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Monday, April 16, 2012
Weekend Roundup: Decisions, Reunions

By Robbi Pickeral

Some Tar Heels hoops-related notes, quotes and stories that you might have missed from the weekend:

ORIAKHI CHOOSES MISSOU: Connecticut transfer Alex Oriakhi, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound rising senior who will be eligible to play next season because the Huskies are banned from the 2013 NCAA tournament, chose Missouri on Friday instead of Kentucky, Xavier or North Carolina.

Oriakhi, who averaged 7.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in three seasons at UConn, seemed likely to slide into a starting slot had he chosen UNC, what with 7-foot ACC Player of the Year Tyler Zeller’s graduation and ACC Defensive Player of the Year John Henson’s decision to leave early for the NBA.

His decision leaves rising sophomore Desmond Hubert, as well as incoming freshmen Brice Johnson and Joel James, competing for a starting position in the post alongside rising sophomore James Michael McAdoo.

JOHNSON, TOKOTO IN JORDAN BRAND CLASSIC: Speaking of Johnson, he finished with four rebounds and a steal, while fellow incoming UNC freshman J.P. Tokoto had eight points, four rebounds and three steals during the East team’s loss in the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday.

Tokoto told the Durham Herald-Sun it was a fun experience.
“Me and Rodney [Purvis, who will be a freshman at N.C. State] shared a room this week,” Tokoto told the newspaper. “We developed a friendship and it was pretty cool hanging out with him. Me and Sheed [incoming Duke freshman Rasheed Sulaimon] have always joked around with UNC-Duke kind of stuff.

“It was an all-around fun weekend. We don’t take it too seriously — yet. But when we play, it will be a different story."
MILLER, MANUEL REUNITE AT UNCG: Jackie Manuel, who spent last season as UNC’s assistant strength and conditioning coach, is a new assistant coach at UNC Greensboro. He was hired by head coach Wes Miller, a former teammate on the Tar Heels’ 2005 national title team.

"It's a great honor, and I'm very thankful for Wes to think of me that highly," Manuel said in a prepared statement released by UNCG. "I'm very appreciative and just blessed. It brings back old memories. It doesn't happen often, whether it's playing, coaching, whatever it is, that you get to be with a teammate again. It's going to be good. We know each other very well, so the transition should be real easy."

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.