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Pitt adds walk-on Onye Ezeakudo to bolster backcourt

The guard joins a Panthers team currently missing Sidy N’Dir

NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel was recently informed that he will be without the services of guard Sidy N’Dir for at least a month due to a leg injury, and on Wednesday, an addition to the Pitt men’s basketball roster was revealed with the apparent aim of addressing the void created by N’Dir’s absence. That addition was Onye Ezeakudo, a 5'11" guard from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who officially joined the team as a walk-on on Tuesday, according to Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Little information regarding Ezeakudo is available in his official team bio, but he was profiled by Tony Orr of Prep Hoops earlier this year at a time when he was drawing the attention of Division III schools, including Case Western Reserve and in-state universities Manchester and Trine.

“Onye has been outstanding this season when it comes to scoring the ball at all three levels,” Orr wrote. “His first step off the catch is incredibly quick, and he’s a good finisher at the rim under duress. He uses both hands well around the basket and has a soft touch when he’s able to get the ball up on the rim."

“Ezeakudo has been especially efficient from deep," Orr continued. "As he’s developed more skills with the ball in his hands, he’s become creative in getting his own shot. He moves well off the ball to get open, running off screens and using his basketball IQ to find weaknesses in the defense. Onye is opportunistic when he gets a switch with the big man on him and attacks the basket to score.”

The former Homestead High School standout showed promise during his junior season but became more of a force as a senior, when he averaged 13.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Given his ability to attack the rim and create off the bounce — qualities he shares with N’Dir — it seems Ezeakudo may serve as a stopgap option until the graduate transfer has fully recovered, but Capel’s exact plans for him have not been announced.

Capel has a number of backcourt options on the bench that he can turn to, including most notably Khameron Davis and Curtis Aiken Jr. However, it’s possible Ezeakudo brings a specific skill set to the table that could benefit the team immediately. It’s unclear how N’Dir’s absence will be addressed, but the plan should become apparent when Pitt faces New Orleans on Thursday night.