CHENEY, Wash. – Bolstering its roster with a 6-foot-10, 190-pound power forward, the Eastern Washington University men’s basketball program and head coach Shantay Legans has announced the addition of transfer Ralueke Orizu. He will redshirt the 2018-19 season at EWU, and have three remaining seasons of eligibility.
Orizu is from Austell, Ga., and averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds as a freshman at Savannah State, a NCAA Division I school in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He played in 26 of the team’s 32 games and had one start, and sank 54.3 percent of his shots from the field.
He had a season-high 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field against Morgan State, and his other double figure scoring performance was 12 versus Carver College when he also had a season-high eight rebounds. He sank 9-of-13 free throws versus Louisiana and added seven boards in that game.
He is a 2017 graduate of South Cobb High School in Georgia where he averaged 12.5 points and 9.2 rebounds as a senior while making 52 percent of his shots from the field. His team finished 23-8 in the 2016-17 season and advanced to the semifinals of the State AAAAAA Tournament in Georgia.
His full name is Ralueke Chidalu Orizu and he was born Jan. 4, 1999. His name is pronounced "ray-LAY-kay or-EE-zoo." He is interested in studying chemistry at EWU with hopes to become a pharmacist. His parents are Prince and Chichi Orizu.
The Eagles had just three seniors on their 2017-18 roster, and have previously announced the addition of two players who will be freshmen in 2018-19. Most recently, Austin Fadal signed a letter of intent after attending Hillcrest Prep in Arizona in 2017-18 and graduating in 2017 from Monte Vista High School in the East Bay near San Francisco.
In November, the Eagles signed Elijah Jackson from Seattle’s Chief Sealth High School, and had five players – including a trio of freshmen — redshirt the 2017-18 season at EWU.
The Eagles had a highly-competitive and highly-successful season in the first year at the helm for Legans. His squad went on a late-season eight-game winning streak that was the best in 14 years, and the Eagles were among a record six Big Sky teams who won at least 20 games in the 2017-18 season
At 20-15 on the year, Eastern had 20 victories for the second-straight season and the third time in the last four, with EWU achieving that mark just one other time in the school’s 35 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I. This year’s team is just one of six in the school’s 35-year NCAA Division I history to have at least 18, including the last four seasons in a row.
The Eagles played 11 opponents who advanced to national postseason tournaments, with the Eagles winning five of the 15 meetings against those teams. After beating Portland State 78-72 and Southern Utah 82-70 in the in Big Sky Conference Tournament, the Eagles fell to regular season champion Montana 82-65 in the championship game.
Eastern, which had a 41-29 halftime lead against the Grizzlies, then fell 87-65 at Utah Valley in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational. That marked the fourth-straight season the Eagles have played in national postseason tournaments, including the 2015 NCAA Tournament.