NBA Draft 2020: History made as 8 Nigerians got drafted

As expected, Anthony Edwards (Minnesota), James Wiseman (Golden State) and LaMelo Ball (Charlotte) were the top three picks at the delayed 2020 NBA draft. However, it was also a historic night for the Nigerian basketball faithful as a record eight players of Nigerian descent were drafted on Thursday.

Isaac Okoro

19-year-old Okoro became the highest-drafted Nigerian in 22 years since Michael Olowokandi was drafted number one overall pick in 1998 by the LA Clippers.

Isaac Okoro

The Small Forward, selected number five overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers was born on 26 January 2001, to Nigerian parents in Atlanta.

Okoro whose toughness and versatility have earned him a spot in the NBA represented the United States two years ago at the FIBA U-17 World Cup in Argentina.

Onyeka Okongwu

20-year-old Okongwu, born on 11 December 2000, in Los Angeles was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the sixth pick.

Onyeka Okongwu

His selection sparked intense emotions as the Los Angeles born youngster paid tribute to his older brother, Nnamdi, who tragically lost his life in a skateboarding accident in 2014.

Precious Achiuwa

Achiuwa 21, born in the oil-rich Nigerian city of Port Harcourt in September 1999 but moved to the United States as a teenage. He was drafted with the number 20 pick by the Miami Heat.Precious Achiuwa

Like most Nigerian kids, he started out playing football (soccer) but switched to basketball in eighth grade. And in 2001, he committed to play college basketball for the Memphis Tigers.

Achiuwa is described as having an elite physical profile and ideal defensive versatility. The Heat’s Head of basketball operations Pat Riley enthused about drafting Achiuwa: “We are very excited to have him. We think he fits in perfectly… I’m excited that at 20 we were able to find a player who is that good and who has that kind of quality.”

He will be in good company at the Heat with D’Tigers Gabe Vincent as well as Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala and Kezie Okpala, all with Nigerian roots.

Ezekiel Tobechukwu “Zeke” Nnaji

Zeke 19, was selected with the 22nd pick by Denver Nuggets. Having often decked out in Nigerian attires, he seems to be very in touch with his Nigerian roots.

Ezekiel Tobechukwu

His father Apham, was born in Nigeria. Piano-playing Zeke was drafted with the number 22 pick by Denver Nuggets.

He is described as a wiry strong, big mobile man with the potential to become a perimeter shooter. He has a sister named Maya who is also a highly rated recruit with Hopkins High School.

Udoka Azubuike

Azubuike, 21, was selected with the 27th pick by the Utah Jazz.

udoka azubuike

The Lagos-born defender is described as an elite shot-blocker with immense size and athleticism.

Desmond Bane

22-year-old Bane – whose father, Etieno Ekiko, was born in Nigeria – was selected with the 30th pick by the Boston Celtics before getting traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Desmond Bane

He was born on 25 June 1998, in the United States.

Daniel Oturu

Power Forward Oturu, 21, was selected in the 33rd pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves. His father, Francis, was a professional table tennis player and represented Nigeria.

Daniel Oturu

He joins D’Tigers player Josh Okogie, another Nigerian-born American, at the Timberwolves.

Jordan Nwora

Nwora’s selection in the 45th pick by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks capped a historic draft night for Nigeria.

Jordan Nwora

The 22-year-old forward represents Nigeria’s D’Tigers at the international level.

He broke his country’s record for the most points scored in a single game (36) in a 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifying match.

He was born in Buffalo, New York to a Nigerian father, Alexander Nwora, who led Nigeria’s D’Tigers to the 2017 FIBA Afrobasket tournament, and an American mother in 1998.

During the FIBA World Cup qualifiers that took place between 28-30 June 2018 in Lagos, Jordan, and Alexander created history as the first Nigerian father and son to represent a National team simultaneously across all sports.

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