The Hall of Fame coach showed Onuaku, who has struggled with free throws all his life, a video of Rick Barry. Barry played three decades ago and used the underhanded free throw during his 15-year ABA and NBA career.
"He told me my free-throw percentage would go up," Onuaku said. "And I took it as if I did that then my (NBA draft) stock would go up. I just started practicing it a lot."
Onuaku hit just 45.4 percent from the free-throw line as a senior at Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro, Md., and then hot just 14 of his 30 attempts during his freshman season at U of L.
"It's just an every day thing now for me," he said. "I feel comfortable doing it."
Pitino said recently that Onuaku started working on the granny style free throws during the middle of the season but wasn't ready to use it in a game. He finally used it with the U-19 team.
Onuaku said he "really likes" it now even if some folks look at him a little weird when he shoots the free throw.
"It's a softer shot," he said. "It feels like I am putting the ball in the basket. I don't mind it if I'm making them."
Onuaku averaged 3.0 points and 4.6 rebounds a game as a freshman at U of L. During the time with the U.S. team, Onuaku led the team with 12 blocked shots, while averaging 4.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals in seven games.