As most of you already know, Xavier's Kenny Frease has run out of eligibility and is graduating this year, which leaves the Muskies with quite the hole in the middle. The solution to that problem may well be UConn rising junior Alex Oriakhi. Because the Huskies are banned from postseason play next year, and because Oriakhi only has one season of eligibility left, he is allowed to transfer out and be eligible to play immediately.
Oriakhi is a big (6'9", 240 lb) man and would perfectly slot into the gap left by Frease's departure. Xavier has a host of long but willowy forwards, and having a big body to push people around in the middle would be a great asset for X. His number last year (6.7/4.8/0.3) are underwhelming, but there was a lot of turmoil and unrest around the program. As a sophomore, he put up 9.6/8.7/0.4 with 1.3 blocks; adding that kind of production up front would be huge. Having a veteran in the middle would also most likely be helpful for incoming big men James Farr and Jalen Reynolds.
Of course, there are plenty of suitors for Oriakhi's services. Coach Mack went to visit Oriakhi this past week to make his pitch to bring the big man to X. Oriakhi is visiting Missouri on April 13 and looks to be slated to go see Duke the next weekend. Ohio State, Kentucky, and a number of other major programs also seem to be poking around. He has said that he wants to go somewhere he will start, and Xavier would seem to fit the bill in that regard. The bottom line is that it will be a long process, so don't look for a decision anytime soon. We'll keep you posted; you'll know when the Oriakhi watch is upgraded to - weather pun forthcoming! - an Oriakhi warning.