"Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another." – Proverbs 27:17
The Oral Roberts men's basketball team has one of the best front court duos in the country, and they are working together to make each other better.
Emmanuel Nzekwesi (redshirt junior) and Kevin Obanor (redshirt freshman) have much more in common than just being able to track down rebounds and score at a high rate. Each standing at 6-feet, 8-inches, both went to a prep school before joining the ORU program in January of their freshman seasons and both chose to redshirt the semester before taking the court.
Currently, both are averaging in double figures for the season and both are in the top 10 in The Summit League in rebounding.
Going against each other every day in practice has helped both players elevate their game. Nzekwesi averaged 12.7 points per game as a sophomore and has increased it to 16.7 points per game as a junior with four games of 20 points or more and a career high 34-point effort in ORU's win over North Dakota. Obanor has had his highest three scorings games in the three Summit League contests, including a career high 23 points against North Dakota.
"We've been working hard. He's been guarding me, I've been guarding him and just going at each other, and it just goes to show you that iron sharpens iron," said Nzekwesi.
Obanor added "It definitely gets heated, but it gets the best out of both of us. We go hard, but at the end of the day it makes both of us better during the game."
Even as well as the duo is playing, it takes more than two players to have success. The pair has been aided by the guard play, as showcased in the Golden Eagles' road win at Omaha when freshman DeShang Weaver went 7-10 from 3-point range. It is no coincidence that his efforts opened things up inside as Nzekwesi and Obanor combined for 47 points that night and after the film got out combined for 57 points the next time out.
Weaver is the leading 3-point shooter for the Golden Eagles with 42 made 3-pointers this season and is shooting at nearly a 44 percent clip. Sam Kearns is also above 40 percent for the season with 37 made triples.
The inside-out combination has ORU sitting at 3-0 in Summit League play for the second year in a row and facing an early battle for first place Thursday night at Purdue Fort Wayne.
"We are staying humble and we are ready for the competition," said Obanor. "We are taking it day-by-day and trying to do what we do best which is run the floor, rebound and be aggressive."
For the latest information on ORU men's basketball, follow @ORUMBB on Twitter or Instagram, or go to www.ORUAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the ORU Athletics Front Row App at ORUAthletics.com/frontrow or the ORU Golden Eagles Live App in iTunes or the Google Play Store. For tickets, visit mabeecenter.com or call 495-7ORU (7678).