Alex Oriakhi became the third Missouri Tiger drafted into the NBA in the Frank Haith era when the Phoenix Suns selected him with the 57th overall pick (27th pick of the second round).
Oriakhi follows both Kim English (Detroit Pistons at No. 44) and Marcus Denmon (San Antonio Spurs at No. 59) who were selected in the second round in 2012 last year and he becomes the 43rd Tiger drafted all-time and the second drafted by the Suns.
“I want to congratulate both Alex and the Phoenix Suns on tonight’s draft selection,” Head Coach Frank Haith said. “Alex put in a tremendous amount of work, as did Phil (Pressey), Laurence (Bowers) and Keion (Bell), and is so deserving of this opportunity. He is one of the most coachable players I have ever been around and improved tremendously throughout his senior season.”
Oriakhi played one season at Mizzou and averaged a career high 11.2 points and set career highs in field goal percentage (.639) and free throw percentage (.746). The 6’9, 255-pound forward earned honorable mention All-SEC recognition from the league media and was one of the league’s top defensive players finishing with 54 blocks and 20 steals.
“I was really excited to hear my named called and it’s an honor to have a chance to play and compete for the Phoenix Suns,” Oriakhi said. “Phoenix is a great organization. They have great fans and I can’t wait to get back out there and get to work. I also want to thank my coaches and teammates at Mizzou. Coach Haith and the staff really believed in me and my teammates and the fans welcomed me in and treated me like family.”
Oriakhi began his career at the University of Connecticut where he won a national championship.