You can hear it in the crowd. Either a loud roar erupts through the Pavilion when Daniel Ochefu viciously dunks the ball, or audible sighs when he misses a layup and the ball ends up in the hands of the opponent. This hot and cold reaction of the crowd reflects on the fans’ split on their opinions when it comes to Ochefu’s performance.
Through three games he has shot for 18.8% (3-16) from the field and is 4 for 7 at the charity stripe. In the win against Towson, he went 2 for 10 and did not make any of his free throw attempts, finishing with 4 points. Combining the first two games, he only made one basket through six attempts. During this two game stretch he only had one more point than he did turnovers (6 points, 5 turnovers).
Numbers don’t lie right?
Wrong. Daniel Ochefu has done a fine job, could it be better? Yes. He knows that he needs to improve his offensive play, he is just as frustrated as us the fans are. His facial expression gives it all away when he misses his shots. He may not have the same scoring impact that Mouphtaou Yarou had last year, but he is still doing well and deserving of his spot in the starting five; despite what some critics in the crowd may think.
Ochefu is a defensive monster. He is tall, he is big, and he keeps the paint on lockdown. During the win against Towson, he helped JayVaughn Pinkston slow down Jerrelle Benimon, restricting Benimon to only 11 points. As for Towson’s power forward/center Marcus Damas, he shut him down, leaving him with no points and 0 for 8 shooting. When it comes to dealing with the starting big men of the other teams (in this case power forwards and centers), Mount St. Mary’s and Lafayette’s starting big men only have a combined 14 points. Ochefu averages 2.3 blocks so far in the season, the next highest amount on the team is only 1.0 blocks per game.
He is also a great rebounder on the offensive and defensive glass. Ochefu averages 8.0 rebounds so far in the season. This number could be higher if it weren’t for the Mount St. Mary’s game. Ochefu was in foul trouble (a few of which were questionable) for a majority of the game and only played for eight minutes. However, in that short span of time he grabbed five rebounds. One can only imagine of what it could have been if he was able to stay in the game. In comparison to the combined effort of all the starting power forwards and centers of all the teams Villanova has played so far, Ochefu singlehandedly has more rebounds (24 to 18).
Give Ochefu a break it is still very early in the season, there are many games still left to play. He is capable of making big plays on offense, showcased through his dunks. Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks is known for his defensive prowess and abilities. Ochefu has proved that he can be a playmaker on defense. Although he has not put up a lot of points on offense, his presence is there on defense and has been an asset in the recent blowout wins. His game can only get better from here, and once he can get himself involved on offense consistently and harness his ability, he will be dangerous.