By Jeff Goodman
The bombshell that Andre Drummond dropped exactly one week ago caught everyone by surprise.
Even his new frontcourt mate, Alex Oriakhi.
"I was shocked," Oriakhi admitted. "I didn't think he was coming."
But Oriakhi received a call on Friday evening from Drummond in search of UConn coach Jim Calhoun's number, saying he wanted to commit for this year.
"It was crazy," Oriakhi said.
Now the speculation will begin with how Oriaki and Drummond can co-exist. However, what people fail to realize is Oriakhi is about as team-oriented a kid as you will find.
"It doesn't bother me at all that he's coming," Oriakhi said. "I want to win another championship. That's what's important to me."
"I know I'm going to get the ball in the post," he added. "The addition of Andre isn't going to hurt me; it'll help me."
Oriakhi expects that both he and Drummond will get the opportunity to step out and expand their game on the perimeter. But that'll be the interesting scenario to watch - whether teams respect either or just pack it in, dare them to make shots and congest the middle.
- Oriakhi said he's been impressed with freshman DeAndre Daniels' ability to shoot the ball. "He's athletic and can defend," Oriakhi said. He said that Daniels and sophomore forward Roscoe Smith are similar players - with the primary difference being versatility and that Smith is stronger and also be play some power forward.
- Oriakhi also admitted that the key to this year's team is Shabazz Napier, who will likely become the full-time point guard with the departure of Kemba Walker. "He's our general," Oriakhi said. "As he goes, we go. He's ready - especially after a year of learning and talking to Kemba." Oriakhi also laughs when people question Napier's shooting ability. "That's crazy," he said.