Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cornell Adds Class of 2013 PF David Onuorah

Over the weekend of June 30-July 1, 2012, Cornell received a recruiting commitment from David Onuorah (Marist HS) Atlanta, GA, 6-8, 230, F.  Above, Onuorah (right) at the Cornell Basketball Prospect Camp during June 2012.  

As with all recruits, Onuorah's commitment and enrollment at Cornell is contingent upon his admission.

The Cornell Basketball Blog had an opportunity to speak with Onuorah's high school coach, Greg McClaire after the commitment.

McClaire confirmed that before selecting Cornell, Onuorah had offers on the table from Auburn of the SEC as well as from Bucknell, Dartmouth, Mercer, Elon, Kennesaw State, Middle Tennessee State, Jacksonville, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Gardner Webb and Furman.

McClaire explained that some schools wanted Onuorah to visit their campus before offering.  He noted that SEC schools Ole Miss and Tennessee both asked Onuorah to visit the campus this summer.  In the case of the latter, Onurah was invited to the Tennessee Vols Elite Camp, but he instead opted to attend Cornell's Prospect Camp the same week.  Ole Miss also asked him to take an official visit to campus.   

In addition to the above offers, McClaire explained that a number of schools were extremely interested after only discovering Onuorah during June 2012 and wanted to watch him play on the competitive AAU circuit. Of those, the list included Yale and Harvard. Others involved in his recruitment as recently as June 2012 included Georgia, Vanderbilt, Rice, Oklahoma, VCU, Southern Miss, LaSalle, Tulane, FAU, Murray State, Duquesne, North Florida and Chattanooga. McClaire added that VCU was "hot and heavy" after Onuorah.

Above, Onuorah (#55 in the black jersey) with his AAU team, the Bluff City Legends of Memphis, TN.

"He liked those big [BCS] schools, but he is not that kind of guy that got blown away with that kind of stuff...For him and his family and his roots, going to Cornell [and the Ivy League] is a big, big deal."

When asked to describe Onuorah's physical attributes, McClaire immediately said, "He is just a pure physical specimen." McClaire then paused. "He's really, really strong, very high energy, very high motor." He added, "He's beyond being a project." McClaire continued, "He's about 6'8" and 220 lbs... he was just 6'4 and maybe 175 lbs. two years ago... and he turns just 17 I think this summer. He's really young for his class."
On his game, McClaire said, "Off the court, David is confident, but he's really, really soft spoken. I think he uses basketball as some sort of outlet. On the court, he is just a physical, aggressive guy, he'll bang with you, he talks more on the floor then off of it. Anything he catches around the paint, he goes up with it and tries to dunk it... I think he really models his game after Kenneth Faried."

But Onuorah is not limited offensively to just "the power game." McClaire noted that Onuorah shot 77% percent from the free throw line last season as a junior and has a very strong mid range game out to 15 feet with a solid jumper from the elbow. His mid range game is complemented by several spin moves out of the low post with his back to the basket. He also added that Onuorah was a "good" offensive rebounder and could score efficiently on second chance points.

A member of the Bluff City Legends AAU program out of Memphis, Onuorah averaged 12 points and 9 rebounds per game last season for Marist while playing alongside Quinton Stephens, a 6'8" forward currently ranked #124 in the Top 150. Several other members on the team project as Division I players.
Defensively, McClaire said Onuorah could guard any position in the frontcourt. "He'll be the fastest guy on the court... Our track team would love to have him." He added, "He is quick enough to guard the 3," and "strong enough" to mix it up with centers as well.

At the next level McClaire said Onuorah could already play the 4 or the 5, but with increased work on his ball handling and shooting, could develop into a 3-man. Still working on his game, McClaire noted that Onuorah spends every Saturday at the Marist gym working out and scrimmaging with multiple current and former NBA players, including Travis Best, Charles Oakley, Tyrone Hill, Steve Smith, Antonio Davis and Sam Young, among many others.

Before selecting his future college, on June 1, 2012, Onuorah told about his recruitment leader, "Well, I would say that right now, Cornell probably stands out a little more because they have been recruiting me for a long time," Onuorah revealed. "I had a chance to make a visit up there earlier this month... I would just say if any school were standing out, it would be Cornell."

On June 6, Onuorah visited Auburn and was offered a scholarship on the spot by head coach Tony Barbee and assistant coach Milt Wagner.  Although the other SEC schools were still recruiting Onuorah (he actually visited Tennessee during late 2011 and attended a home football game while in Knoxville), Onuorah subsequently attended the Cornell Basketball Prospect Camp in June which solidified his decision to become part of the Ivy League and the Big Red program.

“Cornell offers an amazing combination of academics and athletics and the opportunity to earn a degree from Cornell is something I could not pass up,” Onuorah told when asked why he chose Head Coach Bill Courtney’s program. He also told, "I did commit to Cornell and it still feels surreal to me.  A Cornell education is a very tough one to beat combined with the opportunity to come in make immediate impact separated itself from others."  "Also they had been recruiting me for a full 2 years now so I feel that they know me best and can really help me elevate my game and grow as a player.  And all in all, I felt that it was the best decision for me and my family."

On his focus for the summer and next season, the athletic and high energy Onuorah told, “I am improving the consistency of my jump shot and working hard on my ball handling.  Combining those skills with my ability to finish around the rim will help me at the college level.”  GeorgiaHoops had ranked Onuorah #17 in Georgia's class of 2013 and currently ranks him #18. also ranks him #18.

 Above, Onuorah with his mother during his official visit to Auburn on June 6.  Below, Onuorah while on his recruitment visit at Tennessee during October 2011.
Above, Onuorah's profile.
(Edited 3.25.13)


Anonymous said...

Looks like another great steal for Cornell. Coming in, Courtney was touted as an elite recruiter, and he's delivered yet again.

Anonymous said...

Nice pickup. Not a program changing player (like an I. Watkins), but gotta like the size that's coming into Ithaca. Well done Coach C.

Anonymous said...

I assume you'll have more info on this commitment shortly?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a terrific addition to the Big Red. Welcome to Cornell, David!

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

He's a big time talent, on and off the court. Tremendous addition to the team and University.

Anonymous said...

Any update on Higgins? Statistically he didn't have an eye popping year, but any update on his development? Also, I assume that the only openings left in the class is for a guard who can shoot threes and maybe a swingman?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Wouldn't read much into Higgins' stats. He plays in one of the ten best high school leagues in the country and plays on a team with a half dozen D-I commitments, including a kid headed to Indiana.

He is a very good shot blocker and rebounder and coming along very nicely. He's also a high character guy that you want part of your program.

He's spending the summer playing again with one of the country's truly elite AAU programs.