EJ Onu, the 6’11 NAIA Shawnee State star forward with a 7-foot-6 wingspan has been reportedly working out with the storied franchise that is the Boston Celtics this week in pre-draft workouts. Onu helped drag the 9-win Shawnee State program to a national championship with his dangerous combination of elite shot blocking, with excellent timing, footwork, and fluid mobility in the open court to go along with a solid jumper. He averaged 16.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks while hitting 57% from the field and 40% from deep as a senior. The Celtics are considering Onu as a potential second round draft pick or a potential camp deal.
It will be a big jump in competition level for Onu, considering he didn’t play D1 level competition at the college level and will be making a big jump to the best basketball league in the world. Despite that, I think Onu would be a great fit with the Celtics because they need more size in the paint after getting obliterated in the paint all season due to their lack of elite size in the interior. Trading for Moses Brown, the 7’2 center from Oklahoma City and drafting Onu will give them two 7-footers that are mobile, can protect the rim, and create second chance opportunities on the offensive end for the Celtics.
Onu can be similar to what the Celtics already have in Robert Williams, who, when he got a reasonable amount of playing time was very impactful for the Celtics by being an elite lob threat, a guy who crashed the glass hard, and is an elite shoot blocker, having a 9 block game against the Nets earlier in these playoffs. Onu can be something similar to that with the Celtics but he shows even more versatility then Williams due to his ability to shoot the three ball at a high rate.
Onu is a player to keep a close eye on as the 2021 NBA Draft quickly approaches, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Celtics ultimately pick him up.