After years of sharing the court together, the younger Oneka Okongu there may surprise Isaiah Mobley. Even when Okungwu makes history in his USC debut.
Okongwu introduced himself to 20 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots in college basketball, tying the school record for blocks in a game, a 77-48 win at USC’s season-opening Florida.
Tuesday night at the Galen Center Received in The Chino Hills freshman tampered with the school’s second-ever triple-double as he was two blocks away from joining Daniel Hackett’s 22-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist game in 2008.
“It’s not new for him,” said a smiling, former Compton Magic team from Okinawa.
Okongwu was pushed back to history when Florida A&M (0-1) avoided driving in the paint against the 6-foot-9 forward and USC coach Andy Enfield seated the remaining 6:57.
Okongwu had six blocks in the first half alone but missed out on making history.
“That was not my purpose for the night,” Freshman said. He said, ‘I just wanted to go there, have fun and help my team win. This is an extreme milestone, but I’m glad we won tonight. ”
The two-time Times player of the year met opponents at the top of his jump, extending a lumped arm towards the sky as an almost impenetrable obstacle in front of the rim. He also gave Kameron Reeves of Florida A&M and M. J. Randolph’s efforts were blown away by consecutive shots on a single possession in the first half. He scored on a putback dunk at the other end.
“He’s tireless,” Enfield said. “When that shot goes up, he’s going somewhere and it’s usually on the basketball side. … He got some great skills, but that’s really the mindset. I know a lot of people who like Oneka He is athletic, but when this shot goes up, he is going to get it. ”
Okongwu was an ugly shiny halfback for USC. The Trojans (1-0) shot just 33.3% from the field, scoring three points out of eight and only a one-point lead for the team that finished ninth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
The Trojans made a free throw in the first half. His second make was denied a lane violation on the final play the week before.
The Trojans, who scored 50 points in the paint, survived their defense, forcing 19 turnovers and keeping the Rattlers in 32.2% shooting on the night. While three-point shooting never clicked, completing 17 of three, the Trojans had support from Moleby, who scored all 17 of their points in the second half and added seven rebellions.
The two five-star recruits were the centerpiece of USC’s recruiting class ranked 24th in the nation by 247Sports.
Fellow freshman Ethan Anderson and Kyle Sturdivant took just six points, but the point guard committed just two turnovers and added 11 assists. Anderson (four points, two steals, seven assists) started in place of senior Jonah Matthews, who came off the bench after coming late to classes.
Lockerwu was the first player out of the locker room after the win when he returned to court for a radio interview. He greeted fans at the baseline and took pictures. He said that meditation does not distract him, although he is obsolete in it, just as he did not bother come to a block short of the school record.
“If he wants to break the school record,” Enfield said, “do it in the next game.”