I'm slightly confused on the Arinze Onuaku situation. Then again, we've all been slightly confused about Arinze Onuaku's situation since he had that tiny injury that suddenly ballooned into a torn quad right before the NCAA Tournament.
With that injury looming large over Arinze's career and with doubts that he was NBA-ready to begin with, it seemed like Jim Boeheim and SU had the right plan for AO. Boeheim told a radio station that AO would remain with the University for the following season as a grad assistant, letting the injury heal so he can get back to full-strength and then enter the 2011 Draft.
That was all we heard. Maybe Boeheim was talking out of his rear (not impossible) because it seems like AO is very much 2010 Draft-eligible. SU Athletics even says as much:
Center Arinze Onuaku is also draft eligible. He played in 31 games and averaged 10.5 points and 5.1 rebounds as a senior. A knee injury suffered in the BIG EAST Conference Tournament cut short his campaign. He set school records for season (.688) and career (.648) field-goal percentage.
AO even shows up in one mock draft from just a couple weeks ago, though I don't get the sense they realized his condition. As for what condition AO is currently in, I have no idea. For some weird reason, although Arinze has been doing tons of appearances in Syracuse lately, no one seems to be interested in asking him what his status is.
There's this interview from May 8th where a decidedly-uninterested AO say his rehab is going well and he plans on getting to the NBA but is extremely evasive on specifics.
So, I'm not quite sure was AO and the Orange are hoping for out of the 2010 Draft and free agency period for the big man. It doesn't seem like he's ready to go anytime soon or else he'd be shouting that from the rooftops. Rather, the many appearances seem like a way for the big man to stay top of mind with Orange fans as he begins putting in one more year of work en route to the pros.
While we wait for that, check out this "draft preview" of AO set to some of the worst music I've ever heard.