Eight Great Players Picked by USA, NBA with Nigerian heritage.

A total of eight players with Nigerian heritage were picked during Wednesday night’s NBA draft for the 2020-21 season. The annual draft sees NBA teams choose from the world’s best young talent. The draft was originally scheduled for 25 June but had been delayed because of the fallout from the coronavirus and was this year held via video calls. Precious Achiuwa is the third Nigerian-born player to be drafted in the first round since 2000, while soon after Udoka Azubuike was the 4th. That was the first time that two players born in Nigeria have been picked in the first round of the same draft. The regular season, which has been reduced by 10 matches to 72 due to Covid-19, is due to tip-off on the 22 December.

Isaac Okoro was fifth overall pick and has been chosen by Cleveland Cavaliers. The 19-year-old, who is 6ft 6, was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Nigerian parents and the small forward was part of the USA’s winning team at the 2018 Under-17 Basketball World Cup in Argentina. “It feels great to be the first Nigerian in this draft to be drafted,” he said after being picked. “It’s also just a blessing. My mom always tells me to keep that Nigerian pride. Even though I wasn’t born in Nigeria, I still got Nigerian blood. So it’s just having that on my shoulders.”

Precious Achiuwa, who is one of two players born and raised in Nigeria, was the 20th overall pick and was picked by Miami Heat. The 21-year-old, 6ft 9, power forward grew up playing football in Port Harcourt, before moving to the USA as a teenager. Miami Heat may well get a few more fans in Nigeria as Achiuwa will join four others at the team who have Nigerian heritage – Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala, Chikezie ‘KZ’ Okpala and Gabe Vincent. “My hope was to end up in a great organisation, and thank God my prayers got answered and I’m part of a great organisation,” Achiuwa said. “I watched the NBA Finals, and thankful that they’re welcoming me to Miami. I think I can add a lot to the table, like add a lot of aggression and grittiness.”

Read more here – Source: www.bbc.com/sport/africa

You might be interested in