The nation’s most sought-after transfer is Alex Oriakhi.
A senior-to-be and a former national champion, Oriakhi is one of the few players available that is good enough to have an instant and significant impact where he ends up. The former UConn Husky is eligible immediately due to a rule the NCAA has where players can transfer without penalty if the remainder of their eligibility at their original school would have been played under a postseason ban. UConn is ineligible for the postseason due to their APR issues.
We already knew that Oriakhi had a top five of Kentucky, Xavier, Missouri, North Carolina and Duke, but Adam Zagoria provided us with an update on the status of his re-recruitment:
Over the last couple of days, UConn junior power forward Alex Oriakhi met at his Lowell, Mass., home with Kentucky coach John Calipari, Xavier coach Chris Mack and Missouri coach Frank Haith.
Oriakhi later confirmed a report by CBSSports.com that he plans to visit Missouri next weekend (April 13) and Kentucky the following weekend.
To be frank, I’m not sure if Kentucky will be the best fit for Oriakhi. He had a number of issues at UConn, but the core of the problem was that UConn brought in the No. 1 center recruit in the country in Andre Drummond. Oriakhi and Drummond couldn’t share the floor because they were both limited to the center spot. Calipari is currently recruiting center Nerlens Noel and power forward Anthony Bennett very hard. If he lands those two freshmen, will Oriakhi be ok with coming off of the bench again?
Both Xavier and Missouri seem to be better situations for Oriakhi to walk into. With the Musketeers, he’ll be able to slide in and fill the void left by Kenny Frease. But Xavier may end up have a down year with Tu Holloway’s graduation. At Missouri, not only will he be taking over for Ricardo Ratliffe, he’ll be joining a team with an incredibly talented back court — Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon — and a perfect front line compliment in Laurence Bowers, who is coming off of ACL surgery. Throw in fellow transfers Jabari Brown, Keion Bell and Earnest Ross, and Oriakhi’s addition could make the Tigers the SEC favorite.