Despite an underwhelming junior season that started with so much promise, Alex Oriakhi is about to be treated like a star once again on the recruiting trail.
The UConn senior-to-be will be transferring elsewhere for his senior season, according to the Hearst Connecticut Media Group. The confirmation came from his father, Alex Oriakhi Sr.
Not only is the potential rebounding prowess that the 6-foot-9 Oriakhi brings to the table going to be attractive to a wealth of suitors, but so will the fact that Oriakhi likely won't have to sit out a season before being allowed to compete.
UConn is currently banned from the 2013 NCAA tournament due to a subpar academic progress rating, and off that ban remains — UConn is appealing — Oriakhi will receive a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to be eligible elsewhere immediately.
If the ban sticks, it could also potentially mean the departure of others at UConn, but that's purely speculation at this point.
And if the ban is lifted, Oriakhi will indeed have to redshirt next season before playing as a senior in 2013-14. But his father has indicated that Oriakhi will still transfer regardless.
So, here's the question: Do you want Oriakhi on your team?
A gifted rebounder, he hit his career peak as a sophomore, averaging 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Huskies as they got hot late and ran to an unexpected NCAA championship.
As a senior, though, with the presence of star freshman Andre Drummond, his minutes dipped from 29.1 per game as a sophomore to 21.5. In turn, he was wildly inconsistent, averaging a career-low 4.8 rebounds per game. He was twice benched during 3-game stretches, once in late November, then again in early February.
But he's always been a guy who coaches have feared, because when he's motivated, he can be as solid of a rebounder as you'll find in the country. In last year's Final Four, he grabbed a combined 21 boards in victories over Kentucky and Butler.
Coaches can tend to be wary of players who transfer before their senior transfers, but this one could be worth the risk for teams looking for immediate help to cure their rebounding woes.
Low risk, potentially very high reward.
There will likely be several coaches of high-major programs who look at it that way.
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