by Matt Lincoln
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The number one recruit in the state of Virginia has made his college choice - and it's a surprising one. Steward School senior Adjehi Baru and his teammate and stepbrother Patrick Branin have signed with the College of Charleston.
Baru is the highest rated player ever to sign with Charleston. Branin's father is the legal guardian of the Ivory Coast native. The family first visited Charleston returning from a trip to Florida.
Baru was one of the last unsigned ESPNU Top 100 players still available in the early signing period and also made visits to Maryland, Virginia Tech and North Carolina before making his final decision. He was rated the No. 26 overall prospect by Rivals.com, No. 29 overall prospect by Scout.com and No. 46 overall prospect and the third highest-rated big man in the Class of 2011 by ESPN College Basketball Recruiting. Baru, who possesses a 7-foot-5 wingspan and 35-inch vertical, played AAU summer basketball for Team Loaded under the direction of head coach Ty White.
The top basketball prospect in the state of Virginia, Baru was also listed as one of the top 12 rising seniors by the ACC Sports Journal. He also attended the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Top 100 Camp held this past June in Charlottesville, Va.
Baru is fluent in French, his native language, and has learned English during the two years he has lived in the U.S. He would like to major in math, computers or international trade at The College and currently carries an impressive 3.54 grade-point average at The Steward School, a small private school with high academic standards. As a junior, he averaged 13.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game making him one of the top 20 prospects in the country at the time.
Branin, who is well-known for his outside shooting and accuracy, shot 37 percent with 48 three-pointers from behind the arc and 73 percent from the charity stripe last season for the Spartans. He averaged 14.0 points, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game as a junior. A two-time All-VCC Honorable Mention selection, Branin is averaging 18.5 points a game during his current senior campaign and holds a 3.5 GPA.
Baru and Branin were unavailable for comment.