Tubby Smith may have saved his best for last. Texas Tech’s
first-year men’s basketball coach closed out his inaugural recruiting class by
inking Inglewood, California guard Randy Onwuasor.
The six-foot-three prospect concluded his recruitment by choosing the Red
Raiders over LSU, St. Louis University, Miami of Ohio and Cal State Fullerton. Onwauasor also drew interest from Pitt, Seton Hall, Florida State and Utah.
Although Onwuasor, who was his
district’s MVP as a senior, is not the first Red Raider hoopster to hail from
Inglewood (that distinction belongs to Jason Martin, the point guard on the
1995 Sweet 16 squad), he could be the most muscular point guard in school
history. Onwuasor packs 190 pounds on his six-foot-three
frame, and very little of that is body fat.
Onwuasor’s physique suggests
physical strength. With proper coaching there is every reason to believe Onwuasor could develop into the sort of rugged defender who
will neutralize opposing point guards and thereby short-circuit offenses. Such
players are rare, and they have the ability to dominate games with their
Onwuasor’s strength will help on
offense, too. It will help him shrug off physical defenders, break through hand
checks, and convert buckets after contact. And indeed, Onwuasor’s videotape shows a player who is fully capable of
getting into the paint, hanging, drawing contact, and scoring.
The videotape also shows a player whose game is amazingly
complete. Indeed, so comprehensive is Onwuasor’s
skill set that one is amazed he was not recruited more heavily. LSU’s Johnny Jones, Miami’s John Cooper, and Cal State Fullerton’s Dedrique
Tayler, three of the coaches who recruited Onwuasor, are known as up-tempo coaches who want to score in
transition. And it is easy to see why such coaches liked Onwuasor.
Despite being a large guard, Onwuasor
is entirely at home in transition. He handles the ball with confidence, sees
the entire court, and outruns defenders to the baseline. Onwuasor
also finishes. He may not have an outrageous vertical leap, but he rises off
the court very quickly and flushes the pumpkin with authority.
Versatility is also a part of Onwuasor’s
game. He is often described as a combo guard, and the appellation certainly fits.
Onwuasor’s quickness, explosive first step, and
ability to change direction on a dime, mean that he can penetrate like a true
point guard. His vision, accurate dishes and unselfishness make him effective
as a point guard.
Onwuasor’s size, however, means
that he is capable of checking the vast majority of two guards Tech will see.
And as an added bonus, Onwuasor appears to be a very
capable shooter with range out to 19 feet, if not more. Just as Onwuasor has a quick leap, he also has compact shooting mechanics which allow him to get his shot off in a
heartbeat. Onwuasor may not yet qualify as a
zone-buster, but teams will not be able to slough off him in order to guard
four men with five.
Tubby Smith surely hopes that the successful recruitment of Onwuasor will open inroads into greater Los Angeles the way
the signing of Alex Foster will lay pipe into Chi-town. Texas Tech has never
had anything approaching consistent success recruiting Los Angeles; if Onwuasor proves to be the first golden nugget of a future
haul of riches, Smith will be well on his way toward putting Red Raider
basketball on the gold standard.