April 18, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger announced Thursday that junior college big man Edson Avila has signed a National Letter of Intent with the Sooners and will join the OU program for the 2013-14 season.
Avila (pronounced ah-VEE-la) is a 6-10, 225-pound sophomore at Seward County (Kan.) Community College who earned first-team all-region honors this past season after averaging 11.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 blocked shots and 1.0 assist per game while shooting .580 from the field. He helped the Saints to a 25-8 record after they went 31-7 and finished third in the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament his freshman season. Both squads won the Jayhawk Conference's West Division.
Avila started all 30 games in which he played as a sophomore and scored in double figures 20 times. He recorded four double-doubles on the season, including a 24-point, 11-rebound effort against Colby Community College.
Originally from the Bronx in New York City, Avila was an AAU teammate of OU sophomore-to-be Isaiah Cousins for a year in high school. Cousins hails from Mount Vernon, N.Y.
The Sooners are coming off a 20-12 season in which they went 11-7 in the Big 12 and tied for fourth place. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd time in the last 31 years.
OU HEAD COACH LON KRUGER ON AVILA:
"Edson is a mobile athlete who has a good feel on both ends of the floor. He'll impact our club right away and fit in perfectly. He's got great awareness defensively and will do whatever he can to help his teammates on that end of the floor be better. Edson brings a great work ethic, enthusiasm and a team-first attitude, and is the type of player you love to have in your program. We're excited he's a Sooner."
SEWARD COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE HEAD COACH BRYAN ZOLLINGER ON AVILA:
"He runs the floor well, is real active defensively and is a high-energy guy. He has improved a lot offensively and was a good force for us this year, but he's still developing on that end of the floor. He hits some occasional 15-foot jumpers from the short corner or free throw line area, but he scores a lot more off of post-ups, pick-and-rolls, offensive putbacks and in transition.
"In the two years he was with us, one of the things that made him valuable defensively is that he does a good job of getting in a stance and moving his feet despite him being 6-10. He can switch -- help on a guard on ball screens -- whenever it's necessary and keep guys in front of him. He's physical in the post and is real long-armed, so he can change shots just by walling up; he doesn't need to be jumping and doesn't get into foul trouble all the time. He's a very good team defender. He can guard his guy and help on others. He rotates well.
"He's been one of, if not the most, popular kids on campus over the last two years. He's a very outgoing, happy-go-lucky, gregarious kid. He's kind of a showman and is really good at getting the crowd involved."