A Case For Oriakhi To BC

March 23, 2012

By Stephen Sikora, Heights Staff

ESPN.com and The Hartford Courant are reporting that Alex Oriakhi, a junior center from UConn, will transfer for the upcoming season because of the Huskies’ 2013 NCAA Tournament ban. As a sophomore last year, he averaged 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field. This year, his numbers, including his playing time, were down across the board, as he sometimes clashed with head coach Jim Calhoun. So why should he come to Boston College?

For one, he easily could. UConn is respected academically, and Oriakhi has stated that he achieved a 3.6 GPA during the most recent fall semester. So he fits in with the BC mission of high academic achievement. Oriakhi also could play right away, as according to ESPN.com, “The NCAA grants waivers for athletes to transfer if their previous school is ineligible for the postseason for the length of the players’ eligibility.” In addition, he’s from Lowell, Mass., a mere 45 minutes away from Chestnut Hill.

On the basketball court, Oriakhi would give the Eagles the defensive inside presence they desperately need. He’s averaged 1.5 blocks per game through his college career and has strong rebounding skills. Last year, the Eagles were the only team in the ACC to average less than 30 rebounds a game, and they were dead last in the league with a rebounding margin of -6. Playing Oriakhi would go a long way towards helping that weakness.

Moreover, he adds depth to a thin position. Dennis Clifford and KC Caudill are the only centers on the roster for BC. Head coach Steve Donahue added two guards but no frontcourt players in this year’s recruiting class. Donahue stated multiple times during the season that the young freshmen were playing more than they should have, especially Clifford. Oriakhi could take the lead inside for a year, and help Clifford and Caudill mature so they’ll be ready when they’re juniors.

This BC squad is a young group that can only get better as it grows together. With Ryan Anderson continuing to improve, if the guards can consistently make shots, BC has a chance at going .500 or better in the ACC next year. Rebounding and interior defense, however, could still be detriments to success. That’s why having Orhiaki come in for a year could be what gets the Eagles over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament.

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