and in the classroom wherever he ends up."
Wichita State appears to have several options to fill its final scholarship for its 2018 recruiting class. The Shockers played host to 6-foot-10 prospect Abdou Ndiaye on Thursday and Friday and are scheduled to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi grad transfer Ehab Amin next week.
But Arop is another high-ceiling player who could help the Shockers return to their defensive roots under coach Gregg Marshall.
"Aguek is a defensive player at his core," Robinson said. "He's got a 7-1 wingspan and he's thick. He probably walks around at 220. He's a great rim protector and very versatile defensively. He's a guy who can guard every position on the court, 1 through 5. But what makes him special is that on top of being a defensive-minded player, he's really good on offense as well."
Marshall has stated in the past that he likes recruiting kids who are used to winning, and Arop certainly fits the bill. He had a standout prep career in Nebraska and followed it up by leading The-Skill-Factory to a 44-6 record this season against some of the top competition in the country.
Arop also fits into the overall theme of Marshall's recruiting class, which has been an upgrade on athleticism and versatility heading into WSU's second season in the American Athletic Conference.
"You can plug Aguek into any lineup because he's got those long arms and he's a really good rebounder," Robinson said. "You can go small and play him at the 4 or he can shift down and play at the 3 because he shoots it well and he runs the floor and can guard other 3s.
"I think he's somebody who can step onto the court as a freshman and play immediately. He's used to winning and he's used to being good at every level."
Robinson said Wichita State assistant coach Kyle Lindsted reached out to him about Arop at the start of the season, but WSU's interest has increased lately.
Arop has some familiarity with a few of WSU's incoming players, as he played against Isaiah Poor Bear Chandler in high school in Nebraska and he also faced Dexter Dennis this past season at the post-grad level.
"He was excited when I told him that WSU had interest in him," Robinson said. "He has a lot of respect for those guys and he knows the level of kids they're bringing in this year. We're excited to see where it goes from here."