April 24, 2010
NEW YORK--Four-year Arizona basketball letterman Fendi Onobun, who took a final year of eligibility as a football player in his home state at Houston, was the first pick in the sixth round of the NFL Draft today.
Onobun, who played for Lute Olson, Kevin O'Neill and Russ Pennell as a Wildcat forward, graduated from UA last May and with NCAA eligibility affording him a fifth year (in another sport) because he had graduated, transferred to Houston to play football.
The 6-foot-6, 252-pounder played on special teams as a kick blocker and in occasional spot duty while he learned the game with the Cougars, but the St. Louis Rams were attracted by his overall athletic ability enough to make him the 170th overall selection in the draft, which ended today.
Onobun follows guard Kenny Lofton among prominent UA hoopsters who got a shot at the pros in a different sport. Lofton played four years of basketball and one season of baseball at UA and went on to a productive All-Star and Gold Glove-studded career in Major League baseball from 1991 to 2007.
Arizona and head coach Mike Stoops -- instead of the men's basketball program now under Sean Miller -- expect a number of players to be contacted for free agent contracts in the next week. Among them are cornerback Devin Ross, safeties Cam Nelson and Corey Hall, linebackers Vuna Tuihalamaka, Xavier Kelley and Sterling Lewis; plus offensive lineman Mike Diaz.