University of Louisville

Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku drafted by Houston Rockets

Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku (32) tips the ball from the hands of Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt (3) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Louisville Ky. Louisville won 56-53. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku (32) tips the ball from the hands of Georgia Tech's Marcus Georges-Hunt (3) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Louisville Ky. Louisville won 56-53. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) AP

The Houston Rockets drafted Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku with the 37th overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Onuaku, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound center who played two seasons at Louisville, nearly averaged a double-double with 9.9 points and 8.5 rebounds to go alock with two blocks per game. He played in all 31 games for the Cardinals, who were among the top teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference but missed the postseason due to a self-imposed ban by the university.

The native of Lanham, Md., was projected as an early second-round pick. He was selected to the 2016 All-ACC Defensive team.

Chinanu Onuaku is the 11th player selected from Louisville in the NBA Draft since Rick Pitino became head coach in 2001

“I really, firmly believe he's going to be a first-round pick,” Louisville Coach Rick Pitino told WDRB in May. “He's young . . . and that's what the NBA looks for. He's also a great defensive player, he improved his passing, he improved his free-throw shooting, and he's got a great upside, and that's what the NBA looks for."

Onuaku underwent a cardiac procedure in May to correct a condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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