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April 22, 2014

Obi gives Duke more post strength

Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn't accept transfer requests from just anyone. In fact, the list is so small the title of "transfer" still holds an elite-like stigma. On Monday, the Blue Devils accepted Rice freshman Sean Obi into the club, effectively adding one of the nation's top rebounders from a year ago.

Obi took a unique route for his decision, announcing via Instagram.

"Happy to officially announce that I will be attending Duke university for the rest of my college basketball career," he wrote. "Duke it is!!"

Obi, a 6-foot-9, 265-pound center made his mark on Conference USA basketball this past season, leading the league in rebounds with 9.3 per game and field goal percentage at .611. The big man posted 11 double doubles as a freshman including a 25 points, 19 rebound performance against South Alabama and a 22 point, 17 rebound showing against Marshall.

Duke's newest addition also found success against higher level competition, posting 10 points and 12 rebounds against Texas, 8 points and 9 rebounds versus Texas A&M and 9 points and 12 rebounds against league foe Tulsa, who lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament to UCLA.

With the addition of Obi, the Blue Devils shore up a position that could once again go vacant at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season depending on Jahlil Okafor's decision to go to the NBA or stay at Duke.

Devils Illustrated recruiting analyst Clint Jackson spoke to one college coach that was looking to earn the big man's signature.

"To quote one college coach who was hoping to land him -- getting an accomplished low post guy like this is like landing a top 25 prospect."

Obi flew under the radar at Green Farms (Conn.) Academy, where he played his high school basketball, leaving a number of questions about his game.

Jackson offered up his insight and evaluations gleaned from those familiar with his game in Texas.

"Everyone says the kid is a rebounding monster," Jackson said. "He locks those big legs in down in the paint and is just a horse on the glass. Really sturdy center who gets low and owns space. I think he will play at 270 pounds and he is just built to bang.

"He can score down low and has a nice drop step but I understand that he gets most of his points off rebounds and filling the lane."

The Nigerian native chose Duke over Vanderbilt and Michigan. He will be eligible beginning the 2015 season.


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