Oriakhi Discusses Future As A Tiger

The Missouri Tigers scored a major pick up when UCONN big man Alex Oriakhi decided to transfer to the SEC and Mizzou. Oriakhi spoke with ShowMeMizzou.com recently after everything has settled in and looks ahead to his new team and his future this year.

ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with new Missouri big man, Alex Oriakhi, to get his thoughts about all things Mizzou.  Oriakhi is planning to arrive at Missouri the first week of June.

"As early as possible,"  was Oriakhi's reply, when I asked him when he would be arriving at Missouri.  

He'll be taking classes at Missouri during the summer.  He'll also be working on his basketball game.

Oriakhi talked about getting an early start on his final season of college basketball.  He said that he's looking forward to Missouri's mid-August trip to Europe.

"It'll be good team bonding,"   began Oriakhi.    "I'm excited!  We'll get to practice, too."

Oriakhi was born in the U.S.  His parents emigrated from Nigeria.  He shared his thoughts about the 2012-2013 Missouri Tigers.

"We're going to try to win every game that we play,"  said Oriakhi.  "I think the team is very athletic.   It could be very, very good defensively.   It's also very talented.   I think we can go as far as we want to.   But, it's all on us.  I've been on talented teams that in the end didn't produce as much as we should have.   I think it's all about team chemistry."  

"As for me, I'm coming in to be the defensive presence that the team needs,"  contnued Oriakhi, explaining his individual role on the team.   "I'll just try to control the paint, you know, rebound, block shots, guard the other team's best post player, things like that.   I'm a defense-first guy.   I think scoring and things like that will take care of itself.  I'm going to focus on rebounding and things like that."

I asked Oriakhi if he'll be able to score the way that Ricardo Ratliffe did?

"I think that I'll be able to help,"  explained Oriakhi.   "With Laurence (Bowers) back, and I'll be there, it'll be a different look than last year.  I'll be able to help, because I'll be able to help block shots, and I'll be able to control the paint.  I think I'm a player who can fit into any system, because you don't have to run any type of plays for me.  You know, I'm a defensive-oriented player.  I feel that I can fit in pretty much anywhere."

"The way that Phil passes, he gives it to you where there's nobody around," continued Oriakhi. "If he gives you the ball in the right spot consistently in games, I think it's possible. I wouldn't say seventy percent. What Ricardo (Ratliffe) did was really amazing! Hopefully, I can do something close to it."

Oriakhi told me that he can finish with either hand.

"Ricardo knew what he could and couldn't do,"    Oriakhi astutely observed.  "That was the best thing about it.   He knows what he can and can't do.    I'm the same way."

One thing that I've learned about Oriakhi is that he has a high basketball I.Q.  He's a team-oriented player who seems to have a real good understanding of what it takes to win, and how to fit in to help his team win.

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