About 24 hours since he entered the transfer portal, former UTEP forward Ze'Rik Onyema has received interest from Power-5 programs like Texas, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech,  Missouri, Penn State and UCLA, sources tell 600 ESPN El Paso.

In addition, Georgetown and Iona have expressed interest in the El Pasoan, who spent 14 years living in the Sun City including 11 years during his childhood and three years at UTEP.

The decision, which came as a surprise for Miner fans, represents Onyema betting on himself to make the jump from mid-major competition to playing on a national stage with higher levels of exposure in order to pursue a professional basketball career. Although Onyema made the decision to transfer independently, it was a difficult choice for the 6-foot-8 forward, who considers El Paso his home.

Regardless, the Miners will continue in the offseason with returning bigs Calvin Solomon, Kevin Kalu, Derick Hamilton and Eastern Carolina transfer Elijah Jones. They have landed two recruits recently -- Baylor Hebb from Colorado State and Corey Camper Jr. from Tyler Junior College. They are still in the mix for Temple transfer Zach Hicks, a 6-foot-7 combo forward that averaged 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 2022-23.

Onyema, who has two years of eligibility left, started 31 of 32 games last year for the men's basketball squad and averaged 7.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures in six of the team's last eight games.

Texas named Rodney Terry as their full-time head coach following a successful interim coaching stint, which saw the Longhorns win the Big 12 Tournament and reach the Sweet 16. When he was previously head coach at UTEP, Terry and his staff recruited Onyema to El Paso out of John Jay High School (San Antonio). The connection between Onyema and Terry is obviously there.

Jerry Stackhouse and the Vanderbilt coaching staff recently met with Onyema virtually and discussed options for him to join the Commodores program, sources told 600 ESPN El Paso. They are actively recruiting Onyema through the process.

On Wednesday, schools like Georgetown, Penn State, Missouri and UCLA have contacted Onyema and expressed interest in the forward. Georgetown (Ed Cooley) and Penn State (Mike Rhoades) hired new coaches in the offseason, while Missouri and UCLA are both coming off NCAA Tournament appearances.

Newly hired Texas Tech head coach Grant McCasland showed some interest in Onyema, but discussions are a bit quieter compared to Onyema's other options.

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