September 25, 2013

Yussuf is a 49er

Kevin McCarthy

His efforts last March 22 was a personal triumph for Temidayo Yussuf but the outcome wasn't. Yes, he grabbed a Division V tournament record 19 rebounds for St. Joseph Notre Dame, along with scoring 20 points, but the Pilots lost 47-46 on a buzzer-beating jumper to Horizon Christian Academy in the state title game. Yet just six months later, he's on top of the world, having committed to Long Beach State of the Big West Conference.

photo of Temidayo Yussuf

The 6-foot-7 Yussuf has always been associated with a winner and that should continue with the 49ers. Coach Don Monson's crew finished an overall 19-14 last season, 11-3 in league, reaching the second round of the Big Dance. The Beach went 25-9 in 2011-12 plus 22-12 the year before.

But another element was also attractive to Yussuf, if not the most important. During his early September visit, he met with this season's squad plus the two other talents who were visiting and have also committed, southern Californians Jack Williams, 6-foot-8, 190 and 5-foot-9 Justin Bibbins.

“I instantly felt a bond, you could see how close the team was,” Yussuf recalled.

He added, “As soon as I got back, I kept thinking this [Long Beach State] is where I want to be. I saw no reason to wait.”

Making his commitment brought both excitement and relief. “Recruiting is a hard process and takes a long time. I slept well that night [after his announcement].”

Five frontcourters are listed on the 2013-14 49er roster and all are upperclassmen. Yussuf is being looked at to play the four position.

So after a spring and summer with the Oakland Rebels plus being selected in July as a Team Pan Africa alternate as part of the Nike Global Challenge in Washington D.C., the No. 3 ranked talent in the Nor Cal Preps boys basketball 2014 rankings has achieved his goal.

Yussuf will arrive in Long Beach in mid-July but first is the matter of the St. Joseph Notre Dame 2013-14 season. After finishing 24-12 in the Tri County Athletic League Rock Division and taking a seven-game win streak into the finals, Yussuf feels good about the 2013-14 Pilot edition.

“We lacked three-point shooting last season but we have it now,” said the First Team All-Conference honoree.

Yussuf wished to thank “my whole family, St. Joseph Notre Dame Coach [Don] Lippi and my Oakland Rebel coaches, Raymond Young, Phil Taylor and Damon Jones.”