basketball Edit

Rancho Mirage Holiday: Five-star soph Onyeka Okongwu finding way

Onyeka Okongwu

PALM SPRINGS -- The Chino Hills (Calif.) High show featuring high scoring UCLA commits LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball has become must see hoops for high school basketball fans on the West Coast. However, three-star junior LiAngelo and four-star sophomore LaMelo are currently only the second and third highest rated players on their own team.

Five-star sophomore power forward Onyeka Okongwu who ranks No. 15 overall in the class of 2019 reminded the crowd at the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitaional why he's Chino Hills highest ranked prospect at this point.

The 6-foot-8 Okongwu spent the entire night abusing rims while going 10-11 from the field, scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

The Chino Hills offense is basically the Ball brothers letting it fly and Okongwu and others doing the dirty work. It's a role that Okongwu has committed himself to thriving in.

"I just do my part and I don't get mad that other guys are taking a lot of the shots," Okongwu told Rivals.com. "I like to play basketball and I have to do what I can to help out the team even if I know that LiAngelo and LaMelo are going to get more shots.

"I just want to keep doing my part and win."

Win, that's all that Chino Hills has done over the last season and a half. Their 92-57 win over Portland (Ore.) Franklin on Tuesday night was the Huskies 47th win in a row and Okongwu's rebounding, energy and above the rim play has been a huge part of the winning streak.

Moving forward, Okongwu is somewhat undersized as a center prospect but he's achieved five-star status on Rivals.com because of his rebounding, physical attributes and the belief that when given the opportunity he will show that he can do some things facing the rim.

For now, college coaches know what Okongwu is capable of and though he's not gotten too serious about his recruitment, that and the wins that keep piling up are enough for him.

"USC, they've made me feel like a priority," said Okongwu. "So has UCLA. Alabama and UNLV are also coming hard. I've not really made any visits and I'll worry about all of that later."