Chisom Okpara, the nearly 6’8” La Lumiere (IN) prospect, committed to Harvard University today over five other power conference finalists. The New York native provides the Crimson with a high-motor hybrid-forward and a versatile defender, who can guard the three through five on switches. The honor roll student is a plus shot-blocker, who should complement Harvard’s returning talent well. Long-term, he’ll continue to work on tightening his ball-handling and become a more consistent perimeter shooter, as he looks to transition to a pure small forward. For Coach Amaker, the timing of landing his top target in the class of 2022 this early in the process means the staff can quickly reallocate their time to focus on surrounding Chisom Okpara, the son of a Morgan Stanley executive, with quality pieces to help maintain their relative dominance over the Ivy League throughout the past decade.
La Lumiere head coach Pat Holmes said of Okpara, “We couldn’t be more excited for Chisom and his family as he commits to Harvard. Chisom is a versatile forward who has the ability to impact the game in a multitude of ways. His playmaking ability and competitive drive will fit in seamlessly with the culture and style of play Coach Amaker has established during his tenure at Harvard.”
Chisom spoke with Pro Insight’s Jake Lieberman about his decision:
Pro Insight: What was it about the visit that made you realize Harvard was the right place for you?
Chisom Okpara: In addition to all the positives I already knew about the coach and coaching staff and the educational level, in my interaction and open run with the team, I was pleased with the high quality and depth of the players — very smart, dedicated and skilled players with a lot of diversity. The chemistry on the team is more than I've seen elsewhere. Also, walking the campus by myself, attending a few classes, it felt natural, it felt right, it felt good.
PI: How does the staff plan on playing you in their system?
CO: They plan on utilizing my versatility, size, strength and speed. They compared me in videos to the best players the program has had — I’ll have the ability to guard and play multiple positions, and I’ll bring a strong defensive mindset and prolific rebounding on both ends along with the ability to slash and score or create opportunities and shoot it from outside. So they plan to use me in different positions, depending on the situation. My lateral quickness will be an asset on both ends, as well.
PI: What do you hope to bring to the program?
CO: Overall, I plan to bring even more positive energy to a program that is deep and getting deeper every year, even though underrated because of their league. Harvard is the number-one school in the world, but in basketball, the secret is that it's a very high major basketball program in the Ivy league. I plan to shine a light on that by helping my team win a lot — doing whatever it takes.
PI: What will you be working on this year at La Lumiere?
CO: Moving better without the ball, taking advantage of those offensive rebounds and put backs and increasing the consistency of my outside shooting, which has improved a lot, but I want to take it to the next level.