Detroit News: Metro Detroit Players Lead Gophers into Top 25 Matchup

Ignatius L Hoops

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Sep 9, 2015
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After being recruited to play basketball at Minnesota, a trio of Metro Detroit players are now doing a little recruiting of their own.

Southfield twins Taiye and Kehinde Bello and Detroit’s Destiny Pitts are trying to make their fourth roommate, Irene Garrido Perez of Spain, an honorary Michigander, bringing her to Detroit for Christmas.

“We’re a really close-knit group and kind of like sisters off the court,” Pitts said. “We watch the Lions when we can, and I even took (Perez) back to Detroit and got to enjoy the Detroit and Vikings game, although that didn’t go the way we wanted to.”

This week’s trip back to the Mitten is all business with a clear directive: Getting No. 18 Minnesota’s season back on track Wednesday night at No. 23 Michigan State.


Right in the middle has been the Michigan trio, featuring Pitts, last season’s unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and dominant rebounding from Taiye Bello, who gets lovingly toughened up by sister Kehinde every day at practice.

The Bellos, who are juniors, said they were pushed to the game by older brother, Seni Lawal. Lawal, a 2004 Lathrup graduate, played at Oakland and Wayne State and was on the Nigerian national team in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Taiye Bello said she learned rebounding from him. The 6-foot-2 Taiye obviously took good mental notes, as her 12.9 rebounds per game ranks fourth in the country.

“I would say I’ve always been a decent rebounder, I’ve definitely been working on it,” Bello said. “It’s partially effort and partially a mentality.”


The Bellos were seniors of the last girls basketball team at Southfield-Lathrup, advancing to the Class A regional final before graduating in 2016 as the school closed for good.

They came to Minneapolis together, but weren’t necessarily a package deal at the time, separately being courted by former coach Marlene Stollings.

While Taiye has assumed a starring role, Kehinde is a role player. Taiye credits her sister, who is about an inch taller, for preparing her for games with stiff competition in practice.


Taiye Bello scored 24 points on 9-for-9 shooting a 76-60 loss on New Year’s Eve at Michigan, but Minnesota’s Michigan trio combined for just 11 points in Sunday’s 66-62 loss to Illinois — well below their combined average of 25.4 points.

Like the Gophers, the Spartans (11-3) have stumbled out of the Big Ten gates, posting an identical 1-2 start in conference play.

At the Breslin Center, Pitts will be playing on the same court where she won two Class B state championships at Detroit Country Day.
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