(gomocs.com) CHATTANOOGA—The 2019-20 Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball roster is coming into clearer view. Coach Lamont Paris announced the additions of Malachi Smith and Prosper Obidiebube (pronounced oh-BI-dee-EH-bu-BAY) Friday morning.
Smith is a transfer from Wright State with three years of eligibility remaining, while Obidiebube joins the program as a freshman after a prep year at Aspire Basketball Academy in Louisville. Smith will sit out the 2019-20 season.
“Very excited about both young men and what they can bring to our program,” Coach Lamont Paris began. “They give us two high-quality student-athletes who are serious about their education as well as their game. Both are very good players with high ceilings.
“It was important for us to get a couple of younger guys this period balancing grad transfers and our older players as we continue to build toward the future. Both are really good additions that will help us build a sustaining winning culture.”
Smith, listed at 6-3 and 195 lbs., provides excellent size on the perimeter. He’s a combo guard with the ability to provide depth at the point. Smith earned Horizon League All-Freshman honors as a key contributor on the Raiders NIT entry in 2019.
He played scholastically at Belleville West (Ill.) in the St. Louis area. Smith’s ability to effect the game in a 94-foot fashion is impress posting more than 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals per contest in his last two prep campaigns. That came before seeing action in all 35 WSU contests as a key reserve contributing 5.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game shooting 44 percent from the field and 82 percent at the free throw line.
“Malichi is a really good player who can play all three perimeter positions,” Paris continued. “He has good size and versatility at the guard spot. What I am most excited about is he plays both sides of the ball (offensively and defensively). He’s already established himself as a capable college player, but he works hard, everyone keeps telling us he’s a gym rat, so his future is very bright.”
Obidiebube brings an exciting athletic tool box to the front court. He’s a 6-8, 210-lb., forward whose length and athleticism profile to impact both ends of the floor. Prior to a year at Aspire, he played for St. Anthony Catholic School in San Antonio. He registered 16 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals per game shooting 36 percent from 3pt range displaying a nice shooting touch to go with the athletic profile earning All-Grind Session Third Team mention last season.
He’s a native of Lagos, Nigeria. The last Nigerian on the Mocs roster was Akintoye Oloko (1995-97). That’s a pretty good omen since Oloko played for two Southern Conference Championship teams (1995, 1997) and was part of the program’s epic 1997 NCAA Sweet 16 run.
“Prosper has an extremely high ceiling,” Paris concluded. “He’s a tremendous athlete and it’s what I call functional athleticism. His ability to change directions quickly and start-and-stop effortlessly along with exciting verticality really catch the eye. He has good touch on his jump shot. He’s similar to Malachi in that he’s very versatile at the forward spots.”
The duo joins Vanderbilt graduate transfer Matt Ryan as well as Knoxville wing Grant Ledford (Grace Christian Academy) and Virginia post Jaden Frazier (Blue Ridge School). Ledford and Frazier put pen to paper during the fall’s early signing period.