For one, Northeastern's rising senior guard was already familiar with new Mountaineers coach Jamion Christian, who was hired by the school in March. Christian had recruited Nwandu previously while the former was an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth. Nwandu knew he would fit in with Christian's preferred, up-tempo style.
Then, two Sundays ago, Nwandu made the short drive south to the school's Emmitsburg, Md., campus.
"I knew I wanted to commit before my senior season, just to get it out of the way to focus on my senior year," Nwandu said Tuesday. "I knew it was a good school and I had a really good connection with the coaches and players.
"When I went down there, I said, 'I just love this place.'"
The next day, Nwandu called Christian and made his verbal commitment to the Mountaineers. Nwandu can sign his official letter of intent in November.
If Nwandu does end up at Mount St. Mary's, he would become the program's second YAIAA recruit in three years. Former William Penn standout Kelvin Parker started 26 games for the Mountaineers last season.
Nwandu, a lanky, 6-foot-2 combo guard, averaged 16.7 points as a junior for Bobcats. His mixture of size, skill and explosiveness should fit well into Christian's system, one Nwandu said will prioritize transition offense and ball-pressure defense.
"You take one look at him and you can see he's physically
Mount St. Mary's offer was the first for Nwandu, who had previously visited VCU while Christian was an assistant there last winter. A visit to East Carolina also had been in the works, but was cancelled after Nwandu made his commitment.
While Christian's hiring at Mount St. Mary's provided the initial draw, it was Nwandu's visit to the school that sealed the deal. He toured the campus and got a chance to work out with some of the Mount's players.
"It just seemed like a place I could mature and grow as a player," Nwandu said.
The guard still has another year to go at Northeastern, where the Bobcats finished 17-10 last season and made their second straight appearance in the PIAA Class AAA tournament. Nwandu said he's already at work honing his jump shot, the area of his offensive game he feels is most in need of refinement.
"It's really a blessing just to know that all the hard work you put in and all the hours you put in have paid off," Nwandu said.