Highly touted forward/center Chinanu Onuaku has committed to play at Louisville. The Riverdale Baptist senior chose the defending national champion Cardinals over Georgetown and Miami during a Friday afternoon ceremony at the Upper Marlboro school.
After averaging 8.2 points and more than 10 rebounds as a junior in helping lead the Crusaders to the Capital Beltway League title, Onuaku saw his stock elevate during an impressive summer AAU showing with D.C. Assault.
On Friday, Onuaku teased the crowd inside Riverdale Baptist’s gym, where three hats sat on a table in front of him. Onuaku picked up the Georgetown hat first, and acted as if he was going to put it on before placing it back on the table. He followed suit with the Miami hat, before choosing Louisville. The decision was made a few weeks ago, he said, and it was painful keeping the exciting secret concealed.
It’s kind of hard. I didn’t want to tell nobody, because everybody kept asking me where I was going,” Onuaku said. “I didn’t want it to get on Twitter or Facebook or anything like that. I’m very excited.”
Blessed with length and athleticism, the 6-foot-10 post player is a strong rebounder on the offensive and defensive glass and provides a capable last line of defense with his shot-blocking ability. Though his offensive skills are still raw in some areas, Onuaku can knock down the open jumper and has displayed his evolving post moves this summer.
“I think they are getting a player who is very good on the defensive end, capable of changing shots and challenging shots,” Crusaders Coach Lou Wilson said. “They are also getting a great rebounder and on the offensive side, a skilled big man who can make terrific passes in the halfcourt and terrific outlet passes. His offensive skils aren’t refined just yet, but he’s a very capable offensive player. He really brings a lot to the table.”
Onuaku doesn’t plan on red-shirting, and is confident he will step in and contribute scoring and shot blocking for legendary coach Rick Pitino right away, as well bring “heart.”
“I play hard every game and give it my all,” Onuaku said. “It’s going to be fun [playing for Pitino].”
While Louisville may be the defending national champion, the decision went much deeper than prestige, Onuaku said. He simply felt comfortable with the coaching staff and players during the recruitment process.
“They made me feel like they were going to care about me and take care of me, while I’m away,” he said.