Onobun's Eyes On Maples Today

Though it feels like the college basketball season is just hitting its peak, many high school teams are about to wind up their season. That means we could soon see some visits from some top juniors, and one of them mulling that option is Houston forward phenom Fendi Onobun. He has Stanford high on his list, and another school of equal interest happens to be visiting Maples Pavilion today...

Many college basktball fans and analysts will tune in today at 3pm Eastern (noon Pacific) to watch #2 Arizona at Maples Pavilion. The yearly face-offs between these West Coast elite powers have been critical determinants in the Pac-10 conference race, but this year there might be some recruiting prizes on the table. There are already a few Top 100 national talents in the 2005 class with the Cardinal and Cats are jockeying for position, and one junior fab forward from Texas has the two schools as his leaders.

6'6" combo forward Fendi Onobun from Alief (TX) Taylor says he is sitting in front of his television this afternoon watching the Stanford-Arizona game with plenty of personal interest.

"I want to watch the style of play of each team," he offers. "And I want to watch the future position I'm going to end up playing - see what they do."

Onobun has the size that's perhaps more suited for a small forward, but he has the strength, hops and low-post ability that makes you think power forward. College coaches are watching him with interest during his junior season at Alief Taylor, and will watch again this spring and summer with his Houston Hoops AAU team, but Onobun gives a clue to what kind of player he thinks he'll be at the college level.

"Most likely I'll be focused on Andre Iguodala for Arizona," he said.

It has to be a wonderful relief for the high school junior to watch high level basketball like we expect today, given the tribulations he and his team have endured at home. With many internal fights and frustrations, a handful of starters and upperclassmen have quit his high school team, taking a somewhat young team and making them even younger. Taylor is 16-15 on the year, with just three more games left.

"This was the quickest season I've ever had," he remarks. "I'm just looking forward to the summer."

Onobun has been a dominant player in the paint in the early parts of his high school career, but this year he and his Taylor teammates are seeing zone defenses every single game. That has forced him to move his game more to the perimeter. He is averaging 14 points and seven boards this year. In his most recent game, a rare win to snap a Taylor losing streak, Onobun managed a gutty 12 points in just 10 minutes of play after being saddled with quick foul trouble.

The Houston forward has offers today from Arizona and Kansas. The Cardinal and Wildcats are his two current leaders, though he is careful to state that he is open to all interested schools at this point.

Three schools that have been in recent contact are the three Pac-10 members of his top six. UCLA has written him to say that they are coming soon to one of his last games. Arizona is regularly calling his high school coach. And Stanford assistant coach Russell Turner just recently sent a letter inquiring about a visit to The Farm.

"I'm going to try to call all three tomorrow and see what's up," Onobun adds.
CAT TRACKS' ANALYSIS: Onubun is one of the Cats' primariy targets in Texas. When we saw him last spring he was still raw, but had amazing athleticism. By all accounts he's refined his game and should be a top-tier prospect.

The Cats have been on him early and have the natural tie with Hal Pastner's Houston Hoops program. He's already taken an unofficial visit and will most likely have the Cats in his final three.

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