Alex Oriakhi celebrated a national championship with UConn in 2011. Now, the forward is ready to do his part for No. 15 Missouri.
The Tigers were a 30-win team and No. 2 NCAA regional seed in coach Frank Haith's first season. Hopes are high for the second season that begins Saturday against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, despite a radically remade roster.
Oriakhi is among a group of heralded additions to a team that has just one returning starter, preseason SEC player of the year Phil Pressey, but also has dynamic forward Laurence Bowers back after missing last season with a knee injury. Missouri opens the season without guard Michael Dixon, perhaps the nation's top sixth man last season, for violating team rules.
''There's definitely a lot of excitement,'' Oriakhi said. ''I remember in the summertime we were just talking about `We can't wait for the season.' That's all we talked about, `the season, the season.'