Villanova’s Ochefu is a secret weapon for the Wildcats

Daniel Ochefu
Villanova’s Daniel Ochefu is just a sophomore, but has been making noise for the Wildcats down the stretch.

Somebody unexpected will be waiting for them when the team from Peyton Manning’s “favorite” city comes to town tonight to face No. 6 ranked Villanova with first place in the new Big East at stake.

That would be Creighton, from Omaha of course, which will have to deal with emerging Wildcats’ big man Daniel Ochefu. The 6-foot-11 sophomore from nearby Westtown, PA dominated both ends of the paint in ‘Nova’s impressive 88-62 win over DePaul Saturday, showing what a force he can be when he stays on the court and out of foul trouble.

That figures to pose an additional problem for the No. 20 ranked 15-3 Blue Jays. Then again just watching tapes of All-American Doug McDermott & Co. , who excel on precision ball movement on offense and sound overall fundamental play, gives Jay Wright’s 16-1 gang plenty to worry about.

“They’re just really good sound offensive players,’’ said Ochefu, who scored a career high 14 points, pulled down six rebounds, handed out four assists and blocked three shots against the Blue Demons. “Doug McDermott is a great player, so obviously he’s gonna be our main focus. But we can’t sleep on their other players.’’

And if Saturday was any indication, teams won’t be able to sleep on Ochefu, whose path to the Main Line is just a bit out of the ordinary.

“We went from Maryland (Baltimore), to Nigeria for 3-4 years, then Pennsylvania,’’ explained Ochefu, who spoke only English there, where he played more soccer than basketball. “It was a real good experience for me. My father has a lot of family there. He just wanted me to meet them.  It was a big adjustment and a complete culture shift going over there.’’

He’s also used to handling the ball, not usually the case for a big man.

“My high school coach  had me run a little bit of point,’’ said Ochefu, averaging a modest 4,9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks  for the season.  “They pressed us in high school (East Downingtown),  so I would just bring the ball up. When I came here there were so many good shooters so I just worked on passing to them.’’

Having a near 7-footer who can not only impose his will at the defensive end, but serve as a low post threat with the ability to distribute the ball, figures to make the ‘Cats even meaner.

“It takes time for a forward to develop,” said Wright, whose club shot a blistering 19-for-26, 73.1% in the second half to turn a 33-24 game into a rout. “I’m so proud of him. He works hard at his offensive skills and takes great pride in his passing and his defense  being able to keep him on the floor when he’s playing like this offensively is real big for us.’’

Especially since that will give Creighton, where Paul Silas, Kyle Korver and Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson once called home, one more thing to worry about besides Villanova guards Ryan Arcidianco, Darrun Hilliard forwards JayVaughn Pinkston and James Bell and freshman sensation  Josh Hart. “It’s been little bit frustrating until now,’’ said Ochefu, who sheepishly admits he has no idea what his family name means in Nigerian. “So it’s really good being on the court for my teammates. I know I’m a big defensive presence, but it was big to see the ball go through basket and get some blocked shots and rebounds Definitely a big boost for my confidence.’’

And yet one more reason the kids from Omaha and the rest of the Big East are all looking up in the standings at Villanova.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.