Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Senior Onobun upbeat despite little court time

Citizen Staff Writer



Arizona senior basketball player Fendi Onobun wishes his career would have turned out better: more minutes, more rebounds and more points.

But he won’t complain.

He’s experienced a number of highs and lows, but he’s persevered through it all.

“I’m having fun,” he said in a recent interview in preparation for Saturday’s Senior Day celebration. “The team is doing well despite all the situations and turmoil and circumstances. We’ve pulled together as a team and have made the most of it.”

Onobun is the lone recruited senior left from a roster that once had Marcus Williams and J.P. Prince. Gone is everyone who was around when he first set foot on campus four years ago – from head coach Lute Olson to Josh Pastner, the assistant coach who recruited Onobun to Tucson.

“It’s been quite a ride,” he said. “I remember setting foot on campus with Marcus and J.P. and now I’m leaving as a senior with Russ Pennell, (someone) I didn’t even know existed three years ago or last year.”

But the two have developed a unique bond, Pennell said, in part because both are serious about religion and concerned about doing the right thing.

“He’s been a very good source of encouragement for me,” Pennell said. “I know that’s hard for him because I’m the very guy keeping him from going into the game. And yet, our relationship is very strong.”

Despite not playing Onobun often – he’s averaging just 3.1 minutes a game – Pennell said he admired Onobun’s penchant for detail and his determination.

“He’s very organized,” Pennell said. “He’s going to be a successful young man. I’ve tried to get that across to him. I know his career hasn’t been what he wants it to be here. But I told him that ‘you’ll learn more about yourself in your life (because of this). . . . When you’re 40 years old you’ll think back and say I’m the man that I am now because of those things.’ ”

Onobun is well aware of that. He believes he’ll make an impact with his life, whether it be on the basketball court or in a business office.

He hopes to run a Fortune 500 company one day. At age 22, he can strive and dream.

“God willing,” he said, “I’ll have a lot of life in front of me.”

Onobun came to UA ranked as the No. 13 small forward in the nation by Rivals.com. He seemed to have a bright future with a big smile and a big body at 6 feet 6, 250 pounds.

He played 157 minutes in 16 games as a freshman, giving up a redshirt year after UA had several injuries. He played just 60 minutes in 14 games as a sophomore.

Last season, he suffered a shin injury that eventually was diagnosed as a tibia fracture, yet he still played in 21 games. He had surgery and now has a pin in his leg.

“I gave my heart to my teams and did whatever I could to make them better,” Onobun said.

He hopes to play basketball somewhere next season.

“I’m 100 percent and capable of playing,” he said. “I’ll be honest and say that my career here wasn’t what I expected, but at the same time I’m so blessed and thankful for what I have achieved.”

He’ll graduate in May with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Senior Onobun upbeat despite little court time

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service