Chinanu Onuaku

Louisville big man heading to NBA Draft

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After a day of mixed messages, Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku finally made it official.

He’s staying in the NBA Draft.

“After talking to my family and going through the NBA process,” Onuaku wrote in an Instagram post, “me and my family have decided that it would be best for me to keep my name in the draft.”

The day started out with Cardinals coach Rick Pitino telling multiple media outlets that the 6-foot-10 sophomore would remain in the draft after he declared last month without an agent and attended the draft combine. Onuaku, though, appeared to at least mildly refute that with an Instagram post that said his decision wouldn’t come until later Wednesday evening. Which it did, confirming Pitino’s words.

The confusion may have been frustrating for observers, but Onuaku’s social media presence no doubt has benefited from the bizarre day.

Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game last season, making his per-40 numbers, a metric NBA teams like to take into consideration, nothing short of fantastic. He also shot a not-so-shabby 62.0 percent from the floor. His size, athleticism and ability to score around the basket (he’s taken one 3-pointer in two seasons) make him a potential first-round selection in next month’s draft.

The 19-year-old Onuaku underwent a procedure on his heart last week due to Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It has been described as a minor procedure that will not affect his ability to play long-term or work out with teams leading up to the draft.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, should be able to absorb Onuaku’s loss seemlessly as they return the bulk of last year’s team that went 23-8 and was ranked 10th in KenPom, but was banned from the postseason as a result of the Katina Powell bombshell. Newcomers Tony Hicks (Penn transfer) and V.J. King (consensus top-30 recruit) will also make for solid additions.

No. 22 Louisville cruises past Eastern Michigan 86-53

Associated Press
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Damion Lee scored 16 points, all in the second half, and No. 22 Louisville shot 53 percent from the field to overwhelm Eastern Michigan 86-53 on Saturday.

Louisville (7-1) torched another opponent in shooting better than 50 percent for the seventh time in eight games this season. The Cardinals entered the game leading the country in scoring margin at more than 30 points a game.

Quentin Snider scored 13 points, Chinanu Onuaku had 12 and Ray Spalding and Trey Lewis added 11 each for Louisville. The Cardinals had 20 assists on 31 field goals.

Raven Lee led Eastern Michigan (6-4) with 19 points. Freshman James Thompson IV had 12 points and 13 rebounds to earn his sixth straight double-double. Eastern Michigan shot 30 percent (19 of 64) from the field.

Lee, Louisville’s leading scorer at 19 points per game, was held scoreless in the first half and the Cardinals appeared hesitant to attack Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone early, relying on five 3s in the first 10 1/2 minutes to gain an early edge. Thompson’s jumper cut the Louisville lead to one before a 7-0 run in 70 seconds made it 16-8 midway through the opening half.

Spalding and Snider, both local products, filled Lee’s void as the Cardinals worked together to score. Spalding had six points, two rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in the opening half while Snider had 10 points. Snider’s floater at the buzzer gave Louisville a 37-21 lead.

A 10-0 Louisville burst to start the second half put the game out of reach at 47-21. Lee later capped an 8-0 run with consecutive 3s that gave Louisville a 62-30 lead with 12:18 to play. Spalding and Onuaku had seven rebounds each for Louisville.

TIP-INS

Eastern Michigan: The Eagles had nine steals after entering third in the nation (11.4 per game). … The Eagles had won four of their last five games. . Louisville and Eastern Michigan both lost at now-No. 1 Michigan State.

Louisville: The Cardinals entered leading the nation in rebounding margin (18.9) and scoring margin (30.3). They are second in scoring defense with 55.7 points allowed per game. . Lewis scored 11 points to go above 1,200 for his career. The graduate transfer played his first three seasons with Penn State and Cleveland State.

UP NEXT

Eastern Michigan visits Coppin State on Dec. 21.

Louisville hosts Kennesaw State on Wednesday.

Chinanu Onuaku shoots free throws Ricky Barry style (VIDEO)

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USA Basketball U19 opened up preliminary play in the 2015 FIBA World Championships with an 83-53 win over Iran at the Heraklion Indoor Sports Arena on the island of Crete in Greece.

Louisville rising sophomore center Chinanu Onuaku played 13 minutes off the bench, scoring two points — both from the free throw line — in the win. During training camp in Colorado Springs, it was reported that the 6-foot-9 Onuaku, who shot 47 percent from the free throw line this past season — would shoot his free throws underhanded, a la Hall of Famer Rick Barry.

Onuaku was fouled with 4:03 remaining in the first quarter, and as seen in the video above, sunk his free throw with his new granny-style stroke. However, Onuaku would go on to miss two of his next three attempts from the line.

USA Basketball U19 continues with Group A preliminary play on Sunday when it takes on Croatia.

ACC suspends Louisville junior forward Montrezl Harrell one game

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Saturday afternoon Louisville junior forward Montrezl Harrell was ejected from the Cardinals’ win at Western Kentucky for his role in an altercation during the first half of the game. The question asked by many was whether or not Harrell was ejected for fighting, which would result in an automatic one-game suspension and the possibility of being suspended for the remainder of the season if that were to occur in another game.

Harrell was not ejected for fighting but rather a flagrant 2 foul, but the ACC had the final say as to whether or not the All-America candidate would be suspended for Louisville’s game Tuesday against CSUN. Sunday afternoon the conference announced that Harrell has been suspended for that game.

“The Atlantic Coast Conference has issued a one game suspension to Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell after he received a flagrant foul two during the Cardinals’ game against Western Kentucky on Saturday,” the statement read. “The suspension will be served by Harrell in Louisville’s next game against CSU-Northridge on Tuesday.

“The ACC considers the matter closed and will not have further comment.”

Without Harrell the Cardinals will rely even more upon front court players such as freshmen Anas Mahmoud and Chinanu Onuaku, and sophomore Mangok Mathiang. Mahmoud played 23 minutes off the bench Saturday, accounting for six points, five rebounds and three blocks. Onuaku got the start Saturday and finished with four points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Following Tuesday’s game the Cardinals will host top-ranked Kentucky next Saturday.