Question: Dom, kind of curious what your opinion is regarding [Alex] Oriakhi, his list of supposed schools and his impact at these schools. I’m not writing this to knock him, but he played against top level competition, was inconsistent and an offensive non factor for the better part of three years at UConn, although he showed flashes during their national championship season. While I still think he could be a solid rebounder, how much value does he bring to some of these schools for one year, and does his dad have as much influence as it seems? His situation boggles my mind.
A: Well, Todd, I see it like this: Alex is bound to draw a lot of interest from top programs because he is like a veteran baseball star willing to sign a one-year contact. He would be a low-risk get for one of the programs that have been mentioned, with a potential high reward. If a team is losing frong court players, Alex could come in and provide immediate, experienced help, and have more impact that most freshmen that could be had. A coach, too, could envision what Oriakhi did in the Final Four in 2011 and imagine he could recapture that, if he is back to his old position, with a change of scenery and fresh start. And a coach would probably have a different vision of what Oriakhi would look like surrounded by a different cast of characters.
If it all goes bust, what has a program lost? It gets the scholarship right back after one year and everyone moves on.
The risk is more on Oriakhi’s part. No coach can really guarantee playing time, or a role. Oriakhi will have to come in and compete for it and make an impression on a new coaching staff. So he will have to pick the place where, based on the roster, he envisions the best chance for success. As for Mr. Oriakhi, well, yes, readers of this blog know the man speaks his mind and a new school will have to be prepared to accept that.
Folks, BTW, I do have a number of your questions saved up and will try to get to them in the coming days.