Columbia, Mo. The University of Missouri men's basketball program has added a highly-regarded big man to help the Tigers for the 2012-13 season, as Alex Oriakhi, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward, will attend Mizzou. Oriakhi will have one year of eligibility remaining after transferring from the University of Connecticut, where he helped lead the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA Championship as a sophomore. Oriakhi has signed a financial aid agreement to attend Mizzou, as announced by Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith.
Oriakhi, a native of Lowell, Mass., averaged 7.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 109 games over the past three seasons at UCONN. He turned in career-best averages of 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds during his sophomore season as the Huskies won the 2011 NCAA title, with Oriakhi playing a major role in the tournament run. He scored 11 points and added 11 rebounds and four blocked shots in the national title game against Butler. He also contributed eight points, 10 rebounds and a block in the national semi-final win over Kentucky. An outstanding shot-blocker, Oriakhi swatted 166 shots in his 109 games at UCONN.
The 2009 Gatorade High School Player of the Year in New Hampshire and a McDonald's Prep All-American, Oriakhi will be reunited with current Tiger guard Phil Pressey. The two were teammates previously together for the Boston Amateur Basketball Club.
"We're very excited to add a talented and proven player like Alex to our program," said Haith. "Addressing our front court depth has been a major emphasis of ours for this next year, and when you add Alex to a group of newcomers including Stefan Jankovic, Ryan Rosburg and Tony Criswell, we are definitely heading the right direction. Alex is a very hard worker, he's somebody who we expect to fit into our program's culture right away. He will do whatever he's asked to help the team, and he can impact a game any number of ways, whether it's scoring, rebounding or defending," Haith said.