Virginia Tech Center John Ojiako Enters The Transfer Portal

John Ojiako, dunking here against North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, has entered the transfer portal. (Liam Sment)

On Tuesday morning, a Virginia Tech spokesperson informed Tech Sideline that Hokies center John Ojiako has entered the transfer portal.

Ojiako is the third Tech player to put his name in the portal this offseason. Jalen Haynes did so in March, while Nahiem Alleyne did so on Tuesday morning.

A 6’10” junior from Lagos, Nigeria, Ojiako was part of Mike Young’s first recruiting class in Blacksburg in June 2019. He played high school ball at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ojiako played in 57 career games with the Hokies, starting two. He averaged 2.4 points per game while shooting 54.6% from the floor.

Ojiako appeared in just six games in 2020-21 and missed the first nine games of the year with a knee injury. He was much more active in his freshman and junior seasons, appearing in 31 and 20 games, respectively. He scored a career-high 15 points in Dec. 2019 vs. Maryland Eastern Shore. Ojiako posted a career-high nine rebounds twice, vs. Gardner-Webb in Dec. 2019 and vs. Pitt in Feb. 2020.

As a freshman, Ojiako was the tallest player on Tech’s roster and saw plenty of playing time. However, as Keve Aluma (6’9″) and Justyn Mutts (6’7″) came into the fold, coinciding with his injury, his appearances decreased. Ojiako played in nine of Tech’s 20 regular season ACC games this year and saw time in the ACC Tournament.

His departure, combined with that of Alleyne, means Virginia Tech has two open scholarships heading into 2022-23. Essentially, two other scholarships are behind held for the duo of Mutts and Aluma in case they choose to come back.

Mutts declared for the draft but also retained his eligibility on Monday, while Aluma has yet to make a decision. If the two decide not to return, the Hokies will have four open roster spots. If one stays and the other goes, there will be three spots. Both have to make a decision by June 1.

With the departure of Ojiako and Alleyne, only ACC Tournament MVP Hunter Cattoor remains from Young’s 2019 recruiting class. Former guard Jalen Cone transferred to Northern Arizona last offseason.

Here’s a scholarship breakdown by class for Virginia Tech as it currently stands.

19 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Big loss. Coach Young should have played him early and more often. Before he got hurt he was becoming VERY effective at center. After a year he was ready to make it happen. We lost several games this year because we didn’t have the size and toughness in the rotation. He could have been like Bacot with rebounds and put backs. John could have been something very important to this team if coach just played him early on and got him more time to develop. A shame. Others will disagree. That’s fine.

  2. Ojiako had athletic potential, had his chances but didn’t develop. Says here he won’t wind up @ a P5 program, probably D-2. Alleyne is another story but was not consistent. He may yet stay on but his issue is clearly PT.

    1. Not sure he had his chances. He barely got minutes during the year, and he seemed to make the most of them for a center (rebounds, put backs, toughness). We are losing talent we didn’t know we had because he was never in the rotation against bigs when he should have been.

  3. Admittedly I’m not a basketball guy by any means. But thought John had good potential going into season, especially on the offensive side and could come on defensively if he played more. Then I saw a series of plays against Boston College (when he was needed) and Louisville (when he was not). At BC he tried to block a couple of shots from guys not near close enough that got him way out of position that then resulted in easy BC put backs. Against Louisville, his man screened him Twice at foul line, then rolled to basket for easy layups. John never moved from the foul line but stayed on the guy who passed with the other Tech defender. Not trying to be critical but it looked like a sixth grader playing defense. Made me wonder what the heck was going on with him.

    1. He barely ever played, and every time he got in he got a massive dunk put-back. Sooo…..

  4. Must have been some tough conversations in the basketball complex over the past few days.

    1. We wish Alleyne and Ojiako the best moving forward, and we hope that they land in a good spot soon. Certainly, CMY will give both a good recommendation. The parting is probably best for everybody.

  5. Not sure what to think here, when he first signed he was a raw player but had a smooth motion and figured right about now VT would be team Ojiako but that just never happened. So yeah, I’ve wondered out loud on TSL if his moment had passed or not, he still has two years, but still we were getting into the “show me” part of his career.

    Anyway, given that he’s gone, this is a good timing, VT can pursue players now full bore knowing they have spots to give out, even pursuing four players playing the averages of who signs and when without regard to M&A staying or not staying.

      1. yeah, yeah, he’s athletic, he doesn’t have the skills but moves well down the court, he’s fluid. Remember guys like Wansly who was 6′ 11 but was just uncoordinated. The whole point is there certainly was potential there…just never ….

        1. Remember in the Maui Classic three years ago when Bill Walton talked about how well Ojiako moves?

          1. Cool, Bill Walton agrees with me! (no I don’t remember, but like it) and as a big guy he understands the question about big guys not running like 50’s science fiction robots.)

            He’s fluid, he moves well. That’s a pretty good starting point for a 4-5.

            1. Big John should have been played far more. We lost a lot of games solely because our bigs weren’t bigs…Aluma isn’t a big, he’s a 4. Mutts is really a 3/4 guy. The bigs in the first half of the year were abusing our guys with easy layups, rebounds, and putbacks.

        2. Wansly?…that’s going back… Agree Ojiako looked like a legit big man his freshman year and had some real potential. I was a little surprised that when MY finally started rotating guys in, Ojiako was not in the rotation- I think he just got some cleanup time. He also looked like he was carrying some extra weight- maybe he wasn’t practicing well- don’t know. I think there are some real stars in the transfer portal, though.

    1. Just a technical point: Entering the portal is no guarantee he’s gone. I agree with the assessment but there’s no guarantee he finds a better spot elsewhere and it’s possible a portal entry returns. Unlikely, but still possible.

      1. If he does come back, important people need to tell coach he’s making a mistake not playing John. John is unorthodox. But he is incredibly effective. Before he got injured Hokie Nation was thinking “Wow, this kid could be the Big we never had”. Then he got hurt and after a year he should have been put in the rotation right away. If he comes back and isn’t either starting or getting a lot of minutes, then it will be a giant mistake.

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