Alex Oriakhi was part of the mass exodus from Connecticut after a postseason ineligibility ruling from the NCAA. He landed in Missouri and, after Friday’s win over Nicholl’s State, it looks like Oriakhi is settling in nicely with coach Frank Haith and the Tigers.
Oriakhi had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds in Missouri’s 74-54 win over Nicholl’s State Friday.
“I think Coach Haith is just doing a great job at giving me confidence, and I think as a player, that’s what any basketball player needs,” said Oriakhi.
“Honestly, I feel I’m not really much of an offensive player, but Coach Haith is doing a great job of emphasizing throwing the ball to me and I feel when they double team me I’m going to be able to make plays as well.”
Through three games, Oriakhi is averaging 12.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, while leading the team with 1.7 blocks per contest.
“We got to keep throwing the ball inside to Alex and establish that as an emphasis to who we are as a basketball team,” said Haith. “We’re going to keep going to him, even though I think it’s a little different for him. But it’s an important part of who we are as a basketball team.”
The Tigers now head to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thursday, when they play Stanford. It will be their first test against a BCS opponent.
“We all came to Mizzou to play our best, so I think guys are real excited. It will definitely be a true test,” said Oriakhi. “We are going to play guys just as big and just as athletic as us, so I think we are ready. This is what we are going to face at the end of the season.”