LOUDONVILLE – It took one trip to Siena’s campus to sell Michael Ojo on becoming a future Saint.
Ojo, a 6-foot-8 forward from Virginia Beach, Virginia, became the first player to join Siena men’s basketball’s 2023 recruiting class when he made his verbal commitment to head coach Carmen Maciariello’s program on Tuesday.
“I finally got a chance to visit this past weekend,” Ojo said in a phone interview. “It was a great experience. I got to meet all the coaching the staff, the players, and I felt that it was a really great fit for me. So, I decided to commit.”
Ojo was recruited by Siena assistant coach Darius Theus, a fellow Virginia native who has a longstanding relationship with the coaching staff at Princess Anne High School, the school Ojo attended until transferring to Moravian Prep in Atlanta for his senior season.
Ojo said Theus, who joined Siena’s staff in May, had been recruiting him since his time as the director of player development at Virginia Commonwealth, a role the VCU alum served in for four seasons before coming to Loudonville this offseason.
“Coach Darius recruited me for maybe a year-and-a-half, two years now,” Ojo said.
Ojo received his offer from Siena in September after the Saints’ staff saw him play for the Boo Williams AAU team.
The forward ultimately chose the Saints over an offer closer to home from Norfolk State.
Ojo’s personal connection with Theus went a long way toward sealing the deal.
“He came down to a couple of our practices and I got to see him,” Ojo said. “Especially knowing that he’s friends with my old high school coach, that’s great to know.”
Ojo’s older sister, Michelle, is also a Division I basketball player on the women’s team at Delaware.
As for Michael Ojo, he’s grown four inches over the last two years, has a 6-foot-9 wingspan and says he brings a tireless work ethic to the floor.
“I work hard. I’m always spending extra hours in the gym to make sure I’m ready,” Ojo said. “At Siena, I’m going to do anything they need me to do — whether it’s rebounding, defense, if it’s scoring. I’m ready to do anything that I need to do.”
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