Busting Brackets

Kansas State Basketball: Impact of landing Kentucky transfer center Ugonna Onyenso

Former Kentucky Wildcat Ugonna Onyenso is heading to the Little Apple.
Ole Miss v Kentucky
Ole Miss v Kentucky / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Jerome Tang and Kansas State Basketball has made a splash in the portal, landing former Kentucky Wildcat Ugonna Onyenso, a seven-footer from Nigeria, announced via social media on Tuesday.

Onyenso, who spent the past two seasons in Lexington under former Wildcat head coach John Calipari, averaged 3.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 2.8 BPG last season, starting in 14 of 24 games. 

The former top-40 recruit missed the first month of the 2023-24 season due to a foot injury suffered in mid-July 2023 and originally announced his intentions to stay in the NBA Draft but withdrew his name from the draft on May 29, according to Cameron Drummond of Lexington Herald-Leader.

So what does Onyenso’s addition mean for the Wildcats?

In a revamped roster headlined by seven total transfers, Onyenso immediately brings elite rim-protecting defense, posting a 14.3% block rate last season, according to College Basketball Scouting.

With a 7-foot-5 wingspan and natural athletic abilities, it’s easy to see why Onyenso had NBA ambitions, as not only has he shown his rim-protecting prowess, but also his ability to become a threat as an offensive rebounder and rim-running big.

Pairing Onyenso alongside Samford transfer Achor Achor, another rim-protecting shot blocker who averaged 16.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG last season, gives Jerome Tang a strong frontcourt that will hold its own amongst the rigors of the Big 12.  

The addition of Arkansas transfer Baye Fall, who played sparingly last season under former Razorback head coach Eric Musselman, helps with depth in their frontcourt, too.

With Michigan transfer Dug McDaniel expected to run the point, David N’Guessman returning alongside transfer portal additions such as Villanova transfer Brendan Hausen, Cal State Fullerton transfer Max Jones and UIC transfer CJ Jones, the preseason buzz is certainly palpable in the Little Apple in year three of the Jerome Tang era.

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There may be five more months until the start of the 2024-25 college basketball season begins, but expect the Wildcats to be a major player in the 16-team Big 12 come November.