According to reports on Twitter from CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman Duke is actively pursuing soon to be former UConn big man Alex Oriakhi. Oriakhi, a 6-foot-9 center announced he would transfer with the serious possibility that UConn could be facing a post season ban due to the program failing to meet minimum NCAA academic requirements.
A senior, Oriakhi may not have to sit out a season as is often required for college transfers, if UConn is not allowed to participate in the NCAA Tournament. However, if a pending appeal is ruled in favor of the Huskies, then Oriakhi would have to sit out.
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As a sophomore Oriakhi helped the Huskies win the 2011 National Championship, but without star Kemba Walker, the 2012 version was not as good and did not make it out of the first round of the tournament as a No. 9 seed.
Oriakhi averaged 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds, a drop off from his 2011 numbers where he averaged almost 10 points and 9 rebounds.
His junior year was marred by controversy as he not once but twice publicly criticized UConn coach Jim Calhoun on Twitter.
And while I'm not a fan of Calhoun per se, I'm not a fan of any player publicly criticizing their coach and referring to him as an idiot.
Oriakhi's drop off and lack of consistency this year is not something, in my opinion that Duke particularly needs. I'm a bit surprised if the Blue Devils are in fact recruiting him, unless the public criticism was just blown out of proportion.
Still that does not give me a very positive view of a kid.
Granted Oriakhi is academically very capable of doing the work at Duke, so I can fully respect if he has interest in the program in that regard, but with only one year of eligibility, the decision to transfer is clearly more about basketball than it is about his education.
Personally I would not be at all upset if Oriakhi passes on Duke but it is a situation we will be sure to keep an eye on so stay tuned.
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