Maryland

Top Recruit Tokoto Says He’s Picked North Carolina

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Top Wisconsin high school recruit J.P. Tokoto said Thursday that he has committed to playing college basketball at North Carolina.

The Menomonee Falls High School star forward made the announcement at a Milwaukee restaurant in a room filled with family, friends, teammates, coaches and reporters.

“It’s a relief,” the 17-year-old junior said. “We can get it off our shoulders and go ahead and focus on other things, like my books, my team.”

During the news conference, Tokoto was asked whether or not he had yet called Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams to inform him of his decision. Tokoto then took out his cell phone and called Williams as the crowd watched and listened. The call lasted only one minute and concluded with Tokoto saying he would call again Friday to talk more.

When asked what he and his soon-to-be head coach talked about, Tokoto said Williams had been watching the entire news conference online, so he already knew of the decision.

“There was just a lot of excitement,” Tokoto said of their brief phone call. “He told me he was watching the whole time.”

Tokoto has been heavily recruited by many elite college programs. He narrowed his list down to eight on Feb. 14. The other schools were Wisconsin, Marquette, Kansas, UCLA, Maryland, Connecticut and Kentucky.

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan was the first to offer Tokoto a scholarship, and many locals hoped Tokoto would accept it.

“I heard it every day since my freshman year,” Tokoto said. “I’ll probably still hear it.”

Tokoto left a message for Ryan before making his announcement, but the Badgers coach did not answer as his team was playing at Indiana.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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