By Harry Allison
Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman are getting all the pub when it comes to going to the NBA.
But Temple has a player in the draft conversation too:
Obi Enechionyia, who averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in his senior season, and shot 35 percent on 3-balls. He didn’t receive an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, doesn’t know when he could be selected in the draft, but he said he has enjoyed the pre-draft process.
“It’s great to be able to just focus on basketball,” Enechionyia told the Temple News. “Because that’s my job for the next however many years, so it’s really good to wake up, eat and go play basketball.”
Enechionyia has been preparing for the NBA Draft at Impact Basketball, a development facility in Las Vegas for players pursuing basketball careers and professionals who want to polish their skills during the offseason.
Enechionyia said his biggest focus is making his 3-point shot more consistent, especially from NBA range. The college 3-point distance is three feet shorter than the NBA’s distance.
Shooting consistently became an issue for Enechionyia in the final two years of his career. In the first seven games of his junior season, Enechionyia averaged 21 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He only scored 15 points or more six times during the rest of the season.
Enechionyia received MVP honors at the Gildan Charleston Classic after Temple won the tournament against Clemson University on Nov. 19. He averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks during the three-game tournament.
But Enechionyia also had 16 games this season where he shot 25 percent or worse from 3-point range.
Before he went to Las Vegas, Enechionyia participated in the Portsmouth Invitational, a four-day, 12-game tournament from April 11-14 in Portsmouth, Virginia. The tournament gives college seniors the opportunity to play in front of representatives from every NBA team.
Enechionyia averaged 5.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in his three appearances. He shot 33 percent from the field, including 1-for-12 from 3-point range.
Enechionyia said that he had meetings with representatives from the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards. The teams asked Enechionyia about his life and upbringing, he said.
“I know all of the teams that wanted to interview me know pretty much everything about me as they possibly can without meeting me in person,” Enechionyia said. “They all know how I play, how my game will translate to the next level. … So I knew that was coming.”
Coach Fran Dunphy thinks a team would like the 6-10 forward because of his ability to hit 3-pointers.
“The game has changed dramatically,” Dunphy said. “Very few teams are playing with power forwards. They’re playing with stretch forwards, and that’s why there’s a number of teams who do have some great interest in him. So hopefully it will pan out for him.”