Caymanian Joshua O’Garro is making history.
O’Garro this week verbally committed to play basketball at the University of Oklahoma, which would make him the first Caymanian to play the sport at the NCAA Division I level.
“It’s a great day,” Cayman Islands basketball technical director Voot O’Garro told the Cayman Compass on Friday.
Joshua O’Garro this year wrapped up his junior season at Santa Clarita High School, in California. He caught the attention of several Division I men’s basketball programmes while moving up recruiting site rankings. He’s considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com – one of the United States’ most recognised recruiting news services – which rates players on a five-star system. He was ranked a four-star recruit by 247Sports.com.
“It is a great program,” O’Garro told Rivals.com’s Corey Evans of OU. “They make great players and that’s what I want to be and I feel that Coach (Lon) Kruger and the staff are all invested in me as a person on and off the court. They believe in me and my abilities and I won’t let their belief go to waste.”
Evans tweeted a graphic illustration on Thursday showing O’Garro in a Sooners jersey. Oklahoma’s official men’s basketball Twitter account retweeted it.
O’Garro had planned on playing one more year of high school basketball. He reclassified to the class of 2020, however, because he met college academic requirements between his time at Santa Clarita and another prep school he previously attended, according to Voot O’Garro.
NCAA Division I is the top level of college sports in the US. The Sooners play in the Big 12 Conference, which is one of the most prestigious conferences in the US in terms of athletics success.
“The Cayman Islands native is one of the more gifted athletes we’ve had at BTI in 23 years,” tweeted BTI, O’Garro’s club team.
The Sooners have four players that currently play in the National Basketball Association, including the Detroit Pistons four-time All-Star Blake Griffin, Atlanta Hawks All-Star point guard Trey Young and Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, who won the 3-point shootout competition at the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.
Oklahoma had made the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship tournament in five of the last six years before the 2020 tournament was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sooners had put together a 19-12 record before the 2020 season was cancelled.
Joshua O’Garro has given a verbal commitment but has not yet signed his National Letter of Intent to attend the school, which would make the announcement official. He plans to redshirt next year, Voot O’Garro said. If a player is ‘redshirted’ it means the athlete is enrolled at the school and remains a member of the team but will not play that season. The player therefore does not begin his or her four years of eligibility to play until the following academic year.
As for the young athlete heading to Oklahoma, “This is going to take Cayman Islands basketball to the next level,” Caymanian basketball coach Corey McGee said.