Drexel men’s basketball got its second 2019 commit when Mate Okros signed his National Letter of Intent earlier today. The 6’‐6” shooting guard from Debrecen, Hungary joins TJ Bickerstaff, a 6’8” wing from Georgia, in Drexel’s 2019 recruiting class. Bickerstaff, who verbally committed to Drexel in late September, also signed with the team today during the early signing period, which began on Wednesday,November 14th. For you Drexel diehards, Debrecen, Hungary is approximately 4,000 miles southeast of Iceland.
Okros, who currently plays for the Myerscough Basketball Academy in Preston, England visited Drexel, University of California – Santa Barbara, and University of Texas at San Antonio earlier this month before making his decision. He also indicated in an August interview that he had interest from Georgia Tech and Princeton. In a recent Myerscough game against London Westside, Okros poured in 22 points in 20 minutes on 10 of 13 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 5 assists. His coach said “he shoots the ball at such a high level that it opens up other areas of the game for himself, but also his teammates’.
This summer he participated in the Deng Top 50 Camp, created by former NBA big man Luol Deng, and was ranked#1 at the end of camp as the top U19 player in the United Kingdom. He continues to retain that ranking, which will be updated throughout the year. At the camp he was touted as a high IQ player with tools to score. Luol Deng nicknamed him “AK47” at the camp and his camp coach said he was extremely consistent, played great defensively, made outstanding plays from the perimeter and was very coachable.
Mate was also selected to attend the Basketball Without Borders Europe Camp in August.Basketball Without Borders is a collaboration between the NBA and FIBA to globally develop basketball and provide community outreach. It brings together many of the world’s top teenage prospects and mixes them together into a development‐oriented setting. Participants get to interact with skilled peers along with professional players and coaches from both the NBA and FIBA.
At the FIBA 2018 U18 European Championships, Okros was a standout averaging 12.1 points in7 games and hitting 13 of 25 3‐point attempts. He was noted as having good size, shooting an easy ball, having lots of confidence, and having deep range on his jumper. YouTube highlights from the tournament showed his smooth stroke and ability to take his defender to the basket, while finishing strong.
With theupcoming loss of senior Troy Harper and grad student Trevor John, Okros will fit in nicely on the team next year, bringing the ability to play the 1, 2 and 3 position. The coaching staff had been targeting perimeter players this off-season, and the development of Cam Wynter as a capable floor general shifted the priority to shooters. Adding Okros and Bickerstaff, plus Coletrane Washington, who appears to be heading towards a redshirt season, will bolster the team outside shooting and add a great deal of length, which should translate into stronger defense.
Now, sit back and enjoy the current season unfold knowing the coaching staff has taken care of future business this past off-season. As for this crazy fan, I’ll be keeping one eye on 2020 recruiting. Believe me, it’s started.