Posted by Jeff Borzello
HOUSTON – An AAU national title. A prep school national title. And, now, a national championship in college.
Connecticut sophomores Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel have known each other since they were 14 years old.
They played for Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) on the travel team circuit in high school; attended Tilton (N.H.) together after playing at various high schools and prep schools during high school; and decided to play at Connecticut together.
While both have had their ups and downs so far in Storrs, they completed the triumvirate of national championships.
“We definitely talk about it all the time,” Oriakhi said. “We won on AAU, we won in high school, and now we won in college.”
Coombs-McDaniel didn’t score and only played six minutes, but Oriakhi dominated the second half and finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
“He played a helluva game,” Coombs-McDaniel said. “I know how hard he works.”
It’s too early to think about what the next mountain to climb is for the two players, but they are going to take time and bask in the glow of this title.
“We’ve been through it all, but this is the highest peak,” Coombs-McDaniel said. “A championship at the highest level.”