LEXINGTON, United States of America, August 2, 2022/ — Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso (ooo-GAH-na ON-yen-so), an imposing frontcourt participant within the 2023 class, has signed with the Kentucky males’s basketball program and can reclassify to affix the 2022-23 roster.
He’s now the fourth first-year participant to signal with the Wildcats for the upcoming season, becoming a member of Chris Livingston, Adou Thiero and Cason Wallace.
“What excited me most about Ugonna is he needed to not solely be right here however needed to be right here to coach with us and be taught from guys like Oscar (Tshiebwe) and Lance (Ware) instantly and assist us chase a nationwide title,” UK head coach John Calipari mentioned. “Ugonna has unbelievable pure athleticism and nice instincts for a younger participant. He’s going to have the ability to defend on the rim and is a terrific finisher. Ugonna has solely been in america since January however has been totally immersed in basketball for a number of years along with his expertise on the NBA Academy in Africa. The employees and I are excited to assist push him day by day in a aggressive and centered atmosphere as he continues to enhance and turn into one of the best model of himself each on and off the ground.”
Onyenso is a 6-foot-11, 225-pound huge with the scale and velocity to wreak havoc within the paint on each ends of the court docket. His body permits him to impose his will within the paint, and he has the potential to grow to be an elite rebounder and shot blocker with terrific pure instincts.
“I’m proud to affix the Kentucky basketball household and I can’t wait to assist work for a nationwide championship,” Onyenso mentioned. “I’m so comfy with Coach Cal and the employees and I do know they may assist me attain my targets so long as I work arduous and are available to play day by day. I’m excited for his or her positionless fashion of play and I do know I’m going to proceed to get higher as a result of I’ll be pushed day by day in follow with gamers who’ve the identical drive that I do. I can’t wait to get to campus in August and get began.”
The Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, native spent this previous season at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut, the identical program that former Wildcat Hamidou Diallo hailed from. Along with his reclassification, Onyenso is ranked within the prime 35 by Rivals within the 2022 class and within the prime 40 by 247Sports. He was rated within the prime 25 by each shops whereas within the 2023 class.
He joined Putnam in January and the squad was an ideal 20-0 with Onyenso on the roster. He averaged 11.4 factors, 9.0 rebounds and 5.7 blocks per sport. Onyenso shot 64.4% from the ground and had 5 video games with no less than 10 blocked pictures. The spotlight of his season was a 24-point, 11-rebound and 11-block triple-double.
Taking part in on the NBA Academy Video games this summer season, Onyenso scored in double figures in every of the six video games he appeared. He averaged 13.2 factors, 9.2 rebounds and a couple of.7 blocks per sport, whereas additionally connecting on 64.4% of his field-goal makes an attempt. Onyenso was significantly good on the offensive glass, registering 32 complete boards (5.3 per sport) on that finish.
He is among the youngest gamers ever to make the senior males’s Nigerian Nationwide Staff. Onyenso made his debut with the group on the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers in November of 2021. He scored 10 factors on 5-of-8 taking pictures and had 4 rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes in a 96-69 win over Uganda.
Following that efficiency, veteran Nigerian Ike Diogu mentioned of Onyenso: “He’s the long run. Plain and easy. I’m telling you guys now. He’s the long run.”
Previous to enrolling at Putnam, Onyenso frolicked on the NBA Academy Africa. It’s an elite basketball coaching facility in Saly, Senegal for the highest highschool age prospects from throughout Africa. It’s one in all 4 NBA Academies all over the world. Onyenso helped NBA Academy Africa win the European Youth Basketball League Event in Hungary in February of 2020.
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