``He's always looked up to Jawann McClellan and with him there and a Hall of Fame coach in Lute Olson, it was a no-brainer," said Hal Pastner of the Houston Hoops, Onobun's AAU coach.
It is sort of comical, Onobun visited Tucson just a week and a half ago and despite a great visit, he said that he was in no rush to pull the trigger.
Whether that was a ruse or how he really felt at the time is not known, but what is known is that he has long been interested in the Wildcats. He took an unofficial visit a year ago, and camp back the last weekend in March. He has long maintained that he is close to players and staff members and that looks to have sealed the deal.
"I've known the guys for over a year now," Onobun said after the visit. "I met them early in 2003 when I visited."
Onobun is a versatile player who can play either forward spot. He gives the team a very athletic, mobile player who will hit the boards, but can also score from the perimeter. When I saw him play last spring I was taken by his great athleticism and activity, and I've been told that he looks even better now.
"When the summer's over, people are going to realize how good he is," Pastner said. "He's a terrific athlete and a great rebounder."
Expect Onobun to come in and push for time at both small and power forward. Odds are he'll be coming into a situation where the small forward spot will be wide open. It would be highly unlikely to find Hassan Adams and Andre Iguodala still in a Wildcat uniform in the fall of 2005. Although there will be more establish players in the post, Onobun's best chance at immediate playing time could be at the four, a spot he is more ready to play.
Of course, if he keeps making drastic improvements as he has made it a habit of doing, don't count him out at the wing spot.
His commitment is just the next in a long line of players from the Houston Hoops to commit to the Wildcats. In '02 NBA bound Ndudi Ebi signed with the Wildcats. McClellan will be in Tucson in the fall and '06 prodigy Nic Wise committed last summer to the team.
The pipeline may not end there. There are at least four more players the Wildcats are looking at on the roster. The staff met with Rashad Woods, a 6-7 small forward, this week and are busy evaluating the promising recruit.
6-9 forward Chris Rocquemore could be one of the top bigs in the class of 2006. He originally committed to Baylor, but soon realized he needed to look at other options. Arizona appears to be one of those options and the presence of at least three AAU teammates should help.
The most intriguing pair is Martellus Bennett and Jermichael Finley. Both are probably better football players than they are basketball players, but are good enough to play both sports at the next level. They both have offers from the UA football team and a promise from the basketball team that they can join the squad when the football season is over. For now, Arizona fans should be pleased and intrigued with Onobun. He can do so many things and is only going to get better. He has been such a hard worker and seems to have the drive to try to become a special player. With his versatility and athleticism he should thrive in Arizona's up-tempo attack.
Onobun is playing in the Las Vegas Easter Classic this weekend, but we hope to get in touch with him at the event.
Quotes from a story by Jeff Goodman were used in the story