Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Okwandu May Have to Sit for a Bit

Charles Okwandu, UConn's 7-foot-1 sophomore JUCO transfer, may have to sit out the Huskies' first few games of the regular season due to an eligibility issue.

It's not known exactly what the issue is, but it isn't believed to be a serious infraction. A source said it stems from something that occurred "in the short time (Okwandu) was in America before junior college."

Okwandu attended the College of Southern Idaho in the spring of 2007 but never played basketball there and transferred that summer to Harcum Junior College in Pennsylvania. Drew Kelly, his coach last year at Harcum, said last week that he had been questioned by the NCAA back in April about how Okwandu's trip from his native Nigeria to Southern Idaho may have been facilitated.

Okwandu had to sit out UConn's first exhibition game on Nov. 5 as a precautionary measure as the NCAA looked into a separate issue. He was cleared to play in the Huskies' second and final exhibition tune-up on Sunday against UMass-Lowell.

UConn had expected to have heard from the NCAA Eligibility Center by now regarding this situation, and is hoping to know Okwandu's status by Friday, when the Huskies open their regular season at 7:30 p.m. against Western Carolina at the XL Center in Hartford.

Okwandu, who played only half a season for Harcum last year and has only been playing organized ball for a couple of years, went scoreless with two rebounds in 13 minutes of action against UMass-Lowell.

***Also, UConn has received its signed letters-of-intent from Alex Oriahki and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel. Oriahki is a 6-9, 245-pound center/forward from Lowell, Mass. Coombs-McDaniel is a 6-7, 210-pound guard/forward from Dorchester, Mass. Both play for the Tilton School in New Hampshire, and play for Leo Papile's BABC AAU team.

Of course, both committed to UConn nearly two years ago.

***Oh, and Durand Scott still hasn't made up his mind but insists he's still deciding between three schools: UConn, Miami and Pittsburgh. He says he'll make his decision over the next week, before the early signing period ends on Nov. 19. Scott also says he'll probably schedule a news conference to make the announcement, but doesn't know which day that will be yet.

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