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UA hoops recruit asks out of letter of intent

Arizona incoming freshman Emmanuel Negedu will not be a Wildcat next season.

In a meeting with coach Lute Olson on Sunday morning in the Boston area, Negedu, an athletic 6-foot-7 forward, asked for his release from his letter of intent.

Negedu said Olson tried to convince Negedu to come to Tucson for another visit to be reassured he’d be fine at UA, but Negedu, who played at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., said he had been deciding on the move for at least three months.

“Everyone makes a decision in life; this is my decision,” Negedu said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “I’m going to stick with it.”

Olson is on the road and could not be reached for comment.

Negedu, a native of Nigeria, said the number of coaching changes and this past season’s circumstances of Olson being out for the entire season played a part.

“There have been so many changes that I feel they’ve lied to me all along about the situation,” Negedu said. “Everything has changed a lot since I’ve signed down there. I can’t take it no more.”

Negedu signed in November as part of UA’s top seven recruiting class. He’s rated at No. 40 overall of the incoming freshmen.

It’s not clear if Olson will grant him his release. Negedu said that if Olson does not grant him his release he’ll return to the Academy for another year, hopeful that he’ll get re-recruited to go to another school. It’s an option he doesn’t really want to do “because what do I have to prove in high school anymore?”

If he’s granted a release, he’ll look to sign with another school immediately.

Negedu said his feelings changed for Arizona when he made a visit in February for UA’s game with Arizona State.

“Before I signed with Arizona they said it was fun, the players loved it and everything,” he said. “But when I took my official visit no one seemed happy. Everything changed. Lute Olson left, taking a break. No one (knew) where he went.”

Negedu said his feelings changed on that trip, although he was optimistic things would get better.

“It was terrible,” he said of his visit. “I never (see) a person go on a visit and not have a host. I was in my room most of the time. I didn’t go to class to see how it goes.”

He said if he did decide to go to Arizona now it would be a case where there was a chance he’d want to transfer by the end of his first season.

“I don’t want to happen to me,” he said.

Typically, players can get out of their letters of intent after a coaching change, but Olson has steadfastly said he’ll coach next season, which would be his 25th at Arizona. But as Negedu said, Olson assured him that he’d be there this past season and wasn’t.

As for next season, Negedu said, “He’s not God. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

“Since I committed (April 2007) and signed (November) at Arizona he hasn’t coached. I feel like if I go there I’m not sure what will happen. What if they tell me that Lute Olson is going to take a break (again). What will I do? And I don’t want to transfer to another school.”

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