The NBA D-League All-Star Game heads to Houston this month and will feature two former Orange basketball players among some of the best NBA prospects in America. Arinze Onuaku will play for the Futures team and Demetris Nichols will play for the Prospects.
Onuaku has averaged 12.4 points and 10 rebounds for the Canton Charge while consistently posting one of the best Player Efficiency Ratings in the league. At Syracuse, Onuaku boasted the best field-goal percentage in history and scored over 1,200 points in his career. Alongside Rick Jackson, Onuaku terrorized opposing frontcourts during his senior year until he went down with an injury in the Big East Tournament, forcing him to sit out the NCAA Tournament.
Nichols spent some time in the NBA after graduation but never really flourished as a player. This season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, he has averaged 17.8 points, five rebounds and two assists per game. Nichols came into Syracuse a year after the National Championship run in 2003. He started all 35 games during his junior year and his senior year where he averaged just under 19 points a game, made the All-Big East First Team and was an Honorable Mention All-American.
Onuaku and Nichols have been figureheads for some of the great things former Orange stars have been doing in the Developmental League. Rick Jackson has been a rebounding machine with the Austin Toros, averaging around nine a game. And Fab Melo is an example of a success story, making waves in the D-League before making his Celtics debut last week.