Can Alex Oriakhi Bounce Back With Missouri?

        Former UConn Husky and National Champion will attempt to jump-start his career with Frank Haith and the Missouri Tigers after a few sub-par seasons in Storrs. With UConn on the way down and Mizzou on the way up, it's a perfect fit for the 6'9" rising-senior.

        Due to the addition of five-star NBA prospect Andre Drummond at center, Oriakhi, a previous two-year starter, saw his minutes dip to new lows and his production didn't help his case; he averaged 6.7 points per game on under 50 percent shooting, a daunting number for a player of his size, strength and potential interior dominance. Oriakhi grabbed less than five boards per game, which featured tremendous drops in his offensive and defensive rebounding percentages which take into account per-minute production. And his production and minutes dwindled down the stretch, so did his Huskies, which narrowly made the field, thanks in large part to some early season wins.

        Can Oriakhi get his groove back with Missouri? Given his mobility, the up-tempo style should be a good fit for him; it did wonders for the career of Ricardo Ratliffe, a similarly skilled offensive player. Oriakhi's development as a low-post threat slowed down in between his sophomore and junior season after rapid growth between his first and second years in college. He ability to continue to grow as an offensive threat, scoring in the low-post and knocking down 10-12 foot jumpers will be critical for Missouri's growth. But not as important as Oriakhi's ability to rebound the boards. He made a living for himself crashing the offensive glass and earning extra possessions for his team using his strength, length and aggressiveness, something a desperately undersized Tigers' team needs.

        Oriakhi has some attributes and skills that are attractive to NBA teams like his physical presence, his rebounding on both ends of the floor and his defensive intensity, but he didn't always showcase those skills as a junior with the Huskies. If he can progress as a senior with his new Missouri teammates, he should make his way back onto team's draft boards.

By President - Corey Ruff - 4-22-12