After spending three seasons in Storrs, Alex Oriakhi will take his skills to Missouri to team-up with former teammate Phil Pressey. The Tigers announced the Lowell native would officially transfer to Missouri in a release Friday afternoon.
Oriakhi will be eligible to play for the Tigers immediately because UConn is ineligible for the postseason due to a NCAA violations. The talented forward averaged 7.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in 109 games with the Huskies, including 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds his sophomore season when UConn won the National Championship.
He should have a chance to make an immediate impact for the Tigers who are losing their top two forwards from a team that went 30-5 and earned a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. With seniors Ricardo Ratliffe (35 starts) and Steven Moore (16.1 minutes per game), leaving Oriakhi will compete for a starting spot with several other new players head coach Frank Haith is bringing for the 2012-13 season.
In the statement released on mutigers.com, Haith had this to say about Oriakhi:
Oriakhi was also being pursued by Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Xavier but the allure of starting and playing with Pressey, the team's point guard, who played with Oriakhi in youth basketball in Boston was enough to send him to Missouri.
WIth Oriakhi transferring and freshmen forward Andre Drummond declaring for the NBA Draft Thursday, UConn will have to rely on sophomore forwards Tyler Olander and Roscoe Smith and freshmen DeAndre Daniels. The trio combined for just 35 starts on the year and none of the players averaged more than 4.4 points or 3.9 rebounds per game.