GoldandBlack - Purdue target Emmanuel Dowuona fielding new interest as July opens
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Purdue target Emmanuel Dowuona fielding new interest as July opens

More ($): Notes on Purdue targets from Wednesday night

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — After Purdue seemed to get way out in front of the field on Class of 2018 center Emmanuel Dowuona, it's becoming increasingly clear the Boilermakers may have a fight on their hands for their most prominent center target.

The 6-foot-10, 210-pound 5 man from Miami said Wednesday night at the Under Armour Association Finals in the Atlanta area that he's planning official visits to Georgia Tech and maybe Southern Cal and fielding new interest from Kansas, Arkansas and North Carolina State as the July evaluation period opens.

Dowuona, a native of Ghana who's played just two seasons of formal basketball now, had Matt Painter courtside Wednesday night for his first outing of the evaluation period. Numerous other prominent head coaches — Rick Pitino, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins, Tony Bennett, Chris Holtmann and Jim Larranaga among them — also looked on for his talented Team Breakdown squad's win over a star-studded Sports U. team with elite prospects Nazreon Reid and Jahvon Quinerly.

While the audience may not have been entirely Dowuona-focused, the fact remains he'll be very closely watched and hotly pursued this summer.

"I'm just doing my job and not getting over-excited," said Dowuona, ranked 132nd nationally in the 2018 class by Rivals.com. "I am very excited because this is a dream come true. People work hard to get this and never get it. I'm excited but not too excited that I won't keep working hard, striving hard to take myself to another level, because I know I can do something greater than what I'm doing now.

"I'm open to all the schools that have come to me. This is everybody's dream. Whatever comes to me, I'm going to be open to it. If not, I'm not going to force anything."

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Purdue hosted Dowuona for an official visit in June and remains the only school he's visited to that sort of extent. After the visit, he spoke of Purdue's emphasis on the post and its academic reputation. Dowuona has long said he intends to pursue a field in engineering.

"What's especially important is academics," he said. "The NBA is not guaranteed. Anything can happen. My aim in basketball is to go to the league and play in the NBA, but if it doesn't happen, I want to have a great Plan B for my future aside from basketball."

Purdue landed a big man commitment earlier this month when Detroit 4/5 Trevion Williams committed, but told Dowuona it would have no bearing on him.

"They told me about him and his position and how it wouldn't conflict with my position if I should go to Purdue. It was good of them to let me know about a player who's already committed and that if I went there, it wouldn't affect my spot."

As Dowuona moves forward in the recruiting process, he says he'll focus on relationships, an area where Purdue should be particularly strong given its early start in recruiting him, but an advantage others could have an opportunity to chip away at by building connections of their own.

"My thoughts and my expectations about my visits are about building relationships, because if you don't have a great relationship with the coach, it might be hard for you to blend in with the team and learn a lot," Dowuona said. "So for me, it's about trying to build a great relationship with the coach and seeing how he relates to the whole team. That's pretty much it. I don't have a lot of big expectations (of schools), just little ones, because if you take up all the little ones, they become big ones.

"I'm open to all the schools that have come to me. This is everybody's dream. Whatever comes to me, I'm going to be open to it. If not, I'm not going to force anything."

For more on Dowuona as a player, see the video interview embedded above.

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