Photo: Phillip Kamrass/Albany Times Union
The NBA Draft often becomes focused around big name prospects from schools in major conferences. However, history has shown us that talent can come from anywhere, and what’s more important is playing at a school where you are comfortable and that helps you develop. Siena may not be known by many outside of the Northeast, but they have had one of college basketball’s best kept secrets the last few seasons – O.D. Anosike, the best rebounder in the country.
It may seem unusual for one of the best rebounder in basketball to play at Siena, but Anosike believes being there played a part in how he has developed. “Siena offered me the chance to grow at my own pace, both as a player and a person,” said Anosike. “My freshman year I was still getting adjusted to the college game. By my junior and senior year, I was ready to be a leader and to go out and play my game.”
While there were advantages to playing at Siena in the smaller MAAC conference, Anosike realizes that with those advantages came some drawbacks. “Playing in the MAAC was a blessing and a curse at the same time,” said Anosike. “I was able to get minutes right away and I was allowed to develop at my own pace, but we didn’t get the recognition or the television coverage of the bigger conferences; sometimes it was tough to get recognized for what we did.”
The recognition may not have always been there for Anosike, but the results certainly were. He led college basketball in rebounding the past two seasons, averaging 12.5 rebounds per game his junior year, and 11.4 his senior season. Add to that an improving offensive skill set, and Anosike has set himself up nicely for a professional career.
Anosike has many talents that he believes the NBA is looking for. “Rebounding is always going to be my calling card for my career,” explained Anosike. “It’s a skill that translates to the NBA game. My game has gotten better and I want to compete.”
He has been working hard on improving his game in preparation for NBA team workouts. “My ballhandling and my shooting, inside and outside are some key areas I have been working on,” said Anosike. “Becoming a better passer out of the high post is also important.”
Still, Anosike can already envision the kind of role he could fill for a team at the next level right away. “I can be an energy player, doing all of the little things that the team needs,” said Anosike. “I can go out there and rebound and defend. There won’t be any issues on or off the court, and given time and proper coaching, I will continue to improve.”
Anosike’s time at Siena has prepared him for whatever team situation he finds himself in next year, including playing in different systems. “I like to think that I am versatile,” said Anosike. “My freshman year we played a more up-tempo style and then slowed it down to a more halfcourt system. I feel I am ready for any situation.”
Where ever Anosike plays next year, he is confident that he has a lot to offer a team. “Rebounding will always be number one, you can never get too much of it,” said Anosike. “I have a high IQ and I’m coachable. I know my role and go out and do it the best I can.”
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