Felix Okpara Returning for Junior Season At Ohio State

By Andy Anders on April 1, 2024 at 8:51 pm
Felix Okpara

There will be no need for Ohio State basketball to search for a new starting center in 2023-24.

Felix Okpara announced Monday that he will return to Columbus for his junior season despite rumors that he would enter the transfer portal.

Okpara was Ohio State's top rebounder in 2023-24, pulling in 6.4 boards per game to pair with 6.6 points. He finished second across the entire Big Ten in blocked shots with 2.4 per game. He started 34 of the Buckeyes’ 36 games, missing one with the flu and sitting to allow Zed Key to start on Senior Day.

Okpara will look to extend a school-record 43-game block streak that started in his freshman year. The previous high-water mark of 40 consecutive games with a block was set by Ken Johnson from 1998 to 2000. Okpara is one swat shy of a tie for 10th on the Buckeyes' all-time career blocks list with 127 for his collegiate career.

Hailing from Nigeria, Okpara was a four-star high school prospect out of Link Acadamy in Branson, Missouri. The No. 66 prospect and No. 14 center in the 247Sports composite rankings, he made a strong addition down low to Ohio State's 2022 recruiting class, which ranked eighth nationally.

The retention comes as welcome news for Jake Diebler as he enters his first offseason as head coach, with guards Bowen Hardman and Scotty Middleton having entered the transfer portal in the past four days. Rising sophomore Austin Parks was set to be the only center remaining on OSU's roster if Okpara and senior Zed Key both moved on. Key has not yet announced whether he will remain at Ohio State for his extra year of eligibility.

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