Sunday, January 11, 2009

Yarou, Mustangs Handle Titans

Yarou, Mustangs Handle Titans
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, January 11, 2009; D02


Still learning the English language, Montrose Christian's Mouphtaou Yarou couldn't share in the jawing that was going on during the top-ranked Mustangs' 70-53 victory over No. 10 T.C. Williams last night.

For much of the game, he kept quiet, with his 6-foot-10, 250-pound frame in the post and his eyes locked on the basket. Then he spotted a Titans player storming down the middle of the lane in the third quarter.

Yarou's fourth block -- an offering he rose up on and swatted off the concrete wall behind the rim -- prompted an intimidating wail from the Villanova recruit and an equal gasp from the 1,700 fans at the University of Maryland's Comcast Pavilion.

"I like defense more than offense," said Yarou, in soft broken English following his 23-point performance, allowing mostly smiles and nods to speak for his effort.

He added eight rebounds, four blocks and three altered shots as the Mustangs (11-1) scored 14 of their 37 first-half points inside to end the winning streak of reigning Virginia AAA public school champion T.C. Williams (9-2) at five.

Yarou, a native of Benin -- a small country in West Africa bordered by Togo and Nigeria -- came to the United States last year on a student visa, following a dream of playing basketball that landed him at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va.

Since his arrival in the United States, Yarou, who transferred to Montrose Christian this year, has grown two inches, put on 40 pounds and signed a national letter-of-intent with Villanova, where he'll join 6-8, 195-pound teammate Isaiah Armwood as part of a recruiting class ranked among college basketball's top five, according to both and

The addition of Yarou "just releases the pressure off everybody else," said Armwood, who scored seven points and hit one of six Mustangs first-half three-pointers en route to a 37-24 halftime lead. "Nobody can stop him, I don't care who you are."

A soccer-crazed teenager in his native country, here Yarou has led the Mustangs to top 10 national rankings and is next in line among a star-studded list of NBA prospects who have come out of the Rockville school. Alum Kevin Durant was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft and that season's rookie of the year.

"I mean, we've had big guys here in my four years, but not a big guy like Mouph," Armwood said.

No. 1 Montrose Christian 70 No. 10 T.C. Williams 53

The Air Up There, Again: Mouphtaou Yarou's roommate, T. Jordan Omogbehin, is a 7-foot-1, 260-pound sophomore from Nigeria. Among the Ranks: T.C. Williams, led in scoring last night by Edward Jenkins (15 points), suffered its other loss, 59-58, to No. 9 Riverdale Baptist (14-3).

No comments: