Hal Pastner sheds light on Onobun

Talk to anyone about Fendi Onobun and you'll hear about his potential. He is a fast rising player in the class of 2005, but with his commitment to the Wildcats Wednesday night he's off the board. He may not be as highly rated as some players in the class, but much to the lament of the nation's top programs.

"Coaches from programs like Stanford, UConn and Texas were all calling me to find out if it was true," said Hal Pastner, founder of the Houston Hoops, Onobun's AAU team. "He's a high, high, high level kid."

Pastner may be a bit biased, he's known Onobun since he was nine years old, but he has nothing but high praise for the 6-7 combo forward.

"He's 6-7, a tremendous leaper, a tremendous athlete, a tremendous player," Pastner said. "He's got loads of upside ahead of him. He's good now, but he's only going to get better."

As impressed as he is with Onobun on the court, Pastner seems more taken by the person off the court. He spent more time talking about his off the field accomplishments as he did with his on-court ability.

"He's got a 4.0, he's a great student," Pastner informed. "He's involved with student council. He's just a solid citizen off the floor as well as being a terrific player."

Some Wildcat fans may wonder why the team scooped up Onobun when some higher rated players on the board are seriously considering the Cats. Fact is, the Cats have been evaluating him since he was very young.

Pastner compares it to the Jawann McClellan situation. Many wondered back then why the Cats would take a commitment from a relatively unknown sophomore. McClellan proved the Cats' faith in him was correct by winning numerous honors and being named a McDonald's All-American. Pastner feels that Onobun will pay similar dividends.

Onobun is very athletic, but a little raw. He has made vast improvements since last summer but is by no means even close to topping out his ability.

"One of the reasons to be so excited about Fendi is that he is still improving," Pastner said. "He's got so much upside ahead of him."

Upside, there's that word again. He's one player where the description is apt. When we saw him play last spring we were intrigued with the potential that he possessed and then could envision him as an elite prospect with some polishing.

Just a few weeks ago Onobun told us that he was in no rush to make a decision, but that all changed as Lute Olson and Josh Pastner came to visit him at his school on Wednesday. His longtime relationship with the Pastners and the chance to play for Olson were just too much too enticing to say no to.

"He looked at Coach Olson, his 20 straight years in the NCAA Tournament, the high winning percentage, the fact he is a hall of famer and he's put as many players in the NBA as anyone," Pastner said, running down the list of accomplishments. "Plus he's known Josh since he was young. In recruiting there has got to be a certain manner of trust and he and Josh has that. His dad really admires Josh, so that helped."

Onobun had a great first day at the Las Vegas Easter Classic. The Houston Hoops destroyed Emerald City Pioneers and Onobun was impressive.

"He looked very good," said Cat Tracks reader Terry Steffan. "He can really leap and he loves to dunk."

While many recruiting analysts and college basketball fans are still learning about Onobun, Wildcat fans are getting aquatinted with their new forward. There is lot to like about the athletic forward, most notably his work ethic and raw athleticism.

"This is a great pick-up for the Wildcats," Pastner said. "He's a great basketball player, a great athlete and a solid citizen."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories