DE LA Salle's frontline is expected to get a major boost once the school gains an official commitment from Fil-American big man Keith Datu to join the Green Archers.
A 6-7 big man out of St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, California, Datu is one of the most sought-after Fil-foreign players coming out of high school, reportedly recruited by top college programs like Ateneo, La Salle, National University, and San Beda.
However, news have emerged that the Green Archers have gained the inside track in the race to sign the Fil-American big man, who has drawn comparisons with former PBA MVP Kelly Williams of Talk 'N Text.
Speculations grew louder after Philippine Star sports columnist Joaquin ‘Quinito’ Henson, who is also one of the chief supporters of the Green Archers, posted a photo of him with Datu and De La Salle coach Juno Sauler.
But La Salle officials, including Sauler, refused to confirm or deny that Datu has indeed committed to the Green Archers, even if he has already been reportedly spotted attending the team’s practices.
Still, there is no question about Datu's value to any college team he plays for.
A coach who has seen Datu play said the Green Archers, or any team for that matter, will be getting a player with similar skills as Williams if they succeed in signing the big man.
“Datu is a Kelly Williams type of player. He can run, rebound, dunk, and score. He can also play multiple positions from 3 to 5,” said the coach who asked not to be named.
The coach is so impressed with Datu’s talents that he is convinced that another UAAP championship for La Salle is in the offing if he plays for the Taft-based school this season.
“Another championship,” said the coach, when asked what kind of boost Datu could bring to the defending UAAP champions.
Datu, who was born to a Filipino father and an American mother, led the St. Joseph Knights to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Division 4A playoffs after averaging 19.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.
St. Joseph coach Tom Mott spoke highly of Datu in an interview with the Santa Maria Times last November.
“He has had several (NCAA) Division II scholarship offers. If he plays the way he’s capable of playing, he’ll have some Division I offers. Keith had a pretty good offseason,” Mott told the newspaper.
After Datu’s final game at St. Joseph, Mott said: “From where he was four years ago to where he is today, we couldn’t be prouder of him. Not only is he a great player, but he’s a great student and most importantly, he is an absolutely great kid.”