Jason Ben Nathan | Sun Senior Photographer

Onuorah '17 sat out his senior season, allowing for one more year of eligibility.

June 7, 2017

Former Cornell Basketball Player Transfers to UConn for Final Year of Eligibility

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Cornell basketball’s David Onuorah ’17 announced his plan Tuesday evening to use his final year of eligibility to play at the University of Connecticut as a fifth-year senior. Onuorah will be eligible to play immediately.

The 6-foot-9, 230 pound forward played in one game during his senior campaign, starting in the Red’s season opener of the 2016-17 season against Binghamton. Onuorah accounted for four points, five rebounds and one block in his 20 minutes of action. But injury would cut the game, and the season, short for Onuorah, who went on to take a redshirt year for the remainder of the season, preserving one more year of eligibility.

Onuorah averaged 5.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, and shot 51 percent from the field during his junior year, good for ninth in the league in rebounds and third in blocked shots. During his three-year career, Onuorah averaged 3.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while playing 20.8 minutes per game.

Despite non-stellar statistics on the offensive side, Onuorah believes that he is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side.

“I play hard, I play with a lot of effort and energy,” Onuorah told the Hartford Courant. “I like to rebound the ball, I like to block shots, and play defense and protect the rim. I’m very active on the defensive end.”

Onuorah graduated this past spring with a degree in Applied Economics and Management. The Ivy League does not allow postgraduates to play on varsity teams, a rule that forced Onuorah to look elsewhere to use his final year of eligibility. Onuorah looked into Georgetown, in addition to UConn.

Ivy League rules for postgraduates forced Onuorah to look for another place to call home.

Brittney Chew | Sun Senior Photographer

Ivy League rules for postgraduates forced Onuorah to look for another place to call home.

According to the Hartford Courant, Onuorah visited UConn last week and then visited Georgetown after. Onuorah went to Instagram Tuesday night to announce his plans to continue his playing career.

“I really felt a strong connection with the coaches [at UConn],” Onuorah told the Courant. “I could sense the hunger around the team, I could feel it, and it was a good thing to feel. It was a tough decision, but I just felt that UConn was the best fit for me.”

Onuorah follows in the footsteps of Shonn Miller ’15, who also played at Cornell for his undergraduate years before using his final year of eligibility to play at UConn. Onuorah and Miller were teammates in Ithaca, and Onuorah said he reached out to Miller during the decision making process.

“I definitely talked to Shonn, and he told me about the program and the coaching staff, and it made my decision easier, knowing that he had a good experience,” Onuorah said.

UConn is in need of big men after three forwards and one center all left the program during the offseason. Onuorah’s veteran experience has already created chatter about major minutes for the fifth-year player, and perhaps even working his way to a starting position for the Huskies.