Former Harvard center joins Bethune-Cookman program

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On Thursday Bethune-Cookman head coach Gravelle Craig announced the addition of a player who will give the Wildcats some additional size in 2014-15. 7-foot center Ugo Okam, who played in 17 games during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons at Harvard, is now a member of the Bethune-Cookman basketball program.

“I watched him in high school (Montverde) and for Each Teach One, his AAU team,” Craig said of his newest addition in the release. “I thought he had potential to be a good college player with development. He adds size that we haven’t had in a long time.”

Okam didn’t see much playing time at Harvard, as he averaged just under four minutes per contest in his 17 appearances as a member of the program before leaving in November 2012. But he arrived on the Harvard campus as a Top 100 recruit, and the goal for Bethune-Cookman is to get Okam back to that point from a skill standpoint.

The question for Okam is how many years of eligibility will he have remaining, with the 2014-15 season representing the fifth year for him. Given the fact that he hasn’t played since the 2011-12 season there’s a possibility that he could be granted an extra year by the NCAA, with the school noting in the release that Okam could have two years of college basketball remaining as a result.

With Okam now in the fold Bethune-Cookman will also have 6-foot-9 junior college transfer Delino Dear and 6-foot-8 senior Travis Elliott to provide the team with size in 2014-15.

Bethune-Cookman struggled on the glass last season, ranking dead last in the MEAC in defensive rebounds per game (19.8) and defensive rebounding percentage (63.1%). This was one reason why the Wildcats won just seven games, going 5-11 in conference play. Elliott led the team in rebounding last season, pulling down nearly five caroms per contest.

The Wildcats return leading scorers Clemmye Owens and Mikel Trapp (11.3 ppg apiece), but second-leading rebounder Malik Jackson (10.8, 4.3 rpg) is out of eligibility.