State Checks In With Oriakhi

Alex Oriakhi confirmed today that NC State has officially contacted him after he received his release from the University of Connecticut.

Alex Oriakhi confirmed today that NC State has officially contacted him after he received his release from the University of Connecticut.

"NC State is one of the schools that I've talked to already," said Oriakhi. "I spoke with the head coach and with assistant Orlando Early. They said they didn't know if they were going to lose C.J. Leslie or not, but they are always recruiting guys who can play right away so they would like for me to take a visit if I could."

What does Oriakhi think of NC State's program?

"Well, I don't know too much about them or a lot of the schools because all I pretty much know is UCONN right now," he said. "But, I know a lot of the guys on the team at NC State. I've definitely watched some of their games, and in talking to the coaches I know they run a lot of their offense through their big men.

"C.J. Leslie had a really good year for them and so did Richard Howell, so I know they use their big men a lot."

A rising senior, Oriakhi has played a lot of basketball for the Huskies. As a junior he averaged 9.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, helping lead UCONN to a national title. This past season his numbers dipped to 6.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks, but he knows that his skillset is a valuable commodity.

"It was definitely a frustrating experience because we had high expectations and we didn't meet those expectations," Oriakhi said of his junior season. "It's hard when you come off a year like we did with winning a national championship and then we lose in the first round. It's tough.

"I think I'm a winner. I try to bring a winning mentality. I'm a team-first guy and a defensive presence. I like to rebound and block shots, that's my foundation, but I think I can score too."

Oriakhi's reason for transferring is simple... he wants to play in the NCAA tournament his senior season and UCONN's potential postseason ban in 2013 would prevent that from happening. Because of the ban, Oriakhi is expected to receive a waiver to be eligible to play right away, which makes him even more appealing.

"The plan is for me to be eligible to play right away," he stated. "I just have to see what happens the next few days and find out what the official ruling will be."

Once word leaked out that Oriakhi received his release he admitted that college coaches have been in constant contact with him and/or his family.

"There have been a lot of schools to contact me already," said Oriakhi. "Iowa, Iowa State, NC State, UNC, Duke, Missouri, Kentucky, Florida, Xavier, George Mason, Hofstra, UCLA, USC, Washington, and Gonzaga... those are some of them off the top of my head."

Oriakhi committed early in the process to UCONN, so he didn't get to experience the recruiting process. In fact, he only took one official visit. Don't expect him to make a quick decision this time around.

"I'm going to take my time with it," he said. "This time I have to get the decision right. I can't rush everything. It's a matter of taking visits and critiquing every school.

"There is no timeframe at all. I'm just taking my time. This is going to be the biggest decision I have to make so I want to get it right."

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