The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: Ike Obiagu Would Have Been the Greatest Shot Blocker in FSU History

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Size and length tend to be staples of Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State teams. The Seminoles blocked 10 shots in Monday’s 65-59 win over North Carolina and are currently ranked 10th in the nation in that category.

Assuming the numbers hold up, FSU will finish in the top 25 nationally in blocks per game for a third time in four seasons. Given players like 7-foot-1 Michael Ojo, 7-3 Boris Bojanovsky, 7-4 Christ Koumadje and the current roster with Dominik Olejniczak and Balsa Koprivica, it’s not surprising that the Seminoles have had their fair share of rejections.

Worth thinking about, however, is how FSU might be in that category had one player stayed. That player is current Seton Hall center Ike Obiagu.

Obiagu spent just one season at FSU — the 2017-18 campaign. That year, the Seminoles reached the Elite Eight for the first time in 25 years before inevitably falling to Michigan.

A 7-2 native of Nigeria, Obiagu was regarded as a raw player offensively when he arrived in Tallahassee. When it came to blocking shots however, Obiagu was a natural. Size was never an issue, but Obiagu was a very good athlete and had impeccable timing.

Obiagu was worked along slowly, but still managed 71 blocked shots in 34 games as a freshman. In one season in Tallahassee, Obiagu blocked enough shots to put himself into the top 25 all-time in that category. The 71 blocks ranks seventh all-time for a single season at FSU.

Assuming Obiagu had maintained his per game average and had played in every game over the next seasons, Obiagu would currently rank third all-time at FSU in that category. It’s worth noting that Obiagu did his damage in less than 11 minutes per game.

It is completely reasonable to believe that Obiagu would have made developments offensively and seen more time on the floor. With more time on the court, it’s possible that Obiagu’s numbers would have gone up. Had he stayed four years, Obiagu likely would have obliterated Rodney Dobard’s FSU career blocks record of 239.

The subtraction of Obiagu seemed like a significant loss at the time, but as a program, FSU has carried on just fine. Last season, the Seminoles set a program record for wins. Currently, Florida State is ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll and was previously ranked in the top 5 for the first time since December 1972.

As for Obiagu, it’s been a mixed bag. Seton Hall is in the midst of a solid season and ranked No. 12 nationally. Obiagu has actually averaged more points per game and shot a higher percentage than he did at FSU. His rebound and blocked shot averages however, have decreased by 7 and 33 percent, respectively.

How things would have been different had Obiagu not left FSU is anyone’s guess at this point, but both the Seminoles and Pirates have the look of very tough outs in the NCAA Tournament. After this season, Obiagu will still have two years of eligibility — should he need it — to make a lasting impact at Seton Hall and improve his NBA Draft stock.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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