Going into the game against Wake Forest, Chinanu Onuaku was the third leading scorer on the University of Louisville basketball, averaging 9.5 points per game. That alone was a surprise, considering how far Onuaku had to go after his freshman season.

Pegged by some some to be a prime transfer candidate, the most foul prone player on the team, averaging only three points per game. He needed to work, and work hard over the summer. He obviously did over the summer, working overtime, improving on all phases of his game, wanting to improve.

Onuaku did get better. Much better. Never was that more obvious than in his second double-double performance this season, Onuaku scoring 12 points and pulling down 15 rebounds in UofL’s 65-57 win over the Demon Deacons before 21,302 fans at the KFC Yum! Center.

Playing with a newfound confidence on offense and defense — he blocked four shots as well — Onuaku looked like a completely different player. No fouls in the first half — none, thank you — although he was tagged with four in the second half. Gives him something to work on, more progress to make, more to prove.

Louisville needed a strong presence in the middle against a relentless Wake Forest offense, and it had to come from Onuaku, especially with Mangok Mathiang sidelined for another seven weeks. Critical with Damion Lee getting off to a slow start and Trey Lewis playing on a questionable ankle.

Equally impressive was the breakthrough of freshman Donovan Mitchell, leading all scorers with 18 points. Confident, fearless, a natural leader, he’s only going to continue to get better. Cardinal fans can only hope he sticks around for at least a couple of more seasons.

Same could be said about Onuaku if he continues to improve as much as he has between his freshman and sophomore seasons.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

One thought on “Onuaku plays big, Louisville subdues Wake Forest”
  1. CO sure looked decent last night but I was much more impressed with Mitchell. He is going to be a great player before he leaves. He might be the illegitimate love child of LaBradford Smith/Eric Johnson/Jerome Harmon/Lancaster Gordon…

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