April 18, 2002
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
University of Wyoming head basketball coach Steve McClain announced today the signing of Omoniyi Makun (Pronounced: oh-MON-ee muh-KUN) of Vincennes (Ind.) Community College to a national letter of intent.
Makun is a 6-8, 215-pound power forward. A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Makun averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots this past season. He was the only player on his Vincennes team to start all 32 games as a sophomore. He led the team in blocked shots (68) and steals (41), and ranked second in rebounds (193) and field-goal percentage (.523). Makun goes by the nickname of Niyi (pronounced NEE). Makun scored in double figures in 16 games during his sophomore season, and was selected his team's Defensive Most Valuable Player. As a freshman, he averaged 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, while starting 28 of 31 games. Over his two seasons at Vincennes, he helped lead the Trailblazers to a 47-16 (.746) record.
Vincennes posted a 21-11 record during the 2001-02 season. The Trailblazers advanced to the Region 12 Championship Game before losing to Schoolcraft Community College by a score of 62-72. Schoolcraft went on to place third at the National Junior College Athletic Association Championship in Hutchinson, Kan. Vincennes was one of the nation's top defensive teams, allowing opponents only 73.8 points per game to rank No. 24 in the nation in points allowed.
"There has been a lot of speculation on who we were going to sign, and why," said Wyoming head coach Steve McClain. "Niyi (Makun) is exactly the type of player we have been looking for. He is a very physical player. He showed maturity, defensively, in junior college. He is an outstanding shot blocker, and that is something we were looking for after losing two outstanding shot blockers in Josh Davis and Ronell Mingo. I like the fact that he comes from a quality program -- one that has been very successful. He knows how to win.
"Offensively, Niyi is capable of putting up bigger numbers than he did in junior college, but he doesn't have to score to be happy. I like the way he finishes around the goal. Everyone loved his attitude on his visit. I knew he was the one I wanted, and I could tell our players liked him too. He was the best fit of those players we had narrowed down to sign.
"Niyi is an excellent student. He is going to major in engineering, and our engineering college is one of the things that really sold him on Wyoming."
Makun played for head coach Dan Sparks at Vincennes. Sparks was also very complimentary of Makun's game.
"Omoniyi has done a really nice job for us the past two seasons," said Sparks. "He is a very good defender, shot blocker and is an extremely hard worker. Omoniyi has a real strong body."
Sparks also coached former UNLV and current NBA players Shawn Marion and Tyrone Nesby at Vincennes Community College. When asked how he thought Makun would adjust to playing at the Division I level, Sparks had this to say. "Omoniyi is a lot stronger than both those guys. He doesn't possess the kind of offensive game that either Shawn or Tyrone did, but defensively, he is a better player than either of them."
Jerry Mullen of Mullen's Roundball Review, one of the top recruiting services in the nation, said that Wyoming found an excellent fit in Makun.
"Omoniyi (Makun) is a big man with very good skills, and is a top quality defensive player," said Mullen. "He can also shoot the 16-18 foot jumper, and he can also put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket. I think he fits Wyoming's style of play very well."
Makun was also recruited by UTEP, Wisconsin, Idaho and Central Florida. He attended high school at Ikija High School in Lagos, Nigeria.
Omoniyi Makun's 2001-02 Statistics TOT REB TOT PTS G/GS FG-FGA/FG% 3-PT./FG% FT-FTA/FT% OR DR REB AVG A TO BL ST PTS AVG'01-'02 32/32 102-195/.523 14-39/.359 67-98/.684 46 147 193 6.0 59 97 68 41 285 8.9