Rundell draws NBA comparison!
According to an article by reporter Jagdip Dhillon on Recordnet.com, Trinidad & Tobago Rundell Mague is being compared to the Michael Olowokandi by Coach Bob Thomason.
Olowokandi, who played for Thomason at the University of Pacific, went on to become the No. 1 pick of the 1998 NBA Draft. Thomason assess Rundell as relatively new to the game of basketball, has an impressive 7-foot-1, 245-pound frame and limitless upside. 'He can have a major impact around the basket as he learns the game,' Thomason said. 'He's going to have some ups and downs, but I'm going to be very patient with him this year.'
Thomason said the comparisons to Olowokandi are natural and not that far off-base. He said Mauge has better basketball awareness at the same point in their development, but Olowokandi was much stronger and a force offensively by his junior season.
Mauge was red shirted in his first year at Pacific due to an injury. He was recovering from hernia surgery and had a muscle tear in his right leg, so he didn't practice with the team until March. Mauge has since gained 27 pounds in 13 months, a result of 'eating and lifting weights.'
Despite playing for only one year, Mauge travelled from Trinidad to Texas during the 2006 Easter vacations with the Millennium Basketball Academy team. During the tour he attracted a lot of attention with his height and athletic ability. By September 2006, he was back in the US to pursue his basketball career.
Mauge was recruited to play a season at Putnam Science Academy, a prep school in Connecticut. Coach Kevin O'Connor then recruited him to play at North Platte Community College, Nebraska. O'Connor said Mauge's play helped his team reach the NJCAA National Tournament, averaging 5.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 blocks.
Thomason said Mauge's initial impact should come on the defensive end, but he wants him to become a better rebounder and more assertive on offense. Mauge, who's a communication major and plans to graduate in December, feels he's ready for the next level.
'My post moves are a lot more developed and I'm a lot smarter on defense than I used to be,' Mauge said. 'I expect myself to play my role and help us win.'