Former Whitney Young Dolphin,
Najeeb Echols lines up for a free-throw
Najeeb Echols will officially be attending Class A's Chicago Leo High School come tomorrow morning.
"I haven't gotten a chance to see a lot of the team [at Leo] but I'm sure we'll be fine," said Echols. "From what I have seen they look pretty good."
With Leo annually being a contender in the Class A race, they have just boosted their chances greatly with the addition of the 6'6" Echols.
Formerly of Whitney Young High School, a magnet school in on the West side of Chicago, Najeeb contributed to Young's Class AA state title in '98 as a part time starter as a freshman.
"Our goals haven't changed because of him leaving. We will be alright, we'll just have to work harder."
With conflicting reports as to why he decided to transfer to the Chicago Catholic League school there have been rumors abroad that it had to do with Young Coach, Lamont Bryant.
Najeeb's former Young teammate, 6'5" wing guard Ronald Howard, puts those rumors to rest by saying that Coach Bryant is a very good guy and has always had Najeeb's back on anything. Howard continues to say that if he did transfer for that reason then he doesn't know why that would be.
Coming out of the blue with this decision, not many would have predicted it. "I first heard about it through a rumor. I didn't hear it from him, so I didn't know what was going on. I ended up reading it in the paper," said a confused Howard.
With a cast full of talented players, this doesn't signify a death in Whitney Young basketball by any means. Young has played during this and last year's summers for the most part without the services of Echols for unspecified reasons. Even so they continued to achieve much success in winning and finishing high in many top-notch tournaments.
"Our goals haven't changed because of him leaving. We will be alright, we'll just have to work harder," said Howard who lists Depaul, Cincinnati, Michigan, Marquette, Tulane, Xavier, Valparaiso, St. Louis as all showing serious interest, with the later five universities having all offered.
Howard and his former Young teammates wish Najeeb well, as Howard said he hopes that he is making this decision for all the good reasons and not the bad ones.
With Leo being close to his Grandmother's house, Najeeb seems content about his decision.
"I feel there is a legitimate chance at us getting a Class A title this year at Leo," said Echols.
With top juniors forwards 6'6" Chris Burras and 6'5" Spencer Carter, Leo looks ready to make a serious run against other Chicago Class A powers St. Mel and Westmont.
With all of this excitement about his transfer, Najeeb is still trying to find time for his recruiting which looks to be heating up.
Narrowing his list down to four schools, Houston, Illinois, Missouri and Michigan State, he has already unofficially visited Illinois and Michigan State. He plans on taking official visits to all four schools and will make a decision in the early signing period in November.
"They all made me a priority. I'll be able to come right in and make an impact and they will let me play a position that I like to play [point guard]," said Echols about what sets those schools apart from the rest.
With whole new surrounds to get adjusted to at Leo, Najeeb is set to take on any challenges that come his way and ready for anything that lies ahead in the future.
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