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Syracuse Basketball: Arinze Onuaku Ranked Top D-League Prospect

Former Syracuse basketball players are doing well in the NBA's Developmental League, however, the one making the biggest splash is, surprisingly, center Arinze Onuaku.

Arinze Onuaku
Arinze Onuaku
David Liam Kyle

Remember that time when CBS' Doug Gottlieb criticized the Syracuse basketball program for not having successful NBA players and somehow worked that into Jim Boeheim being an overrated coach?

Yeah, well, former Syracuse hoops stars may not currently be dominating the NBA but they're doing very well in the NBA's Developmental League.

As you may know, when Fab Melo isn't running into hotel doorways he's collecting triple-doubles seemingly at will; Kris Joseph is bouncing-up-and-down from the D-League to the Boston Celtics; Paul Harris is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Iowa Energy; and Demetris Nichols is the Sioux Falls' second-leading scorer (16.5 ppg).

But the player really turning heads more than any former Syracuse player is center Arinze Onuaku.

Looking at the latest D-League prospect rankings, compiled by Kevin Scheitrum, Onuaku is numero uno. The Canton Charge center, who's currently listed at 6-foot-9, 275 pounds, was ranked No. 7 last week.

(Note: Harris is ranked No. 24, while Andy Rautins, Rick Jackson, Nichols are all "on the cusp" of being ranked.)

Onuaku vaulted up the rankings thanks to having the highest PER (27.79) in the D-League. According to a piece by Sam Farber, the fourth-round selection in the 2012 NBA D-League Draft has become a "statistical dynamo."

At first glance, Onuaku’s numbers basic raw statistics are impressive - he is currently posting 14.3 PTS 11.5 REB 1.1 BLK per game. Decent enough, right?

Then you'll look a little closer and realize that he's put up those gaudy stats are in a mere 24.3 minutes per game. If we extrapolate those numbers to their per/48 minute values -- which means basically doubling them -- we’re looking a Wilt-esque 28 PTS 23 REB 2.2 BLK average.

Farber calls Onuaku, "the most skilled rebounder in the NBA D-League," and points out he collects more than one-quarter of all rebounds available when he's on the floor.

Not surprising, Onuaku is still struggling at the free-throw line (51-percent), however, we all know that's not what teams ask him to do.

For those curious about the former Orange star's "old-man stats," he's averaging 14.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg, while shooting an impressive 56.3-percent from the floor.

Onuaku is also averaging 24.3 minutes per game for the Charge (9-8), who are affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Currently, the Charge are on a three-game winning streak and in the first two games of the streak - Onuaku did not play Thursday due to a contusion to his left knee that occurred after colliding with a teammate in Wednesday's practice - he averaged 16.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and made 64-percent of his shots.

Canton acquired Onuaku in a trade just days after he was drafted by the Reno Bighorns in early November.

Last year, Onuaku played in 11 D-League games with the Rio Grande Valley after playing in six games in Lithuania.