Background: Four-star center Chinanu Onuaku has been one of the most steadily developing post players in the class of 2014. The future Louisville Cardinal is now in his senior season at Upper Marlboro (Md.) Riverdale Baptist and he is off to a very good start.
On Offense: This has always been a work in progress for Onuaku, and it still is. That said, he is clearly making strides. Onauku is one of the hardest playing bigs in the country and he showed that on a pair of occasions this season.
What Onuanku lacks in refined game, he makes up for with athleticism, long arms, and effort. Onuaku might not have the best touch around the rim, and his misses a good number of shots inside, but he competes for offensive rebounds, and by doing that gets the defense out of position.
Also Onuaku is developing a bit of a touch out to 12 feet when facing the rim. This allows him to slip into the mid-range after setting screens and makes him somebody that the opposing defense at least needs to account for on every possession.
The most important thing is that Onuaku clearly works hard and is getting better. Even though he is still raw on the offensive end, he is improving. That improvement has been steady and noticeable over the past two seasons.
With that, Onauku is someone who likely will be better as a scorer when he gets to college as opposed to what he is right now in high school. While that is rare, with big guys it isn't completely unheard of.
On Defense: This is where Onuaku is at his best, and the scary thing is he continues to get better at his craft. Now that he is continuing to get stronger, Onuaku is getting to be even more of a force on the low block. He has always been known for his rebounding and shot blocking, and those skills just keep on getting better.
Onuaku is someone who has the rare skill of good timing when blocking shots while also not picking up a ton of fouls. He knows how to block shots, and by that I mean he doesn't leave his feet too early, and blocks shots with as much positioning as anything.
He is a kid who can block shots both on the ball and off the ball, which is something you don't see too often. Also he manages to block shots with both arms, which is very rare. Being able to do that and take away the rim is invaluable, especially with the added emphasis on cutting down on hand checking.
Beyond that, Onauku is also an excellent rebounder. He really pursues the ball off the defensive glass, and gets rebounds that are in his area as well as out of his area. Onuaku is also a pretty good outlet passer once he gets the defensive board.
If there is one thing that Onuaku has to improve on it is that he allows deep post position a little too easily, but that should be remedied with added lower body strength once he gets into a college strength and conditioning program.
Overall: This is an interesting fit because Louisville is going to need Onuaku to produce right away, and he actually works perfectly in their defensive system, but also at the same time he needs to develop and could stand some added seasoning. Because of need he probably won't be able to learn from the bench, which would be ideal, but what he does well is exactly what Louisville needs.
A four-star already, it is possible that Onuaku could get a modest bump in the rankings because he is continually improving and keeps showing that he is someone who could fit in, in the college game even if he is raw on the offensive end.
Onuaku is a hard worker and somebody who really takes pride in what he does, so he should fit right in with Rick Pitino and find himself a very solid role in what should be a very good Louisville team.