Earlier this week, University of Connecticut center Alex Oriakhi was granted his release from the UConn basketball program. Oriakhi is a 6'9" 240-pound center who was a key piece of UConn's 2011 national championship run. Oriakhi averaged 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds this past season after averaging almost 9.6 points and 8.7 rebounds as a sophomore.
The 21year-old senior-to-be informed the UConn staff of his intent to transfer last week, citing as his reason for transferring the expectation that UConn will be academically ineligible for next season's NCAA tournament. It's expected that Oriakhi would be able to play immediately at another school.
Earlier this week, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Oriakhi's father, Alex Sr., who indicated that his son intends to transfer to another school, and to begin taking classes at his new school as early as this June.
According to Oriakhi's father, who said that he is "very much involved" in his son's decision, Oriakhi is "talking to every school in the book". Oriakhi senior indicated that his son will be eligible to play right away at his new school.
"Missouri is one of them," said Oriakhi senior. "There are a bunch of (schools). They are all high majors. There are many schools. But, Missouri is absolutely one of them."
Oriakhi senior described Missouri point guard Phil Pressey as "like my son", and indicated that Phil Pressey and his son are "primary friends".
I also spoke to the younger Oriakhi, who indicated that he would be visiting Missouri within the "next couple of weeks". He also confirmed that he will be enrolled at his new school, and taking classes, in June.
"This will be one of the most important decisions of my life. I'm just really taking my time, and critiquing every school," said Oriakhi. "It will definitely be before (June)."
Oriakhi said that he is receiving interest from "just about everyone". He said that he doesn't really have a narrowed list. He said that he does plan to visit Missouri within the next couple of weeks. He acknowledged his close relationship with Phil Pressey, and their prior history as AAU teammates. He said that he has taken every available opportunity to see Missouri play, because of his near kin-ship with Pressey.
ShowMeMizzou.com will have more on Alex Oriakhi's transfer as it unfolds.