Photo by Heather Middleton
By Derrick Mahone
Just before 6 p.m. on Friday, Lovejoy junior Justin Tuoyo made one of the biggest decisions of his young life.
The 6-foot-9 all-state center decided that he would like to play his college basketball at Virginia Commonwealth University, which reached the NCAA Final Four this past season.
Tuoyo, who was at the Richmond school for a visit, committed to play there Friday evening.
"Just committed to VCU," Tuoyo posted on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
This was Tuoyo's first visit to the campus.
"I've been talking to my mom and AAU coach about VCU being my top choice," Tuoyo said from Richmond via cellphone. "I really liked the campus, and the chemistry was good with the coaches. I'm 100 percent sure I will sign with them."
He said he plans to visit the campus three more times, including attending a camp next month.
"I was thinking about taking some more visits, but I think I'm done," he said.
He becomes the first basketball player from the area to commit. Two weeks ago, Union Grove football player D.J. White committed to South Florida.
All commitments are non-binding and players are free to change their mind. Basketball players can sign in either November or April 2012 with football signing day February 1, 2012.
Rated one of the top big men in the 2012 class, Tuoyo had narrowed his choices to VCU, Memphis, UCF, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
He said Tech hadn't offered, but was pretty sure that one was coming very soon.
"I've spoken with the coaches, and they said they liked what they saw," Tuoyo said. "I think an offer was going to be made."
He averaged 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots last season in helping the Wildcats reach the quarterfinals of the Class AAAA playoffs.
He said earlier this week that he was only going to make official visits to colleges that offered.
Tuoyo, who is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals. com, is not the only Southern Crescent player who is garnering attention from colleges this spring.
North Clayton standout guard/forward Marcus Hunt continued to receive official offers this week.
Hunt made an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech Thursday evening, and then picked up an official offer from Memphis Friday. The 6-foot-5 all-state player holds several offers, including one from VCU.
Georgia and Georgia State have also offered Hunt, who has been impressing coaches and recruiting services this spring.
His father, Willie Hunt, said by text Friday, that they haven't ruled out any schools from their growing list.
Virginia Tech became the latest school to offer Union Grove standout
Charles Mann, who also holds offers from NCAA champion UConn along with Georgia Tech and Georiga. He now has 15 college offers.