Duke women's basketball 2023-24 player preview: Oluchi Okananwa

Oluchi Okananwa will be suiting up for her freshman season at Duke.
Oluchi Okananwa will be suiting up for her freshman season at Duke.

With the college basketball season right around the corner, it's time for the Blue Zone to take a look at the 2023-24 Duke women's basketball roster. We previously looked at Emma Koabel. Up next is freshman Oluchi Okananwa:

Oluchi Okananwa

Year: Freshman

Height: 5-foot-10

Position: Guard

Last year’s stat line: N/A

Game Breakdown: Oluchi Okanawa, a freshman from Boston, Mass., brings a lot of potential for the Blue Devils on both offense and defense. She jumped from being previously unranked to No. 27 overall in the class of 2023 by espnW after a stellar season her junior year of high school.

The Durham newcomer has a natural ability to lead and highly intelligent gameplay. Okananwa switched positions in the middle of her high school career, making her an impressive and effective hybrid guard/wing. Her adaptable play style and versatility impressed both her high school coaches and the staff at Duke, including head coach Kara Lawson.

On the court, the 2023 McDonald's All-American nominee has tremendous leaping ability, making her an excellent rebounder and a powerful defender. Although not the tallest at 5-foot-10, the 2023 NEPSAC AA Player of the Year and All-NEPSAC First Team honoree averaged 6.0 rebounds while playing with the Mass Rivals 17U team in 2022. Her remarkable speed means she is a threat to steal the ball as well. On the offensive side, the Worcester Academy alum has worked hard to perfect her three-point shot and is an accurate passer with a high basketball IQ. 

Role on the team: On a young team, with four freshmen, Okananwa has the potential to shine in her first year at Duke. However, the starting point guard position is likely to go to Taina Mair, the sophomore Boston College transfer. Even though she will probably come off the bench, Okananwa’s strong work ethic and high energy will give her the ability to thrive under Lawson and become a key part of the Blue Devil roster.

Projected stats: 12.9 MPG, 2.4 PPG, 1.7 APG


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