Big East Basketball Tournament - Syracuse v UCONN

The latest on Alex Oriakhi


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 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.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.