San Diego State got their 2018 class started in a big way with the commitment of 6-10 Joel Mensah. Mensah's commitment was confirmed to us by his coach and mentor Kwaku Amoaku, who runs the African Youth Basketball Organization. His commitment was not much of a surprise as our Commitment Probability Index had his odds at becoming an Aztec at 80%.
The three-star big man plays for San Diego based AAU program Coastal Elite (also he played for the New York Lightning of the Nike EYBL) and is currently a rising senior at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Even though he is just rated a three-star prospect, I assure you he is underrated.
Mensah is a huge get for the Aztecs. With the addition of Mensah San Diego State now has their first center commitment from a high school player since Skylar Spencer. Adding Mensah to the roster should stabilize the center position for the foreseeable future.
Getting Mensah to commit was a long and arduous process. The coaching staff put in a lot of time and effort in recruiting him and in the end the extra attention made Mensah feel wanted. San Diego felt like home to him and the staff embraced him into the family. Amoaku mentioned the many factors that led Mensah's decision.
"[Some] factors [for why Joel chose San Diego State] were that the staff really worked hard to get him. They've been on Joel for two full years. Joel really felt the love and felt like they really valued him. I'm here in San Diego and that's a big deal, as well as a strong support system that includes Coastal Elite, his JSerra family, and his AYBO/Royalties Academy family."
Offensively Mensah has a decent post up game and he already has a number of post moves in his arsenal. My favorite move that I have seen him develop is where he jab steps, pump fakes, dribbles towards the basket, and pulls up from the wing (you can see it at 0:51 of the video below). This was the first time I had seen the move, but he has continued using it and is getting better results. He likes to repost when necessary and he uses movement to get good position on a defender. Mensah can also extend his jump shot out to the three-point line, however he’s most accurate when he stays inside of it. When it comes to securing the offensive rebound he has shown good instincts in finding the loose ball.
Defensively Mensah is long. He uses those long arms of his to block and disrupt shots. Like on offense, he is a high level rebounder and rarely gets caught ball watching when a shot goes up.
There are still some areas that Mensah has to work on before stepping onto the court at Viejas. His main area of need is working on his strength. He has a slight build and will need to add some mass to endure the physical play that comes with playing college basketball. When we spoke with Amoaku, back in March he mentioned that Mensah had developed a love for the weight room. Mensah has his entire senior year to continue to get bigger and better before his arrival on campus
When he gets on campus Amoaku expects two things to happen; for Mensah to make an impact and for him to continue to get better. "I see him having an immediate impact. Joel is very versatile and I think that the staff will help him reach his full potential," Amoaku said.
With Mensah’s commitment the Aztecs have four more scholarships available for 2018. There is still a lot of work to be done, however today Aztecs fans should rejoice as San Diego State got one of their top targets.