Atwood talks ASU pledge

Whether it's an Arizona State visitor, let alone a commit, it's not uncommon for that prospect to cite the family atmosphere he felt in Tempe as one of his biggest impressions on the trip. Willie Atwood's experience last weekend during his official was no different which is why he committed and signed with ASU on Thursday afternoon.

"I'm glad to be part of the team," Atwood said. "All the coaches from Arizona State believed in me and I'm close with a lot of the players coming in like Roosevelt Scott, Gerry Blakes and also Shaq (McKissic). When I went there it felt like home and being part of a family. When I got there on my visit I knew right away that I wanted to be part of this team.

"It felt like this is where I needed to be to make my mark."

Atwood said that since the first time the ASU staff saw in person his recruitment with the Sun Devils started gaining a lot of steam.

"Coach (Stan) Johnson came and saw me in practice," Atwood recalled, "a few hours later I was on the phone with Coach Sendek and he offered me a scholarship. So right there I knew that they really serious about me."

As much the Connors College (Okla.) forward enjoyed his time in Tempe, he still pondered his decision quite a bit and delayed it by a couple of days, until he settled on ASU Thursday afternoon.

"I thought about it a lot," Atwood admitted, "and I prayed about. In the end I knew where I was supposed to be. There are a lot of respected players coming in and I want to be on the same team with them."

The 6-8 215-pound Willie Atwood averaged 20.8 points and 9.0 rebounds a game for Connors State in the 2013-14 season shooting just under 58 percent from the field. His aggressiveness and versatility are some of the traits that the ASU coaches were attracted to.

"They told me that I can help right away being a dominant scorer," Atwood commented. "They want me to play me both inside and outside so I will be a mismatch for the defense. They also see me attacking the boards hard."

Atwood, who chose ASU over Iowa and Florida State, wasn't tipping his hand regarding his decision to any of the coaching staffs pursuing him. For the Sun Devils staff the wait was obviously worthwhile.

"I told Coach Johnson ‘sorry man, I don't know what I'm going to do yet so I can't call (before making the decision),' Atwood said. "Then my decision got out on Twitter so fast and they were asking me ‘why were you playing with us like that? (laughs)'

"But they were very excited about me coming there."

The third-team junior-college All-American has two years of eligibility left and is the seventh player signed in ASU's 2014 recruiting class.

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