WESTPORT, Conn. – Greens Farms Academy senior Sean Obi could have gone just about anywhere to continue his basketball career, but the Greenwich resident will call Rice University in Texas his basketball home starting next fall.
“I had a good discussion with my family, and I think it’s the best opportunity for me,’’ said Obi, a native of Nigeria. “It’s a good balance between academics and basketball. I fell in love with the coaches, and that was a big factor. I saw the campus and the people, and they were very loving. I got along with them very well. It’s a good opportunity to play in Conference USA.”
Obi, a 6-foot, 9-inch center, averaged 18.2 points and 20.0 rebounds per game last year for Greens Farms, leading the Dragons to an 18-5 record. He has lived in Greenwich with the family of GFA teammate Hunter Eggers since coming from Nigeria in 2010.
Rice finished 19-16 last year under coach Ben Braun, the school’s first winning season since 2004-05. The Ivy League schools showed interest in Obi, but Rice came into the picture in late summer and recruited him heavily.
“He’s in a very good academic school, and that pulls a lot of weight,’’ Greens Farms coach Doug Scott said. “Houston has a huge Nigerian population as well, and he wants to major in business. I think it’s perfect. It’s really about education, and Rice is one of the top 20 universities in the country.”
One of Obi’s objectives at Greens Farms was to land a basketball scholarship. Now he can focus on the season, which begins Monday against St. Luke’s, and not have pressure to impress college recruiters this winter.
“Getting a scholarship was a goal, but I didn’t go crazy,’’ Obi said. “I just played basketball because I loved it. I just focused on getting better every day. I’m very fortunate, it’s a great opportunity for me. I wish everyone could get the opportunity that I have.”