Onu to enter NBA Draft, keep eligibility open

PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State senior big man E.J. Onu has officially announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft, as announced by Onu himself on Thursday on social media.

The two-time NAIA All-American and NABC NAIA All-American, three-time Mid-South Conference Defensive Player of the Year, 2020-21 Mid-South Conference Player of the Year, and last — but not least — 2021 National Champion will not sign with an agent in order to retain his collegiate eligibility.

Along with his impact athletically — which needs no introduction — Onu has also made a good statement in the classroom.

Academically, Onu has nearly 110 hours of academic credit — and is on track to graduate in the spring.

The 6-11 native of Cleveland made the Dean’s List last semester, and sits within a tenth of a GPA point from a 3.0 cumulative GPA overall as an exercise science major.

Since arriving to SSU in the Fall 2017 semester, Onu has been lauded for not only his work ethic in both areas, but his humble and personable demeanor off the floor despite his own rising star.

Onu’s official statement is as follows:

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for all of the opportunities that he has blessed me with,” Onu said in his statement. “I came to Shawnee State not knowing what was next for me and my basketball career. Being a part of Shawnee State’s basketball program has helped me grow as a player and as a person. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be a member of this team. I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped me on this journey, from head coach DeLano Thomas, to the coaching staff that I’ve had throughout the years, to my teammates, grad assistants, and athletic trainers. Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement. It means a lot. To my family, you have played a huge part in my success and have seen me through the ups and downs. I’m very blessed and thankful to have you. That being said, I have entered my name into the 2021 NBA Draft while still keeping my remaining year of eligibility open.”

For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club or for sponsorship of specific SSU players or events, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club and https://givetossu.com/sponsorthebears.

Onu named to NABC Coaches

NAIA All-America Team

Onu put a significant capper to his career on Thursday afternoon, as the Cleveland native and former Richmond Heights High School graduate was one of 10 players across the entire NAIA realm to be named as a NABC Coaches NAIA All-American — the membership announced.

Onu — who averaged 16.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game — helped Shawnee State improve in every season with his defensive prowess.

Shawnee State went 14-17 and 14-16 over Onu’s first two seasons to 21-11 and 31-2 over his last two.

For his career, the elite defender won three Mid-South Conference Defensive Player of the Year Awards (2017-18, 2019-20, 2020-21) — and notched 1,577 points, 866 rebounds and 529 blocks, putting together averages of 12.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.2 swats.

Onu played in each of the program’s 125 contests during his four seasons, while starting in 123 of those games.

Onu is the school’s all-time leader in blocks (529) and blocks per game (4.2), and third in program history in career points and career rebounds.

The 6-11 center won Shawnee State’s first-ever conference POY award with his Mid-South Conference Player of the Year honor during the 2020-21 season, and was named a first-team all-MSC honoree two seasons in a row (2019-20, 2020-21) — to go along with his second-team all-MSC honors in 2018-19.

Onu added in first-team NAIA All-American honors during the 2020-21 campaign — after earning Honorable Mention NAIA All-American accolades in 2019-20.

A complete list of the NABC Coaches NAIA All-America Team is as follows:



Kevion Blaylock, William Penn (Iowa), Senior, Forward, Houston, TX

TreVion Crews, Bethel (Ind.), Senior, Guard, Fort Wayne, IN

Kadavion Evans, LSU Shreveport (La.), Senior, Guard, Shreveport, LA

Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, Providence (Mont.), Senior, Guard, Great Falls, MT

Joshua Kashila, SAGU (Texas), Senior, Guard, Euless, TX

Kyle Mangas, Indiana Wesleyan, Senior, Guard, Warsaw, IN

Rayshawn Mart, Xavier (La.), Senior, Guard, Houma, LA

Damek Mitchell, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Senior, Guard, Bellingham, WA

E.J. Onu, Shawnee State (OH), Senior, Forward, Cleveland, OH

Jaylon Scott, Bethel (Kan.), Junior, Guard, Allen, TX

Markelle Turner, Union (Ky.), Sophomore, Guard, Barbourville, KY

Mason Walters, Jamestown (ND), Sophomore, Forward, Jamestown, NC