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Emmanuel Omogbo cements legacy at Colorado State and First Round NBA Consideration, Despite Pain and Adversity - Feb 28, 2017

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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.

Kenneth Faried: 17.3 ppg, 14.5 rpg
Andrew Nicholson: 18.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg
Larry Nance Jr: 16.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg
Kawhi Leonard: 15.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg
Emmanuel Omogbo: 14.3 ppg, 10.9 rpg

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.

written by Courtney Flumo
Follow me on twitter at @courtney_flumo   

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