Chinanu Onuaku

Chinanu Onuaku profile
Drafted #37 in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Rockets
RCSI: 63 (2014)
Height: 6'10" (208 cm)
Weight: 260 lbs (118 kg)
Position: C
High School: Riverdale Baptist School (Maryland)
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
College: Louisville
Current Team: Bayamon
Win - Loss: 10 - 24
Chinanu Onuaku 2016 NBA Draft Scouting Video - Weaknesses


Chinanu Onuaku NBA Draft Scouting Report and Video Breakdown

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Jun 03, 2016, 05:45 pm
Scouting Report by Jonathan Givony. Video Analysis by Mike Schmitz

After a strong showing at the U19 World Championship last summer, helping USA win gold, Chinanu Onuaku came back to Louisville looking to establish himself as a leader with the departure of Montrezl Harrell to the NBA. Unfortunately his season ended at the conclusion of the ACC conference slate, as his school elected to self-impose a postseason ban due to accusations that a former assistant coach paid prostitutes to entertain potential recruits, putting a damper on his sophomore campaign.

Nevertheless, Onuaku improved his productivity considerably, emerging as one of the most efficient all-around big men in the NCAA. He went from averaging a meager 6.6 points per-40 minutes as a freshman to a far more respectable 16.7, while increasing his 2P% to an excellent 62% and his free throw percentage from 47% to 59%. He also improved as a rebounder, upping his per-40 averages from 10.2 to 14.3, mainly thanks to an increased effort on the defensive glass, as well as blocking 3.4 shots and getting 1.3 steals per-40.

Onuaku is an inch or so undersized for an NBA center at 6'9 without shoes, but compensates for that with a near 7'3 wingspan, a 9'1 standing reach, and a chiseled 245 pound frame. He is fairly mobile, doing a good job of getting up and down the floor when motivated, and has nimble feet which allow him to move in an agile fashion, despite not being the quickest or most explosive big man around on first glance.

Offensively, Onuaku does all of his damage in the direct vicinity of the basket. He can use his strong frame to seal off opponents and carve out deep post position at the college level, but will need to develop his footwork and counter moves to translate some of his effectiveness as a back to the basket scorer to the pro ranks.

Nevertheless, Onuaku does a great job of setting wide screens and rolling with purpose to the basket, and has outstanding hands that allow him to catch virtually everything thrown his way. He proved to be a very reliable option for his guards to throw the ball to as a pick and roll finisher and cutter, as he throws down dunks emphatically and shows some craftiness with his touch around the rim when unable to play above the rim. Onuaku converted 64% of his attempts around the basket this past season, despite the fact that he's not a high flyer and may need to continue to develop his skill level to continue to have success finishing over length.

With Onuaku's role expanding, he was given more opportunities to show off his passing ability, which looked much improved as a sophomore. He sees the floor much better than you might expect for someone in his mold, as he's able to find cutters diving to the baskets and shooters spotting up on the wing, showing some creativity with his passing that suggests he can continue to develop this part of his game in time.

Still, Onuaku struggles with his decision making, posting a sky-high 27% turnover percentage at the college level. He doesn't always know his limitations, and his shot-selection isn't always stellar, as it seemed towards the end of the year that he was trying to show off parts of his game that simply aren't currently in his repertoire.

Onuaku can be somewhat predictable, as he doesn't have much in the way of a face-up game, struggling to put the ball on the floor or knock down a jump-shot outside the paint. His shooting mechanics are very rigid, and his career 55% free throw percentage doesn't suggest he has a great deal of room for improvement in this area. Not someone who is going to create much offensive on his own, NBA teams will likely want to see Onuaku develop some more versatility, skill and feel as his career progresses.

Where Onuaku is likely to make a living early on in his career as a rebounder, an area where he shows excellent timing and can do a lot of damage with his strong frame, extremely long arms and reliable hands. His 4.9 offensive rebounds per-40 is one of the better rates in this draft, as he boxes out other big men very aggressively, and pursues loose balls coming off the glass with great purpose.

Defensively, Onuaku also shows some promise. He has a knack for contesting shots around the basket as well as on the perimeter, covering ground nicely and being relatively quick off his feet. He shows good timing as a shot-blocker, as evidenced by the 3.4 rejections he averaged per-40 this season, using verticality well and not even needing to jump sometimes to send back shots thanks to his long reach. He uses his strong frame to his advantage inside the paint in man to man situations, and isn't one to get pushed around on the interior despite being only 19 years old.

On the perimeter, Onuaku is somewhat of a mixed bag. On one hand, he covers ground fairly well and has quick feet he can use to stay in front of smaller players and make plays at the rim with his long arms even if he's initially beat. On the other hand, Onuaku's lack of experience can be very evident at times, as he doesn't always look dialed in enough on this end of the floor. He'll sometimes look extremely upright in his stance and show very poor discipline and intensity with his approach, one of the reasons he had a difficult time staying out of foul trouble at times this year.

Onuaku came into college with a reputation for being somewhat immature, and can still be very emotional and reactive on the floor at times, while looking like he's just going through the motions in others, operating at half speed. He lacked consistency in his two years at Louisville, particularly in many of their biggest games, but did improve in this area as a sophomore, getting in better shape and playing with a more stable motor.

A strong showing at the NBA Combine convinced Onuaku to keep his name in this year's draft after initially testing the waters, despite being diagnosed with a minor heart issue in his medical examination that is reportedly unlikely to affect his draft stock.

Not turning 20 until November, Onuaku is significantly younger than almost any player in his class, as he easily could have been a member of the freshman class based on when he was born, being even younger than half a dozen of the one and done prospects who are expected to be drafted. He's not going to blow you away with his size, skill-level, athleticism or basketball IQ, but has some very intriguing characteristics that could help him develop into a very strong role player if he continues to progress.

NBA Combine Day Two and Event Recap

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
May 14, 2016, 04:08 pm
Chinanu Onuaku, Sophomore, PF/C, Louisville
10 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, 0 turnovers, 5-7 2P, 0-0 3P, 0-0 FT, 21 minutes

The recipient of a lengthy writeup after a strong showing in the first day of competitive action, Chinanu Onuaku had another solid outing in the second and last day of the NBA Combine as well, doing many of the same things we previously reported.

He was a solid presence on defense, beyond the three steals and three blocks he accumulated, protecting the paint nicely while making the right rotations and doing a nice job of communicating with his teammates. He also was able to score by drawing deep post position and backing down weaker defenders, while hitting a short range jumper out of the post and catching a lob in transition.

His perimeter defense was again somewhat of a mixed bag, as he is often late to step out on closeouts, and will bit on pump fakes at times. He's clearly more of a center than a power forward at 6'9 barefoot, even if his 7'3 wingspan and 245 pound frame helps.

Onuaku has a tough decision ahead of himself now, as he clearly helped himself over the week in Chicago, but probably is still very much on the bubble as far as his first round prospects go. If he's content being a second round pick (possibly an early one) then he should be able to find a spot for himself in the NBA next year, but at only 19 years old, there's a chance he could continue to improve his standing with a better junior season at Louisville. He has all the makings of a future NBA rotation big man regardless, especially if he can find a way to keep his intensity level high at all times.

NBA Combine Competitive Action Recap: Day One

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
May 12, 2016, 09:48 pm
Chinanu Onuaku, Sophomore, Power Forward/Center, Louisville
11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 3 turnovers, 4-6 2P, 3-5, FT, 21 minutes FT

Chinanu Onuaku had a strong start to his NBA Combine, which is important considering he's still just testing the waters and very much on the fence for whether to hire and agent and stay in the draft. He looks to be in very good shape from a physical standpoint, which helped him play with maximum effort every moment he was on the floor, something that he's been inconsistent with at times during his career.

Onuaku proved to be a presence in the paint on both ends of the floor for his team today, protecting the rim with his length and timing while competing on the interior, at rebounding at a very high rate. Offensively, he made some nice passes and was able to do some damage around the basket using his strong frame, rolling to the rim with nice timing and finishing using his solid hands and touch, despite not being the most explosive player around. He even stepped away from the paint at one point and knocked down an open mid-range jumper, which is somewhat surprising considering how much he's struggled with his free throw stroke in the past.

Onuaku's solid measurements, 6'10 in shoes with a 7'3 wingspan and a 245 pound frame indicate he'll have very little issue playing center at the NBA level. While his upside is not off the charts due to his average skill-level, explosiveness and feel, he's a very serviceable big man who will likely hear his name called if he elects to keep his name in the draft.

Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part Four: Chinanu Onuaku Scouting Video

Mike Schmitz
Mike Schmitz
Oct 11, 2015, 10:19 am
Mike Schmitz continues our coverage of the top NBA prospects in the ACC with a video scouting report of the #4 prospect in the conference, Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku.
More DX Conference Preseason Previews:
-The Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-12
-The Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects in the Big East
-The Top 15 NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12
-The Top 20 NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC
-The Top 10 NBA Draft Prospects in the AAC

Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC
-Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part One
(#1) Brandon Ingram (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part Two
(#2) Demetrius Jackson (Scouting Video)
Top NBA Prospects in the ACC, Part Three
(#3) Justin Jackson (Scouting Video)
(#4) Chinanu Onuaku, Sophomore, Center, Louisville



Mike Schmitz is the video analyst for DraftExpress. Follow him on twitter and check out his archive. He will be breaking down the NBA draft in digital format all year long for us.

2015 FIBA U19 World Championship Scouting Reports: Centers

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Jul 18, 2015, 06:00 pm
Jonathan Givony

-Big enough to play center at over 6-10 in shoes with a 7-2 ½ wingspan and a 9-1 ½ standing reach
-Tremendous frame. 246 pounds and should be able to add even more strength in time
-Light on his feet. Moves very well for a player his size
-Excellent finisher around the basket
-Outstanding offensive rebounder. 6.2 per-40 at U19s, 4.4 as a college freshman at Louisville
-Gets hands on tons of loose balls
-Gets in passing lanes impressive with combination of length and mobility. 3.5 steals per-40 at U19s, 1.7 per-40 at Louisville
-Can step out on the perimeter defensively and not look out of place
-Rotates impressively for blocks. 3rd best shot-blocker at U19s per-minute
-Moves feet very well defensively
-Was one of the youngest freshmen in college basketball. Turned 18 just two weeks before his first game at Louisville. Doesn't turn 19 until November.

-An inch shorter than you might hope for a NBA center
-Offensive skill-level a work in progress.
-Averaged just 6.6 points per-40 as a freshman. 11.1 at U19s
-Doesn't have any real footwork inside the paint or go-to moves. All of his offense comes on finishes and offensive rebounds
-Not a great passer
-Struggles badly from free throw line. Made 47% of attempts as a freshman. Up to 60% from line at U19s, shooting granny style
-Played hard at U19s in limited role, but has a reputation for being somewhat up and down with his intensity level at times
-Average defensive rebounder. 5.9 per-40 at U19s, 5.8 per-40 at Louisville

Outlook: Looked to be in much better shape physically here than he was as a freshman at Louisville. Played a major role defensively for USA, and was a constant presence on the offensive glass. Could easily be going into his freshman season at Louisville as he is yet to turn 19 years old. A sure-fire NBA guy if he plays with the same intensity he did in Crete on a consistent basis. Likely to step into a significant role as a sophomore with Montrezl Harrell off to the NBA.

Chinanu Onuaku 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship Interview

Jul 05, 2015, 11:00 am
An interview with US big man Chinanu Onuaku at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship in Crete.
-Ivica Zubac Interview
-Georgios Papagiannis Interview
-Tyler Dorsey Interview
-Furkan Korkmaz Interview
-Terrance Ferguson Interview

(Video may not load with Internet Explorer. Use Chrome or Firefox)

High School Class of 2014 Scouting Reports, Part Two- the Big Men

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Sep 04, 2013, 11:06 am
Jonathan Givony

Recruiting Rankings: 247: #64, ESPN: #NR, Scout: #64, Rivals: #120

-Very good body. Physically mature
-Nimble. Moves feet well.
-Goes out of area for rebounds
-Can pass the ball a bit
-Can block shots
-Nice outlet passes

-Below the rim big man
-Doesn't always play with great energy
-Limited offensively. Doesn't really know what his role is on the floor

Outlook: Brother of Arinze Onuaku. Chiseled big man who is still in an early stage of his development. Will always get looks thanks to his impressive frame and length. Can make an impact defensively and on the glass when dialed in.

Latest results

07/01/2024 86 - 91 vs Guaynabo Guaynabo
06/29/2024 104 - 84 vs Mayaguez Mayaguez
06/28/2024 72 - 93 vs Quebradillas Quebradillas
06/26/2024 92 - 102 at Carolina Carolina


DraftExpress Shop