Monday, November 21, 2016

Figueroa To Prolong Career At New Mexico State

Whether he was pulling up from well beyond the confines of the arc, knifing into the teeth of the defense and finishing with contact, or luring in defenders with his handle and kicking it inside to an astonishingly open big man, West Oaks' L.J. Figueroa was the overwhelming factor in his team's thorough throttling of DME.

This was during the Veteran's Day Shootout, the SIAA opening event.

When Figueroa wasn't permeating the driving lanes, creating, and finishing at the rim with ease, he proved his worth as a pesky defender. Even with West Oaks nursing a sizable 26-point lead, the transfer via Oldsmar kept the amplified pressure on.

A few days later, Figueroa committed to New Mexico State. As a four-star recruit and top 100 recruit, Figueroa had emerged into one of the nation's most hotly pursued recruits. It is a major pickup capable of bolstering the basketball culture at NMSU. NMSU beat out Florida, Miami, Boston College, Texas Tech, and a barrage of others in pursuit of the 6-foot-5, 180-pound Figueroa.

Synonymous with a natural nose for the rim, Figueroa has shown an increase in his stroke from mid-range and opened up an NBA 3-pointer. This, coupled with his ability to defend multiple positions, rendered him one of the state's premier talents.

This isn't the first time New Mexico State has nabbed a high-profile recruit out of the SIAA. Several years ago they found Washington, D.C. native Ian Baker from Arlington Country Day School (Jacksonville, FL).

Baker, a 2017 NBA draft prospect, averaged 13.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists en route to an All-Western Conference Team selection in 2016. Through five games in 2016-17, Baker is averaging 13.0 points and three boards. Initially a Providence commit, Baker had interest from Seton Hall to West Virginia before deciding on the Aggies.

After visiting the campus several weeks ago, Figueroa passed up on more-heralded programs and gave a verbal pledge to the Aggies.

"LJ is exceptionally talented prospect with the ability to play multiple positions on the court," head coach Paul Weir said in a recent statement.

"His ability to fit into our style of play will be seamless given his dynamic offensive skill set and his willingness to run the court and defend."