“Yes (I’m transferring),” Okosun said in a very brief phone conversation Thursday night.
“Augustine worked hard for us and was a solid contributor last season,” Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez said in a release Friday. “Unfortunately, we were not able to afford him the playing time he desired. With his release, he’ll be able to play more at another school. I wish him the best of luck.”
Okosun, a native of Benin City, Nigeria who played JUCO ball at Harcum (Pa.) College, saw the handwriting on the wall, with 6-11, 340-pound frosh Melvyn “Big Mel” Oliver coming in from Mississippi Elite Christian Academy, and Brandon Walters and John Garcia both getting better in the offseason. He averaged 1.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 30 games for the Pirates last season, averaging 9.7 minutes.
Okosun is the second player to leave Seton Hall since last season ended. Sophomore guard Larry Davis transferred to Loyola Marymount in April.
We hear Okosun may end up playing for Rollie Massimino at Northwood (Fla.) University, an NAIA school.
Okosun’s journey from Nigeria to the U.S. was fraught with twists and turns, at least in part because of his legal guardian, a controversial man named Joe Smith who once found diamonds in Liberia and Sierra Leone and gold in Mali and is now hoping to turn a profit on basketball potential.
If Okosun, or any of the other African players Smith has helped bring over to the U.S., ever makes it to the NBA – and that is a big if — Smith hopes to get a major cut of the payday.
“I would like to get 20-25 percent (of the player’s earnings),” Smith, 65, told me last year. “It would be negotiable.”
NELSON TO WILLIAM PATERSON
Former Rutgers guard Courtney Nelson of Bloomfield Tech will end up at William Paterson, assuming all his paperwork is cleared. The 6-1, 180-pound Nelson, a Bloomfield native, was declared academically ineligible at Rutgers midway through last season.
William Paterson will be his third school. Nelson spent his freshman season at Richmond before transferring to Rutgers and sitting out a season.
William Paterson head coach Jose Rebimbas is one of the best Division III head coaches in the nation, having twice led his team to the Final Four and once to the NCAA title game, so Nelson should be in good hands.