March 03, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Cougars forward Alandise Harris (2) attempts to score in the second half as Rice Owls center Omar Oraby (34) defends at Tudor Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Villanova added two transfers to the basketball program in Tony Chennault and Dylan Ennis, and according to one report, they may be looking for another. Jeff Goodman tweeted yesterday that 7-foot-2 Rice University big man, Omar Oraby is looking at Villanova along with USC, UCLA, Ohio State and Rhode Island. Rice was also the original school attended by Dylan Ennis.
Oraby is the most recent departure from a Rice program that has lost a few players to transfer in the past year. He played two seasons for the Owls and would have two remaining after sitting out for an NCAA-mandated season.
The Egyptian center averaged 6.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season. He leaves Rice holding the school's single-season block record with 54, shattering the prior mark of 45. He was efficient offensively, shooting 62.9 percent from the field and despite his size. He was also one of Rice's best free throw shooters, connecting on 71.2 percent of those opportunities.
He would likely enroll at a new school for the Spring semester and would be able to practice from that point and would be eligible to play again in the 2013-14 season.
For Villanova, landing Oraby would leave them with just one scholarship opening for the 2013 class. It would also ensure that the Wildcats have no desperate needs to be filled in that class, having shored up the guard depth with the addition of Chennault and Ennis and with Oraby filling a need in the frontcourt.
Oraby's height and shot-blocking talent would allow him to be a solid replacement for Mo Sutton, who will exhaust his eligibility this season, and would offer a big-bodied option to spell Daniel Ochefu. Villanova's interest in Oraby, therefore, is hardly shocking.
This is a big, capable center who is getting looks from multiple high-major schools. He will offer shot-blocking, rebounding and an efficient offensive option wherever he lands.
Updated (1:30pm) - Matt Doherty, Larry Brown's predecessor at SMU, tweeted that he thinks Oraby is a potential future pro.
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