The first things to know about 17-year-old Zena Edosomwan of Studio City Harvard-Westlake are that he is 6 feet 8, runs the basketball court as if he were sprinter in track and can proudly say: "I haven't even shaved yet."
Come July 5, when college basketball coaches can resume scouting high school players, Edosomwan might become the most scrutinized prospect in Los Angeles because word is spreading that he possesses the kind of raw talent all coaches seek.
He already has firm scholarship offers from USC, San Francisco, Colorado and Harvard, but suspicion is growing that come the end of the summer, Edosomwan will be a national recruit.
"He's improved so quickly over such a short time because he started so late in the game that his learning curve is almost straight up," Coach Greg Hilliard said. "Every time a coach sees him, the improvement has been so significant that they get more and more excited. Right now, he's a very hot player."
Edosomwan has been in Virginia for the National Basketball Players Assn. Top 100 High School Camp. He has trips planned for Indiana, Minnesota and Las Vegas to compete in travel events.
"I need a lot of luggage," he said.
He didn't start playing basketball until fifth grade, and he remembers when he wasn't a very good player.
"I was a real chubby kid," he said. "Everybody made fun of me."
Watching Edosomwan dunk over opponents offers a clue to his future. He could be an outstanding power forward. Last season as a junior, he averaged 17 points and 10.3 rebounds. He had 35 points and 13 rebounds in a game against Santa Monica. Even more impressive is how quickly he moves up and down the court. Big men assigned to guard him end up huffing and puffing trying to keep up.
"I feel I've made a lot of strides as a player in the past couple of months," he said. "I've learned a lot in terms of not just basketball, but mentally preparing for games [and] how to react when things don't go your way."
He is far from being a polished player, but his potential is what's so attractive for college coaches, not to mention his intelligence and friendly demeanor, which draws rave reviews from opposing coaches and players.
In the winter, Edosomwan figures to be putting on dunk exhibitions for Harvard-Westlake fans.
And one day, he says he'll be able to shave. Just don't expect him to grow a beard anytime soon. The good news is that he has one less item to pack on his trips this summer.