Photo from Somto Cyril

Somto Cyril liked what he saw during IU basketball visit, including opportunity to play next year

Nigerian center Somto Cyril says he hasn’t made a decision on whether he’ll go to college in 2023 or 2024.

But during an official visit in Bloomington over the weekend, he was paying close attention to the opportunity at Indiana next year.

“They (Indiana) have four players leaving next year, and two of them are the bigs, so right now on their roster they have a little playing time if I were to come there next year,” Cyril told The Daily Hoosier.

That message came up on Mike Woodson’s radio show on Monday night as well.  “We’ve got to get some bigs,” Woodson said when asked about his two openings on next year’s roster.

Cyril certainly checks the big box.

Listed by his Overtime Elite program as 6-foot-10, and 235 pounds with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, the 17-year-old is a self-described rebounder and shot-blocker — who doesn’t like to hype up his game.

“I just want to win and for me to get better as a player and also help my teammates to get better and put us in a better position to be a good team,” he said.  “My main concern is being a good teammate and doing what is best for my team.”

The 2021 national defensive player of the year on the Adidas circuit, Cyril helps his team by being a force in the paint on both ends of the floor.  He’s known for his emphatic dunks on one end, and elite rim protection on the other.  Along with a high motor, there is a ferocity to his game, something that has earned Cyril the nickname “Baby Shaq.”

After playing in a game in the Overtime Elite league on Friday night, Cyril flew up to Indiana for his two-day visit.  He said the basketball-centric aspect of both Bloomington and IU left a strong impression, noting that Indiana would be a “really nice place to be” as a basketball player.

But the variable that really left an impression on the Enugu, Nigeria product was the IU coaches.

“What stood out to me (on the visit) was the coaching staff,” Cyril told The Daily Hoosier.  “They were really nice and they were telling me how they want to help me develop my game, and they think I can help them win games.”

Assistant coach Yasir Rosemond has connections at Overtime Elite and he is the lead recruiter of Cyril for Indiana.

Cyril liked what he heard and saw from head coach Mike Woodson as well.

“I think he’s (Woodson) a really good coach and a really good person too,” Cyril said.  “I saw the relationship he has with his players and everybody was really cool with him at the practice and walk-throughs and off the court.  I think they have a good chemistry going on.”

Cyril says he has no specific timeline for deciding on when or where he’ll go to college.  He’s visited Cincinnati, and has plenty of other schools involved including Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, and Tennessee.  And there is noise about the possibility of Cyril going straight to the professional ranks.

While there is still much to be determined, Cyril says he does know what he’s looking for.

“I just want to be at a place where I feel welcome, I feel at home, obviously where I can improve, and they can help get me to the next level,” Cyril said.

For a complete list of IU’s recruiting targets and prospects, including recent visits, GO HERE.

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