John Tonje

John Tonje is leading the state in scoring this season with 24.8 points per game.

Omaha Central senior John Tonje received his first Division I offer Monday while on an unofficial visit to UNO.

The Mavericks have been recruiting the 6-foot-4 Tonje for months. He took an unofficial visit to UNO in April and saw the Mavs play Oral Roberts earlier this season.

“It is good to have the option to stay home,” Tonje said. “And I appreciate them being the first to offer me a scholarship.”

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The day after he got his UNO offer, Tonje traveled to Fort Collins for an unofficial visit at Colorado State.

“Everything was so nice,” Tonje said. “The campus is really nice and I got a chance to meet all of the coaches. They showed me a lot of things and I got to shoot around with some of the assistant coaches.”

Tonje has developed a strong relationship with CSU assistant Ali Farokhmanesh, the former Northern Iowa star who also served on Tim Miles’ staff at Nebraska.

“He is a really cool guy and I feel like I already know him,” Tonje said. “He is a really cool coach and I relate to him well. We talk about things outside of basketball, which I really like.”

Tonje left Fort Collins without a scholarship offer, but said the Rams will continue to recruit him.

“We’ll see where things stand in the next few weeks with them, but I really enjoyed my visit,” he said.

Tonje has heard from some other Division I schools, too. Purdue Fort Wayne, Idaho State and Central Connecticut have started to recruit him in recent weeks.

Tonje is the ultimate late bloomer. He has gone from averaging 1.6 points per game his sophomore year to leading the state in scoring this season. He averages 24.8 per game heading into Friday’s contest for the third-ranked Eagles.

“This year he has been fantastic. He’s physically just gotten bigger and increased his strength and athleticism,” Central coach Eric Behrens said. “He is very quiet, humble and great to coach, but he also works very hard on his game.”

Mike is a prep recruiting specialist for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSautterOWH. Phone: 402-444-1335.

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