Arinze Onuaku Signs with New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans have announced they have signed former Charge F/C Arinze Onuaku to a non-disclosed contract. Arinze will join the Pelicans in training camp next month and will look to bolster a frontcourt that includes former #1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the versatile Ryan Anderson.

The 6-foot-9 forward, who at one point was the NBA D-League's top overall Prospect, played in 38 games last season (32 starts) and averaged 12.6 points on .564 shooting with 9.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 23.7 minutes per game. His shooting percentage and rebound numbers were both the fifth-best averages in the league last season. Arinze also posted an average of 11.7 points on .600 shooting with 9.7 rebounds in 25.0 minutes per game during his three starts during Canton’s opening round playoff series.

Some injuries while at Syracuse lingered and hindered Onuaku’s initial start to his professional career, but a determination and work ethic has broad and strong as his body type allowed him to transform into a more efficient big man in order to carve out a niche for himself. He led Canton with 20 double-doubles last season and averaged 19.1 rebounds per 48 minutes, a figure that was higher than any other player’s ranked in the top 50 in rebound average last year. He also nabbed 23% of available rebounds when on the court, also the highest mark in the league.

When talking to recently, Arinze said that last season he was most effective when he sticks to his strengths. “I just try to be a defensive presence, rebound the ball and be highly effective around the rim.” Onuaku said. “I have strength as a mobile big that plays defense and can rebound aggressively. I can catch anything and finish around the rim at a high percentage.”

The Phoenix Suns enlisted Onuaku and his strengths for NBA Summer League in Las Vegas where he averaged 6.9 points on .545 shooting with 6.4 rebounds in just 17.0 minutes per game. The Orange alum made the most of his opportunities on the court and felt that his consistency and specific skill set displayed in the D-League and in Vegas would only lead to another opportunity in a matter of time.

”Every team needs bigs that can do those things (that I can do) and If you’re a big with good hands & feet, they’ll love you.” Onuaku said. “Any roster needs that and I just need to prove that I have enough of all of those attributes to be able to make a positive addition to any of these teams.”

The Pelicans certainly felt like AO has enough of those attributes. Although his deal isn’t guaranteed, New Orleans surely knew that adding a highly-skilled big who excels in efficiency and maximizes his opportunities could prove to be a major asset to their squad. Charge Nation is proud of you Arinze and best of luck when the next chapter in your NBA journey begins in training camp this fall.

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