Looking Back: Alex Oriakhi had a tough time adjusting to Big East play. He would be out of position on numerous occasions and was foul prone, never getting into any type of flow. He was an offensive liability with most of his scoring coming five feet from the basket. Even with all that, he was UConn’s best rebounder. There was a lot of pressure put on his shoulders with the exodus of Thabeet and Adrien and with little time for adjustment, he stumbled.
The Good: He has the ability to be a big time bruiser. He has a frame that can handle a two hundred-plus weight and still be nimble enough for a post game. While he fouled a lot when he is playing defense, he did a solid job. His strength is an asset in the rebounding department and once he gets his hands on the ball, it is secured. Even with his physical style of play , he is still a good shot blocker.
The Bad: He is lacking an offensive game and looked uncomfortable with his back to the basket. His free throw shooting wasn’t great, and he fouled early and often. For being a solid rebounder, he did give up far too many offensive boards by not blocking out and ball watching. He also needs to demand the ball in the post and fight harder on setting up position and getting back on defense. He was beat down the floor on numerous occasions last season.
Looking Ahead: Oriakhi should be much better in all areas. He should be bigger and better adjusted to the rigors of Big East play. He still has a ton of talent that made him a McDonald’s All-American. He just has to put it all together and get confidence. With Edwards gone, much of the responsibility for the pick and roll offense will be on his shoulders and he will need to be effective to let the guards have opportunities. He should not only be one of the most improved players on the team, but also in the conference.
(Video has swears in it)