Monday, July 18, 2011

Player Profile: Alex Oriakhi

Looking Back: There was a lot of pressure on Oriakhi to produce last year because of the departure of Ater Majok, leaving Oriakhi and Okwandu as the only experienced big men on the team. His freshman campaign was a bit underwhelming and he had a lot to prove in his sophomore season. While he battled hard on the boards and played solid defense in stretches, he never found the consistency to his game that Calhoun and the team needed. With all that said, he was the primary big man on the National championship team and did all the dirty work that this team needed for them to bring home the trophy.

The Good:
He still has a ton of muscle that he could add to his frame and with that added size, he should be able to clear some room in the paint for more boards and points. He does a good job of getting second chance points and doing the dirty work. He is solid defensively. He isn’t a fantastic shot blocker, but he doesn’t get beat too often in the post. While his numbers don’t reflect it, he has a nice free throw shot and should get the average around seventy percent. He also can knock down the fifteen footer, but defers a lot.

The Bad:
He is reluctant with his back to the basket and needs to run down court, set up position faster and make quicker moves to the basket. He has all the tools to be an All-Big East first team big man, but needs to show that he can draw the double team to free up the perimeter. He also had a hard time playing in long stretches because of some early foul trouble. He will need to be less aggressive early in ball games to avoid cheap fouls. He has a tendency to not block out and ball watch too much. He also isn’t the greatest passer out of double teams and has issues with teams swiping the ball from him.

Looking Ahead: This is a big season for Oriakhi. He needs to continue his progression and emerge as a top center in the Big East. He doesn’t have the height of a legitimate center but he has quickness and strength that can cause miss-matches. His goal this season is to average a double-double in each game. He’ll need to show more leadership on and off the court and take on the role as captain. If he can do all this, he can have a successful season.

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