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April 30, 2011

List is long for Texas big man



Before talking about the physical skills of Prince Ibeh, his coach made it clear the young man was a player with high character.

"Prince is a gentle giant," said Lawrence Mann, coach of Ibeh's AAU team, the Top Achievers Pistons. "He is very encouraging. He is always telling someone 'we gotta keep going!'"

In interviews since being hired, Missouri's new staff has made it clear they will place character above even on-court talent in recruiting. Ibeh seems to fit the bill. He has not spoken with new Mizzou head coach Frank Haith yet. But he said he wants to hear Haith's recruiting pitch.

"I would like to look at them more," he said. "But I want to keep my options open."

Mizzou is one of 31 teams the forward says he is considering. Texas, Texas A&M and Marquette have all pushed hard in their efforts to court the 3-star prospect.

Ibeh is listed 21st in the Rivals150 rankings for the class of 2012. His defense is a big reason why Mizzou-and many others--has its eye on the Lone Star State forward.

"Every coach we talked to across the country said his defense and timing is impeccable," Mann said. "On the defensive end, I'll put him against anyone in the country."

According to Mann, the prospect from Garland, Texas is still polishing his offensive game, particularly his shooting form. But he said Ibeh has come a long way, when he was a "little baby giraffe" in the ninth grade. Now, he has grown to a 6-foot-10, 230-pound inside presence.

Ibeh said he will narrow his list down this summer once the school year is over.

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