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April 19, 2013

JUCO forward Edson Avila signs with OU hoops

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With the departure of All-Big 12 forward Romero Osby, Andrew Fitzgerald and starting forward Amath M'Baye, Lon Kruger and his staff needed to add depth to a depleted Oklahoma roster.

They took care of one need with the signing of Seward (Kan.) Community College's Edson Avila Wednesday.

Avila, a 6-foot-10 power forward, figures to round out a front line that will likely feature Ryan Spangler, Cameron Clark and D.J. Bennett. The Sooners had already signed one big man last November in junior college-transfer Keshuan Hamilton.

Seward men's basketball coach Bryan Zollinger thinks Oklahoma has signed a quality defensive player with a high basketball IQ in Avila.

"He plays very hard," Zollinger told SoonerScoop.com. "He's very active, especially at the defensive end of the floor. He's a very a good team defender, very vocal on defense. He can take charges, block shots, rebound, defends the post."

As a sophomore Avila averaged 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Saints while earning All-Jayhawk Conference Second Team honors. He started 30 games last season for Seward en route to a 25-8 season.

He reportedly brushed off offers from Gonzaga, Oklahoma State and Memphis in favor of the Sooners.

"As soon as I walked onto campus at OU and met the players, I got the same feeling of family as I have here at Seward and knew it was the right place for me," said Avila in a Seward press release. "I am really looking forward to competing as hard as I can for the next two seasons for my coaches and teammates."

Avila, from the Bronx in New York City, was an AAU teammate of current Sooner and sophomore to be Isaiah Cousin for year during their high school careers.

Lon Kruger added his thoughts on Avila's signing through a university release Thursday.

"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," said Kruger. "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."

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