On this episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Alex Kennedy catches up with former NBA player Arinze Onuaku. The two discuss his various NBA stints, his time in the G League and his overseas experiences. Time-stamps are below.
1:20: Onuaku played for four NBA teams in three seasons: the Pelicans, Cavaliers, Timberwolves and Magic. He discusses some things that fans may not know about bouncing around to different teams and being an NBA journeyman.
2:15: During his three seasons, he only got to play in 19 games. He shares how frustrating that was, particularly not being able to showcase his game more.
2:55: What was better for his development, being in the NBA and having the best resources and facilities, or being in the G League or overseas where he could actually play a lot?
4:05: Onuaku discusses some of the veterans who helped him the most throughout his career.
5:25: Onuaku played in the G League for four seasons and did very well. In his last two seasons, he was a double-double machine and shot over 60 percent from the field. We discuss his G League experience.
7:00: If given the chance, what would Onuaku do to make the G League better and more attractive for players?
8:00: Is the G League talent pool underrated?
9:25: What does he think of the two-way contracts the NBA and G League have added?
11:22: Onuaku has played in Lithuania, China, Israel and the Philippines. Which of those overseas stints were the most enjoyable for him?
12:15: Onuaku has said that Lithuania was his roughest overseas experience, partially because he was homesick. But what else made Lithuania such a tough place to live and play?
13:35: Given his tough experience in Lithuania, was he surprised when LaVar Ball decided to take his sons out of school and send them there?
14:40: Onuaku discusses his current stint in the Philippines and how he has taken in the different cultures more overseas in recent years.
16:55: How tough is it when a player feels they belong in the NBA, but they have to settle for overseas deals or G League stints? And if Onuaku was in the NBA today, what kind of player would he be?
18:55: Onuaku is playing very well overseas, so he discusses how the fans have treated him.
18:40: What advice would he give his younger self?
20:45: Arinze’s brother, Chinanu Onuaku, made national headlines when he decided to shoot his free throws underhanded while with the Houston Rockets. Did Arinze ever consider it, and what was his reaction when he first learned his brother was making this change?
23:10: Chinanu is significantly younger than Arinze; what advice has he given his younger brother?
25:10: Being a top prospect at a young age, Arinze was rarely around his family – to the point that he didn’t get a chance to work out with his younger brother until Chinanu was in college. He discusses all of the sacrifices he made for basketball, from the time he was a teenager.
27:00: At what age did Arinze realize that he may be able to play basketball professionally?