Louisville C Chinanu Onuaku to test NBA Draft waters: Scouting Report

Louisville‘s season obviously hasn’t gone according to plan following a high-profile scandal that, in turn, forced a postseason ban.

Now, the Cardinals might be losing their best underclass player.

Center Chinanu Onuaku is going to test the NBA Draft waters this season, a Louisville spokesman confirmed to CBS Sports. This news was initially reported by the Courier-Journal.

The spokesman told CBS Sports that Onuaku’s current plan is not to sign with an agent in order to maintain his collegiate eligibility, with a decision coming after going through the draft process and before the official early entry pull-out date that is currently slated for May 25.

The 6-foot-10 center is the kind of player who will benefit a lot from the new NCAA rule that will allow players to declare for the draft, test their stock, then return to college if they don’t like what they find out. Onuaku is currently the No. 59 overall prospect on CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board. However, there are quite a few NBA scouts and executives out there who like him a bit more than that and consider him a borderline first-round talent.

Onuaku is a reallty interesting prospect in a lot of respects, beyond even the idea of having an under-handed free throw shooter in the NBA. There is a lot to like, and he also has quite a few holes in his game that could cause him issues in translating to the next level.

Strengths

With a measured 7-2.5 wingspan and 9-1.5 standing reach (per DraftExpress), he should have solid — if unspectacular — size to play center in the NBA. His overall frame is also pretty stout already, as he weighs in at 245 pounds and has solid physical strength. In his two years at Louisville, he’s done a good job of transforming his body into a more muscular frame. That frame translates best on defense, as Onuaku is a really solid rim-protector. He does a good job of moving throughout the paint and contesting shots, as well as blocking his fair share of them as his 9.7 block rate shows.

Here’s a good example of him coming over from the weak side to protect the rim for a big block to seal Louisville’s game against Georgia Tech earlier this season.