A few days ago, I guessed that UB Women's Basketball Head Coach Felisha Legette-Jack would hold onto her one remaining scholarship until next year's recruiting class, in an effort to balance out the scholarship distribution a bit.
That guess was wrong, as we learn this evening that UB's incoming freshman class swells to six, and the roster to a full 15, with the addition of 5'9" Canadian guard Ayoleka Sodade.
Coaches always say nice things about their recruits in these releases, but for Coach Jack to acknowledge someone as "strong, physical, aggressive, and passionate" is for her to acknowledge someone like herself. And though I don't know much about the level of competition, Sodade's numbers back it up; she averaged 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 3.8 steals per game in her senior season. You've got to be everywhere on the floor to put up numbers like that.
Other than UB's own release, there's not much out there on the player who led her high school team to a 51-9 record over the last three years. This very poorly written blurb praised her appearance at a Nike Invitational Tournament in Chicago a year ago, and suggests that Ayoleka was a late bloomer on the recruiting scene:
Ayoleka Sodade Fitting right in on her first foray onto the summer travel scene, Sodade’s stock is continuing to rise throughout the summer. Having next to no exposure before this summer, she is showing many what we’ve known of for quite some time. She is a Guard that is a strong, tough defender that can find ways to score. I would hope that the ability to complete around the basket with both hands would be something that she continues to refine in her skill building. Regardless, because of the way that she played this weekend, and how she has been flying under the radar, a school at the next level may be in line to land the hidden gem she is proving to be.
Here's a short highlight video from this past fall. There are a few more on YouTube, but this is the most recent
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Sodade seems comfortable drawing contact and playing with a high motor, but I also wonder in this video and others how much experience she has playing against players larger than her.
Sodade's older brother, Babayele, was once a part of the Canadian National Team soccer program and a member of the Seattle Sounders, but ended up never playing a game for the MLS squad after an ACL tear. As for Ayoleka herself, we'll have to wait and see if we learn more, and in the longer term, if she can fight her way into the rotation - perhaps in a swing role - as a freshman next fall.