The St. John’s Edge, looking to get back to the winning ways that highlighted their inaugural National Basketball of Canada season, have added another former NCAA star to their ranks.
But 6-8, 225-pound power forward Obinna Oleka won’t be with the Edge tonight in Sydney, N.S., as St. John’s (1-5) looks to end a four-game losing streak.
The 25-year-old Oleka, a native of Washington, D. C., played two seasons at Arizona State after transferring there from the junior college ranks.
He started 50 games for the Bobby Hurley-coached Sun Devils, including all but one of 33 during his senior year when he averaged 12.45 points and 9.91 rebounds, and whose dunks regularly went viral on YouTube.
After graduating, Oleka turned professional in Europe with Enel Brindisi, of the Lega A in Italy in 2017, playing 13 games as a non-starter last season. The expectation was that he would play in Argentina this fall, but he has instead hooked on with the Edge, becoming the second former NCAA power forward to sign with the team since the start of the season.
St. John’s added Canadian Chardrack Lufile to the roster just before the Edge embarked on a three-game Maritime road trip that finishes tonight in Cape Breton. Lufile acquitted himself well in his first two games with his new club, averaging 18 minutes of play, nine points and eight rebounds, but his arrival wasn’t enough to prevent St. John’s from losing 80-75 to the league-leading and undefeated Moncton Magic (7-0) on Saturday and 112-111 on a buzzer-beater to the Halifax Hurricanes on Sunday.
They were typical of the close results that haven’t fallen the Edge’s way this season. Outside of a 112-100 loss to the Magic at Mile One last month, all of St. John’s defeats have been by five points or less.
St. John’s, which hadn't lost more than two in a row in going 25-15 during the 2017-18 regular season, will look to turn things around tonight (7:30 NT) against the Highlanders (2-3), who have dropped two in a row.
With Oleka not playing tonight, he’ll have plenty of time to get acclimated to his new team. Tonight’s game is the last one for the Edge before beginning a four-game homestand with a matchup against the Island Storm.