BOZICH | Pitino tells Meiners he expects Onuaku to rema - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | NBA appears Onuaku's destination after minor heart procedure

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Chinanu Onuaku is projected as the 38th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress. Chinanu Onuaku is projected as the 38th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – In a statement released by the University of Louisville Tuesday, Chinanu Onuaku said that he will undergo a heart procedure in Chicago Tuesday before he is ready to start his workouts again "in pursuit of my NBA dreams."

Onuaku said the procedure is the result of a physical exam that he had at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago last week. According to the U of L release, doctors diagnosed a heart rhythm condition known as Wollf-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome.

“After an extensive physical with the NBA doctors over the last few days, they noticed a situation that will require a minor procedure that will keep me off of the court for approximately 7 to 10 days,” Onuaku said in the statement.  “After the 7  to 10 day window, I will be ready to start my workouts again in pursuit of my NBA dreams.”

If he indeed plans to pursue his NBA dreams after the 7-10 day window, Onuaku appears NBA bound because the deadline to remove his name from draft consideration is May 25.

Last Friday in Chicago at the NBA Draft combine, Onuaku said the decision he was trying to make about playing next season at U of L or as a professional was the biggest of his life.

“Let’s say that I go to the league and I don’t do well, my career’s not going to be that great,” Onuaku said. “But if I go back (to U of L) and I can get another year under my belt and probably be a lottery pick.”

He talked like a guy strongly considering a return to U of L for his junior year -- even though a day earlier Onuaku expressed concern about additional sanctions against the U of L basketball program.

The story shifted again Tuesday. U of L coach Rick Pitino told local radio host Terry Meiners that he believes Onuaku wants to leave for the NBA and that the coach did not expect the player to return. He also told Meiners about Onuaku's heart condition. WDRB's Eric Crawford will speak with Pitino later Tuesday for more details.

“I would say he’s probably going to stay in the draft,” Pitino told Meiners. “There is one caveat right now that has come up. He’s going to have minor surgery today that will keep him out about a week and delay his workouts.

“He has a thing in his heart … that is not real serious but the doctors in the NBA want to get it done to clear him one hundred percent.”

Onuaku measured at 6 feet 10 and 245 pounds in Chicago with 8.6 percent body fat.

Onuaku has until May 25 to decide to remain in the draft or remove his name from consideration. Several NBA scouts and analysts said that he performed well in Chicago, but Onuaku ranked only 38th, the eighth pick in the second round, in the latest mock draft posted at Draft Express.com. Only first round picks are assured of guaranteed money.

Onuaku said that he had individual workouts scheduled with the Hawks, Celtics and Raptors but that was before his surgery was scheduled.

“I just need to get the good feedback from the team to see if I can go in the first round,” Onuaku said.

Onuaku said that he would make his decision after consulting with his older brother, Arinze, who has played overseas after a solid career at Syracuse.

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