PORTSMOUTH — Throughout his basketball career, E.J. Onu has proven to be a great player.
After all, the great ones always come up the largest on the biggest of stages.
Having passed essentially every test at Shawnee State in a strong manner academically and athletically, Onu will officially begin a newfound journey when the 6-11 big man participates in the 2021 NBA G-League Elite Camp from Saturday, June 19 thru Monday, June 21 in Chicago.
For the literal version of the big man on campus at Shawnee State, it’s certainly an exciting time.
“It’s big for me going through this process,” Onu said. “I’ve worked hard the last four years, and it’s starting to come to fruition. It’s been crazy. I’m just like a sponge trying to soak it all up and be a student of the game.”
Onu, who has been a much-talked about player, has continued to make favorable impressions on several NBA organizations.
The Cleveland product has had workouts with the Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics, with workouts scheduled with three additional NBA organizations in the coming days ahead.
His unique skill set and measureables — which allowed Shawnee State to claim a 52-13 record over the past two seasons — has resulted in Onu shooting onto the radar of many NBA scouts.
According to the latest NBA Draft Big Board posted by USA Today, Onu is ranked as the 47th-best prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft Class — ahead of guys such as Texas’ Greg Brown, Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey, the G-League Ignite’s Isaiah Todd and Villanova’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who were each five-star recruits coming out of their respective high school classes.
Brown, Bassey and Todd were each national top-15 recruits out of high school.
With Beyond Athlete Management, Onu certainly has a reputable service pushing for his selection.
Beyond Athlete Management currently represents professional athletes such as NFL running back Miles Sanders (Philadelphia Eagles), NFL wide receiver Courtland Sutton (Denver Broncos), and professional basketball talents such as Tyrell Terry (Dallas Mavericks), Glenn Robinson (Sacramento Kings), Jae’Sean Tate (Houston Rockets), Isaiah Hartenstein (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Josh Gray (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Fellow 2021 NBA Draft hopeful Mac McClung is also being represented by the organization.
“Beyond Athlete Management is great,” Onu said. “They have made this process a lot easier for me to handle. From Daniel Poneman to Jelani Floyd, Mike Naiditch and Maddie Church as well as the work of the entire staff, it’s made me less stressful and made sure that I’m ready for anything and everything.”
Through the different workouts and open runs that he’s participated in, Onu’s already picked up valuable skills that he believes will greatly benefit him going forward.
“I’ve learned a lot,” Onu said. “There’s different ways to guard ball screens and different ways that I’ve learned to get in the post. There’s talented guys at every level of basketball, and that’s especially the case here, so it really comes down to wanting it more than the person in front of you.”
Onu is among a who’s-who of names competing in the G-League Combine over this weekend, including former five-star prospects and college basketball stars Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Moussa Cisse (Memphis) and Hunter Dickinson (Michigan).
McClung and 2021 NCAA Division I National Champion guard MaCio Teague (Baylor) are among the many additional notables.
A select group of the G-League Elite Camp participants will be selected to participate in the 2021 NBA Draft Combine from Monday, June 21 thru Sunday, June 27 in Chicago.
The 2021 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. — and is televised live by ESPN on a yearly basis.
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