Analysis: A closer look at WVU transfer portal commit Toby Okani

Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Last week, West Virginia basketball gained an important addition to the roster as Toby Okani, a 6-foot-7, 180-pound wing from Illinois-Chicago (UIC) officially committed to West Virginia, according according to Joe Tipton of On3 Sports.

Okani spent the past two seasons with a struggling program at UIC -- the team went a combined 24-41 over that time period. However, Okani was a standout for UIC, starting 63 of 65 games during his stint and averaging 11.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game during the 2023-24 season.

Before his time with UIC, Okani played up the road from Morgantown in Duquesne for two seasons, appearing in 48 games and starting 25 for the Dukes. He was coached by the legendary Keith Dambrot at Duquesne -- Dambrot formerly led high school powerhouse St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH) and coached LeBron James to back-to-back OHSAA state championships.

“The thing that I like best about Toby is he likes the game,” Dambrot said regarding Okani following the Dukes' Atlantic-10 opener at George Washington in 2021. “He wants to get in the gym. He wants to get better. He thinks he’s good, even to a fault. He’ll probably tell you his coach was stupid for not playing more earlier in the season, but that’s okay, because that’s what guys are supposed to do. They’re supposed to think they’re good."

"But I was proud of what he did. I thought he was fearless. I thought he made shots, but he spent a lot of time on his shooting. He drove the ball to the rim, and he’s a multi-dimensional defender. I thought he did a good job defensively. He’s a very prideful young man.”

On film, Okani uses his lanky-but-strong frame to effectively earn and convert scoring opportunities at the rim and near the elbow, but also demonstrates an effective three-point shooting ability. Defensively, he appears to be an exceptional defender and shot blocker, even against Power Five competition -- he swats away six separate shot attempts against Big 12 opponent Cincinnati. His main weakness appears to be creating shots off the dribble, where he struggles a bit with ball control and converting buckets.