Ochie on signing with SE Louisiana: 'I felt like family'

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Onochie Ochie probably would have had offers from bigger schools in the near future. He even had more official visits planned.

But after visiting Division I Southeast Louisiana, he had seen enough.

The Westover senior signed on the dotted line Wednesday to play basketball for the Lions, despite the 6-foot-51/2 wing man having offers from South Carolina State, Alabama State and USC-Upstate.

"Right when I walked in I felt like family," said Ochie, dressed in tie and long shirt for his official signing in the Westover library. "That is the most comfortable I felt with a coaching staff. I just could to be myself around them. I didn't feel that around anyone else."

It doesn't hurt that the Lions' starting athletic wing player Robert Tibbs will be graduating this season and Ochie is the only fill-in they are recruiting.

"I will definitely be able to go in there and fight for a starting spot soon," he said.

Ochie was a role player at forward on the Patriots' state runner-up team in Class AAA last season, though he really emerged while playing for the Albany Bearcats this summer.

Since he just recently emerged on the scene this summer, he says he thought about waiting for the season to end and bigger schools jumped in the running. But, his happiness with SELA and desire to have the recruiting process behind him before the season started pushed him to sign on Wednesday.

"People say, you could play at Duke or North Carolina," Ochie said. "I thought about (waiting) all the time. That was always on my mind. But I didn't want to be anywhere else."