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March 4, 2014

Bola Alade talks whys of walking on to OU hoops

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Bola Alade verbally committed to Oklahoma men's basketball as a preferred walk-on for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the relationship he established between he and the Sooner coaching staff two years ago.

"I decided to commit to OU because the summer after my sophomore year OU was interested in me," he said. "I was interested in their school. I went up there on an unofficial visit with my family.

"I love the coaching staff, fell in love with the players. The atmosphere is very family-based."

Following his sophomore season, Alade, who says he's grown to 6-foot-5 and already weighs a stout 185 pounds, saw interest from a number of Division I schools. Some lesser known. Some better known.

Still, it seemed like only a matter of time before he would be playing college basketball on some school's dime.

Then the injuries came.

He suffered injuries to his wrist and foot during his junior year and missed a significant amount of playing time with his Amateur Athletic Union team, Texas Select, thus missing opportunities to be seen by nation's top college coaches.

When he began his last season of prep basketball at Plano (TX) John Paull II, he did so with the thought that maybe he wouldn't receive a scholarship offer. But maybe, just maybe, that school up I-35 might still remember him.

"As senior year was starting, OU was still on my mind," Alade said. "I always wanted to play for a coach like Lon Kruger. I love his history, and I love his system.

"I figured that they probably wouldn't have any scholarships left, so I figured that I could be a walk-on and potentially earn a scholarship if I work hard, and I'm willing to put in the effort."

He liked OU not only for its basketball but for its academics. He has dreams of earning his college diploma there.

So he made some calls around the beginning of the New Year.

"I reached out to them, and they were happily interested in me, that I had interest in OU, and we went from there," Alade said.

On March 3, he tweeted a photo of himself in an OU hoodie, standing next to Kruger in the basketball offices with this caption: "Just committed to the University of Oklahoma as a preferred walk on!"

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