Today: May 29, 2024

Spoof: Oriakhi to transfer to Southern

Photo Illustration | Pete Paguaga
Oriakhi averaged 6.7 points per game last year for UConn; he also won a National
Championship with UConn in 2010-2011.

P. LONG Sports Writer

There is no secret that SCSU mens basketball has grown over the past couple of years under a new head coach. They are looking to compete at any cost in the deep Northeast-10 Conference.

The Owls might have found another bright spot, and this one could be the biggest so far.

There are some reports surfacing that the UConn’s junior center/forward, Alex Oriakhi, is openly interested in joining the up-and-coming Owls team next season.

Oriakhi was seeking to transfer from the UConn mens basketball program and had talked extensively with head coach Jim Calhoun about his options. There is no word on what other choices Oriakhi might have for next season but staying on the east coast could be an option.

“His presence on the court speaks for itself,” SCSU mens basketball head coach Michael Donnelly said. “He is big and can be powerful up front. He would need to get his hands on the ball to make any kind of impact. He played well during the national championship run at UConn and hopefully he can bring that here. I want him to be some kind of a mentor for us. We will put our best foot forward.”

This decision comes on the heels of reports the Huskies might not be eligible for the NCAA Tournament in 2013 due to low APR (Academic Performance Rankings) scores.

If UConn is ineligible to participate in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Oriakhi could play immediately at another school. If UConn is eligible for the tournament, Oriakhi could either come back to Storrs or have to sit out his final year of eligibility.

The NCAA’s Committee on Academic Performance have been reviewing whether it would be possible to use data from 2010- 11 and 2011-12 to determine eligibility.

Oriakhi has been searching to try and find a new team after UConn’s season abruptly ended in the first round of this year’s tournament to Iowa State.

Oriakhi will still explore other options and a decision on UConn’s eligibility might not come until the summer in light of recent allegations against the Huskies’ mens basketball team for next season.

Oriakhi averaged 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds this season after averaging 9.6 and 8.7 respectively as a sophomore.

Donnelly said he is excited to possibly add someone of Oriakhi’s caliber.

“We would have to start fresh with Alex,” he said. “He has shown some interest in trying to help the program and hopefully his presence will do that. He might also have him as a future coach on our staff if the situation arises. We hope this is something we can have an opportunity in.”

The Owls finished the 2011-12 season with a record of 14-13 overall and in fifth place in the Northeast-10 Conference at 12-10.

SCSU first-year assistant coach Colin Strong said he met Oriakhi when he was involved with pre-game preparations for the UConn women’s basketball team a couple of years back.

Strong, who will enter his second year with the Owls, can attest to Oriakhi’s presence on the court.

“Alex will be a strong asset to the team,” he said. “I had watched Alex play and thought it would be a good idea to see if this was a place where he would be interested in. He loves to play hard and work hard. Things did not work his way this season but he does have a role on any team with his big body up front. The staff will like to have him here and he will add some D-I experience, not to mention a national title.”

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