Six-foot-10 center Goodluck Okonoboh, Rivals.com's No. 32 player in the Class 0f 2014, committed to UNLV on Thursday night, choosing the Rebels over Big Ten powers Ohio State and Indiana. Okonoboh was a key recruit for UNLV, which will definitely graduate reserve big man Carlos Lopez-Sosa after this season and may lose starter Khem Birch to the NBA draft as well.
The addition of Okonoboh puts UNLV coach Dave Rice in position to potentially assemble a monster 2014 class. Not only is explosive five-star swingman Dwayne Morgan already on board, UNLV will get a visit from five-star shooting guard Rashad Vaughn in November and appears to have as good a chance as anyone to land him.
What makes Okonoboh as significant as any other 2014 recruit for the Rebels is how well the Boston product fits into their trademark fast-paced system.
Okonoboh can ignite a fast break with his ability to block shots and control the defensive glass, skills that often draw him comparisons to fellow New England native Nerlens Noel. Okonoboh also runs the floor and finishes in transition well enough that he'll be able to get some easy buckets too in an up-tempo system, though his back-to-the-basket game on offense remains a work in progress.
UNLV fans will soon be as familiar with the story behind Okonoboh's unusual name as they are with his game. He shared the tale with the Las Vegas Review-Journal in July.
Shortly after Okonoboh's parents moved from Nigeria to Boston, his father was shot in the chest while driving a taxi cab. Doctors initially feared Okonoboh's father would die, but his condition soon improved dramatically. When Okonoboh was born a week later, his father named him "Goodluck" since he felt very lucky to get to be a father.
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