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UNLV still in the race for 2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh

The forward from Massachusetts trimmed his list to UNLV, Duke, Indiana, Ohio State and Florida

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Courtesy of Adidas Super 64

Goodluck Okonoboh of Mass Rivals boxes out for a rebound during the Adidas Super 64 basketball tournament at Rancho High School, Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

UNLV is still in the running for class of 2014 forward Goodluck Okonoboh after the Massachusetts big man trimmed his list to five schools today.

Along with the Rebels, Okonoboh is looking at Duke, Indiana, Ohio State and Florida, saying they are in no particular order. Listed at 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, Okonoboh is a four-star forward who often draws comparisons to former high school and AAU teammate Nerlens Noel.

Despite the clear similarities — excellent shot-blocking with a work-in-progress offensive game, plus the high-top fade — Okonoboh said in July he doesn’t model his game after the former Kentucky star who went sixth in this year’s draft.

Speaking of the draft, UNLV no doubt survived in this competitive race for Okonoboh in large part to Anthony Bennett’s selection at No. 1. Okonoboh told reporters after a game this July in the Adidas Super 64 that one of the things he was looking for in a school was a place he could develop into a pro.

It was actually after that game that Okonoboh deflected a question about 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman and instead heaped praise on Zimmerman’s Dream Vision teammate Jamal Aytes, who had just scored 38 against Okonoboh’s Mass Rivals team.

“He was the player I was really looking at,” Okonoboh said.

Now they’re a step closer to being teammates as Okonoboh’s list announcement comes one day after Aytes committed to UNLV for the 2013-14 season. More important for Okonoboh may be his connection to Khem Birch.

The two played against each other many times when Birch was in prep school, and Okonoboh said he’s heard nothing but good things from the Canadian big man about Las Vegas. However, it’s very likely Okonoboh would come in to replace Birch rather than play alongside him.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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