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Arizona interested in Oral Roberts transfer Kevin Obanor

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oral Roberts at Arkansas Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Oral Roberts star forward Kevin Obanor has entered the transfer portal, and Arizona is one of several schools interested in the graduate transfer.

Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reports the Wildcats reached out to Obanor on Friday, joining the likes of North Carolina, Texas Tech, Arkansas and plenty more high-major programs.

Obanor averaged 18.7 points and 9.6 rebounds as a junior at Oral Roberts. The Houston native exploded onto the national scene during ORU’s NCAA Tournament run. He led the No. 15 seed Golden Eagles to a first round upset over Ohio State, scoring 30 points and collecting 11 rebounds. Obanor had 28 points and 11 rebounds in ORU’s second round win against Florida.

The Golden Eagles were a rare No. 15 seed to reach the Sweet 16, where they lost a tight contest to Arkansas. Obanor had 12 points and 11 rebounds in the defeat.

Obanor’s March run also caught the attention of NBA scouts.

The 6-foot-8, 225-pound big man entered the NBA Draft process this spring. He has already worked out with the Golden State Warriors and has workouts scheduled with Philadelphia and Orlando next week, according to Goodman.

By entering the transfer portal, Obanor is wisely giving himself the option of playing for a top program if he chooses to return to college for a final season.

Arizona will face steep competition in recruiting Obanor to Tucson. Head coach Tommy Lloyd said Thursday that the Wildcats staff is “keeping our eyes and ears open” for an additional player or two the 2021-22 roster. Arizona currently has two open scholarships, but Lloyd said it’s unlikely both will be filled.

Lloyd alluded to the possibility of adding another big to the team and Obanor certainly fits that bill. The challenge for Arizona’s staff now will be to convince Obanor that UA also fits what he’s looking for in a program.

“Traditionally in the past, I’ve been really comfortable playing two bigs together and so having another guy might give us a little more depth and more opportunities,” Lloyd said. “But if we don’t, I feel like we have guards with good size. We could play our own version of small ball and I think we’d be pretty good at it.”