Duke will add its fifth-ever transfer under Mike Krzyzewski, the school announced Friday.
Sean Obi, a 6-foot-9, 285-pound post player formerly of Rice will transfer to Duke, where he will have three years of eligibility remaining, the school said in a release.
He will have to sit out 2014-15 in accordance with the NCAA’s transfer rules.
Obi was one of the better rebounders in the country as a freshman. He led Conference USA with 9.3 rebounds per game, and added 11.4 points per game on 59 percent shooting.
Obi had 11 double-doubles in 30 games last season, after which he was named to the league’s all-freshmen team.
His hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, is on the country’s southwest coast, not far from the Niger Delta, where ethnic conflicts – feuled by competition for Nigeria’s oil-rich lands – have been ongoing for nearly 25 years, even through the country’s transition from military rule to democracy in 1999.
Obi and his family found themselves displaced by ethnic conflict in 2000, when they were forced to flee Lagos after ethnic-cleansing extremists set fire to their home, destroying it.
He eventually emigrated to the United States in 2010, before his sophomore year.
Obi graduated from Green Farms Academy in Connecticut, where he began playing organized basketball for the first time after a childhood of playing soccer.