Borrowing verbiage from The Washington Post, 'If you don't get it, you don't get it!' If you have yet to watch Emmanuel Omogbo on the court with Colorado State, you are missing one of the joys of college basketball in recent years. As Omogbo prepares for his final regular season game, despite losing his Mother, Father, Niece and Nephew in a tragic fire one year ago, Omogbo has earned first round NBA consideration and undoubtedly is one of the best players in College Basketball.
As Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke once said, you have 'to have talent to compete for a championship.' As usual, freshman have dominated much of the ability talk in college basketball, but unlike other years, seniors are having more of a championship impact in the world of college hoops. Kansas's Frank Mason, Gonzaga's Prezemek Karnowski, and Villanova's Josh Hart/Kris Jenkins combo have all had great senior seasons while leading their teams to the top of the national rankings. Omogbo, a senior forward with Colorado State, is arguably having the greatest team impact of all, with much less national fanfare.
Before leading Colorado State to a 20-9 record (12-4 in Mountain West), and being one of the NCAA's prolific double-double threats, Emmanuel had a non-traditional journey to such productivity; choosing the notion of leading smaller programs and leaving a legacy behind over the lure of large programs and fame. Omogbo resisted offers from some of the more notable club and AAU programs in Washington, DC. His list of rejected include programs that yield annual recruits of Duke, North Carolina and other top notch programs. Instead, he elected to play with a small club, Maryland's Finest. His first choice of where to play high school was much more puzzling than his choice of club basketball team. Growing up in Hyattsville, just a short distance away from national high school power, Dematha Catholic High School, Omogbo chose to attend Don Bosco Cristo Rey, a small high school located in Takoma Park, MD. Due to a school scheduling conflict, Omogbo ultimately played his freshman year at his neighborhood high school, Northwestern Senior High School, alongside Arizona's Obinna Oleka, before returning to Don Bosco Cristo Rey for his sophomore and junior seasons. While at Don Bosco, Omogbo was introduced to another small club team, Force One, for which he left Maryland's Finest. Omogbo would go on to have an outstanding prep career, finishing his Senior year at Princeton Day Academy; earning local accolades as one of the best players in the DC area's class of 2013. He was recruited by some national collegiate powers, most notably former NBA and Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik came to watch him workout. Following his trend of wanting to leave a legacy, Omogbo, initially opted to commit to Robert Morris University. Omogbo instead chose to attend South Plains Community College where he would again dominate and shine bright as the brightest stars. Omogbo led South Plains to a NJCAA Tournament runner-up finish in his sophomore year. In that sophomore season Omogbo led his team in scoring and rebounds, posting averages of 17 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Leaving South Plains Omogbo again had a number of division 1 suitors vying for his services. He would choose to play for the Colorado State Rams and head coach Larry Eustachy.
As a member of Colorado State, Omogbo (6-8, 210) has again produced outstanding numbers while being a key member on a championship contending team. He is currently averaging 14.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Not only is he top ten in average points per game for Mountain West conference players, he is the leading rebounder in the Mountain West conference. Omogbo ranks seventh nationally in NCAA division 1 basketball rebounding and top ten in double-doubles with seven-teen dd's in twenty-nine games. Omogbo is tied for the most dd's in conference play history and should break that mark before the end of the season.
Omogbo's production has Colorado State currently tied for first place in the Mountain West conference. All season long Omogbo has made a clear case to be named the conference's Player of the year. With leading Colorado to nine wins in the last ten games, NBA executives who were undecided on his draft projections are now clear in how he can add 'winning' value to their clubs. In speaking with many NBA scouts and executives, the consensus is that Omogbo has the ability and drive to contribute right away with the right team. Most believe he is a late first round selection and a cannot miss value pick in the second round. Examining Omogbo's production versus that of other recent four-year mid-major school's student-athletes who went on to be first round draft picks, as well Mountain West players who were drafted in the first round, I agree, Omogbo would fit well immediately with most NBA teams, especially a playoff contending team in need of a double-double threat. In the past six NBA drafts three mid-major senior players with similar numbers to that of Omogbo have gone on to be drafted in the first round; Kenneth Faried ( Morehead State) in 2011, Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure) in 2012 and Larry Nance Jr. ( Wyoming) in 2015. Nance Jr. And Kawhi Leonard ( San Diego State) in 2011 are the only two Mountain West players to be drafted in the first round in the past six NBA drafts. Let's compare the senior year stats of these former first round picks in college to that of Emmanuel Omogbo.
Omogbo's stats measure up very favorably to that of those mid-majore players previously drafted. Similarly to those previously compared, the relentless ability on the boards of Faried, Nance's athletic ability and Leonard's raw/wiry talent can all be seen when watching Omogbo take the court. For all of his success on the court, what may be most impressive is the feats Omogbo has been able to overcome off the court. Omogbo lost his Father, Mother, Niece and Nephew to a house fire midway through his junior year at Colorado state. Difficult enough to mourn the loss of one close family member, Omogbo had to grieve the sudden death of four, all while news stations across the country, including ESPN and many major outlets, recapped the tragedy in efforts to rally support. Omogbo, displaying the resilience often displayed when fighting for 'fifty-fifty ball', chose to honor his loved ones by playing in his team's first game following the tragedy.
Emmanuel Omogbo is an outstanding college player and human being who adds championship level production to basketball teams. As a person, he choose lamenting a legacy and team success over the personal lure of fame and fortune. When met with adversity, he endures pain while fighting back with honor and the heart of a person looking to succeed for much more than self. Emmanuel Omogbo, as you play your final home regular season game versus Wyoming State (February 28, 2017, 8pm MT), on behalf of the basketball community, thank you for playing with genuine passion for the game, you certainly have left a legacy at Colorado State and good luck in the NBA Draft!
Omogbo at-a-glance • His 12 double-doubles in Mountain West play this year is tied for the most in league history in MW play. • This year, Omogbo ranks in the CSU record book in: - 1st in single-season defensive rebound average (7.93) - 1st in single-season defensive rebounds (228) - 4th in single-season total rebounds (316) / 6th in MW - 5th in single season rebounding average (10.9) - t-2nd in career offensive rebound average (3.03) - 3rd in career defensive rebound average (6.31) - 4th in career rebounding average (9.4 rpg) / 5th in MW • He had 13 points and 11 boards against Kansas State at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Dec. 17, before his double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds against UNLV, Dec. 28. • He just missed a double-double with a career-high 22 points and game-high nine rebounds at Boise State, Dec. 31. However he followed it up with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win at San Jose State, Jan. 4. • Omogbo had team-highs 20 points and season-high 16 rebounds at Utah State, Jan. 21. • The senior scored a career-high 24 points, with 17 coming in the final half, in the win at San Diego State, Jan. 28. • Most recently, he hit a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left for the game-winner over San Diego State, Feb. 25. • For his CSU career, Omogbo now has 25 double-doubles in two seasons.
Leonard scores 25 as Spurs dismantle ailing Cavs, 103-74 - 9 hours ago
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The Cavaliers acknowledged having heavy legs, but there is something far weightier on the minds of the defending NBA champions. Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches of the season and there is little time to fix it. Kawhi Leonard (6'7''-F-91, college: San Diego St.) scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cavs 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for Cleveland. "The way we've been struggling, (the Spurs are) the l... [read more]
The Cavaliers acknowledged having heavy legs, but there is something far weightier on the minds of the defending NBA champions. Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches of the season and there is little time to fix it. Kawhi Leonard (6'7''-F-91, college: San Diego St.) scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cavs 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for Cleveland. "The way we've been struggling, (the Spurs are) the last team that you want to play," said LeBron James (6'8''-SF-84), who was fine after taking elbow to the neck. "A well-oiled machine like this. They exploit everything that you're not doing well at that point in time of the season and right now we're not playing good basketball." James, who finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes, said he will play Thursday at Chicago. Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers have nine games remaining, all against teams in the East, including a showdown at Boston on April 5. James said the standings "always matter," but playing more consistently is far more important and he refused to blame injuries or an arduous schedule for the team's troubles. "It matters more that we're playing better basketball than where we're at," he said. "If that results in us having the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed, 3 or whatever the hell it is, we need to play better basketball. That's what it comes down to." What Cleveland is seeking, the Spurs have already found. San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home showdown with the Warriors on Wednesday. The Spurs have won five straight and eight of 10 after sweeping their season series against the Cavaliers. "It was a big game, but in the end, it's just one game, and one win," San Antonio guard Tony Parker (6'2''-PG-82) said. "We're trying to be consistent. We're trying to play the same way every game. It was definitely surprising. Coming off a loss, I thought they would play with a lot more energy, but it can happen. It's a long season. It's just one game and I'm sure they're going to bounce back and use this game as motivation." LaMarcus Aldridge (6'11''-F/C-85, college: Texas) and Pau Gasol (7'0''-F/C-80) added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight. San Antonio led by as many as 33 to the delight of the sold-out crowd. "We did a good job coming out early and then keeping our foot on the pedal," Leonard said. The Spurs' bench outscored the Cavaliers' 49-24. Cleveland, which was already without Iman Shumpert, received more bad news Monday morning when it was announced that Kyle Korver will miss at least two more games with a sore left foot. "You lose Korver and Shumpert off your bench and things tend to change," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "With those two guys out, we tried some different things and it didn't work. It was not on the bench. It was on me." Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than sit them for rest, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving (6'3''-G-92, college: Duke) and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of its second rout in the past two weeks. Lue said he has considered resting his stars over the team's final nine games, which James is not in favor of. "Coach is going to have his logic of things, but we need to play," James said. James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt. He remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench. James left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout, but said afterward he is fine. Courtesy of: msn.com
Jazz beat Pelicans 108-100 behind Gobert, hot shooting - 9 hours ago
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Rudy Gobert (7'1''-C-92) had 20 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Utah Jazz over the New Orleans Pelicans 108-100 on Monday night. Rodney Hood (6'8''-F-92, college: Duke) scored 20 points, Joe Ingles (6'8''-SF-87) added 19 and George Hill chipped in with 17 as that Jazz trio combined to make a dozen 3-pointers. Utah (45-29) swept the season series 3-0 after dominating from the perimeter for four quarters. Anthony Davis (6'10''-C-93, college: Kentucky) had 36 points and 17 re... [read more]
Rudy Gobert (7'1''-C-92) had 20 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Utah Jazz over the New Orleans Pelicans 108-100 on Monday night. Rodney Hood (6'8''-F-92, college: Duke) scored 20 points, Joe Ingles (6'8''-SF-87) added 19 and George Hill chipped in with 17 as that Jazz trio combined to make a dozen 3-pointers. Utah (45-29) swept the season series 3-0 after dominating from the perimeter for four quarters. Anthony Davis (6'10''-C-93, college: Kentucky) had 36 points and 17 rebounds for New Orleans. Jrue Holiday (6'4''-PG-90, college: UCLA) scored 19, but the Pelicans (31-43) lost for only the third time in nine games. New Orleans got no closer than six in the fourth quarter. The Pelicans cut the deficit to 102-96 on a 3-pointer by Davis, but Utah answered with a jumper from Joe Johnson and a 3 from Hood to seal the win in the final minute. Courtesy of: foxsports.com
Westbrook, Thunder top Mavs 92-91 with 14-0 finishing run - 10 hours ago
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Russell Westbrook (6'3''-PG-88, college: UCLA) rescued Oklahoma City with a stunning rally and guaranteed the first losing record for Dallas in 17 full seasons under owner Mark Cuban. Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper with seven seconds left and the Thunder erased a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes for a 92-91 victory over the Mavericks on Monday night. The six-time All-Star and current NBA scoring leader, whom Cuban steadfastly claims isn't a superstar, had his third straight trip... [read more]
Russell Westbrook (6'3''-PG-88, college: UCLA) rescued Oklahoma City with a stunning rally and guaranteed the first losing record for Dallas in 17 full seasons under owner Mark Cuban. Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper with seven seconds left and the Thunder erased a 13-point deficit in the final four minutes for a 92-91 victory over the Mavericks on Monday night. The six-time All-Star and current NBA scoring leader, whom Cuban steadfastly claims isn't a superstar, had his third straight triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook scored 12 in a 14-0 run by Oklahoma City to finish it, but said he wasn't trying to convince Cuban, who was in the first row of seats just a few feet from the winning shot. ''Nah, man,'' said Westbrook, who has 37 triple-doubles and needs four in the final nine games to tie Oscar Robertson's NBA record set during the 1961-62 season. ''I play every night the same way. Whatever he says doesn't even matter to me. He's going to do his job, and I'm going to do mine.'' The Thunder gained possession on a replay reversal with 13 seconds to go and Westbrook hit the decisive shot from just beyond the free throw line over Wesley Matthews (6'5''-G-86, college: Marquette). Dallas was out of timeouts, and Harrison Barnes (6'8''-F-92, college: N.Carolina) missed a long 3-pointer before the buzzer. The Mavericks (31-42) last had a losing season in 1999-2000, Dirk Nowitzki (7'0''-F-78)'s second year. Cuban bought the team in January that season, when Dallas finished 40-42. ''It just happened so fast,'' said Nerlens Noel, who scored 15 points along with Matthews to lead Dallas. ''They were just playing more aggressive than we were late in the game.'' The Thunder (42-31) won for the seventh time in nine games since a four-game losing streak that matched a season high. They are a game behind the fifth-place Clippers in the Western Conference and 2 1/2 in front of Memphis for the No. 6 seed. Mavericks rookie Yogi Ferrell scored 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, capped by a 3-pointer for a 91-78 lead with 3:31 remaining. Dallas didn't score again. Westbrook started the stunning run with a breakaway dunk, followed by a 3. After Steven Adams (7'0''-C/F-93, college: Pittsburgh) tipped in Westbrook's missed 3, the star guard hit a floater on a three-point play to get the Thunder to 91-88. The Mavericks had possession with the shot clock off after Westbrook missed a jumper, but Dallas got stuck in the backcourt and called its final timeout. With just three seconds to get the ball past midcourt, an inbounds pass for J.J. Barea was tipped by Westbrook, who immediately signaled Oklahoma City ball even though the initial call went Dallas' way. There were plenty of celebrating Westbrook fans when he pulled up on a backpedaling Matthews. ''That's about as good a shot as you're going to get,'' Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. ''You're trying to take away something at the rim.'' Courtesy of: yahoo.com
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