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Nov 30, 2013; Fairfax, VA, USA; George Mason Patriots forward Jalen Jenkins (20) and Rhode Island Rams forward Ifeanyi Onyekaba (14) battle for a loose ball at Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Rhode Island Basketball: First Semester Report Card – Ifeanyi Onyekaba

OVERALL GRADE: C+

KEY STATS
Points Per Game: 5.5 (tied for 6th on team)
Shooting Percentage: 53.3 (2nd)
Free-Throw Percentage: 44.4 (10th)
Rebounds Per Game: 4.5 (2nd)

Ifeanyi Onyekaba’s first collegiate game went about as well as expected. The Nigerian big man poured in 21 points, shot 8-10 from the floor, and grabbed 10 rebounds for URI’s first double-double of the season. This site joined the chorus of Rhody fans in labeling “The Big O” one of the most underrated players on Rhode Island’s roster. Fast forward to now, and the season opening performance against Maine seems like the exception, not the rule.

The sophomore hasn’t reached double figures in points since the season opener, and has surpassed six points only twice since then. The big reason for that is extremely evident: foul trouble. Onyekaba hasn’t scored a ton because he hasn’t been on the court. Ifeanyi has played more than 20 minutes just twice all season thanks in part to his 2.8 fouls-per-game average (the highest on the team). Onyekaba has fouled out of just two games, but his struggles with the whistle have been frustrating to watch, especially with the Rams thin in the front court as of late.

Besides the points and the fouls, Ifeanyi’s rebounding has also fallen off compared to his performance in the season opener. After grabbing eight offensive rebounds against Maine, Onyekaba has surpassed five rebounds total just twice since. What was thought to be an absolute breakout looks now to be a fluke more than anything else. There’s still almost two-thirds of a season left, however. Iffy will have plenty more chances to prove that November 8th was not an anomaly, but his true ceiling.

Until that time, however, he checks in with a C+. Too high? Too low? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: Basketball Ifeanyi Onyekaba Rhode Island Rams

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