UPDATE: Inside Carolina spoke with Oriakhi's father who said UNC was definitely "on the radar." He also stated UNC has not yet made contact with his son contrary to previous reports. The head line has been changed to reflect this information.
As noted in the comments, Oriakhi has said he is maintaining a 3.6 GPA which would assuage any concerns about his academics.
CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman just tweeted out a list of schools who have "reached out" to Oriakhi: Kentucky, UNC, Duke, NC State, Florida, Temple, Xavier, UCLA, Missouri, George Mason, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Charlotte.
Obviously UNC has not actually reached out but I imagine Roy will if Henson walks out the door.
Original post after the jump.
UConn forward Alex Oriakhi has been officially released from his scholarship, a school spokesperson said Tuesday.
And that means Oriakhi, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound senior-to-be, can talk with other schools. A source close to the situation said that Kentucky and North Carolina are among the teams that have contacted Oriakhi. The source also added that Oriakhi will not consider Duke, which was rumored to have interest in the former McDonald’s All-American.
Per NCAA rules, Oriakhi is not allowed to transfer within the Big East.
Before getting into what this means for UNC, let us take a moment and snicker in the general direction of Durham at yet another big man expressing zero desire to play at Duke.
The first reaction you get from fans when news like this comes out is "Oh no! Henson and McAdoo are leaving!" Maybe, maybe not. At this point I would say Roy Williams has a general idea but based on his comments after the Kansas game he was not planning on having conversations with the players until later in the week. The most likely scenario is Roy is hedging his bets against the loss of just Henson. There are also some scholarship numbers to crunch if no one were to leave but if no one leaves I doubt Oriakhi will be interested. If Henson leaves that means you have James Michael McAdoo, Desmond Hubert, Brice Johnson and Joel James. Oriakhi is 6-9 and experienced. He would definitely help on the interior playing alongside McAdoo with Hubert, Johnson and James coming off the bench.
The only aspect of this that gives me hesitancy is Oriakhi was at UConn and there is a rather putrid stench emanating from that program. I am not suggesting that means Oriakhi is a poor student or a bad kid by any stretch but the reason he is seeking a transfer is because UConn is being banned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament due to a poor academic performance. Again, I have no idea what Oriakhi's grades look like or anything about his character. Hopefully he acquits himself in both areas better than the coach and program he played for.
Until the NBA Draft declarations sort themselves out this is on the back burner but could become something to look at in the very near future.