Nigeria’s senior national basketball team D’Tigers’ Coach, William Voigt, is excited with the news of five players of Nigerian descent selected in the 2017 NBA Draft which took place early last Friday.
According to Extrasportsnigeria.com, Voigt who won Nigeria its first African cup believes the future is surely bright for the country’s basketball.
Shortly after the draft, Voigt tweeted, “The future is bright” in reference to the five picks.
The American is already warming up for a defence of the African title after his last outing at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Ogugua ‘OG’ Anunoby – Indiana – 6’8″ 215lbs was picked at number 23 by no other than Toronto Raptors headed by a former Nigeria international Masai Ujiri.
Anunoby suffered the knee injury in January and required surgery, but his numbers improved nearly across the board from his freshman to sophomore campaigns before the setback. That injury did not scare the Raptors as they look more into the future.
Going by ESPN reports this young Nigerian power forward has elicited comparisons to San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard on the high end, and more reasonable comparisons to Portland Trail Blazers Nigerian forward Al-Farouq Aminu.
It is hoped that he could team up someday with Al-Farouq in the Nigeria national side D’Tigers. The Nigeria teams – men and women – have been largely dominated in the last decade by players of Nigerian decent based in the USA and Europe.
London-born Anunoby was raised in Jefferson City, Missouri by Nigerian parents. With a brother (Chigbo Anunoby) who made it to the NFL, O.G will be the second Anunoby to turn professional in a major sport.
Ike Anigbogu – UCLA – 6’10” 230lbs got picked at number 47 by Indiana Pacers. ESPN’s draft projections had suggested Anigbogu to be taken with the 17th pick of the 1st round by the Portland Trail Blazers but it was the Pacers that grabbed him.
The California-born son of Nigerian immigrants is one of the quickest big men in the draft, as evidenced by his ability to get down court before opposing bigs on fast breaks.
Bam Adebayo – Kentucky – 6’10” 250lbs was the quickest of the picks at number 12 for the Miami Heat. Experts determine that Cleveland Cavaliers centre Tristan Thompson and Orlando Magic Centre Bismack Biyombo are the best comparison for Adebayo and his game at this point.
The son a Nigerian father, Bam Adebayo moved with his mother to North Carolina from Newark, NJ at the age of seven.
Wesley Iwundu – Kansas State – 6’7″ 205lbs got in at 33 for Orlando Magic. The small forward and his Kansas State University had a short stay in the 2017 NCAA tournament in March as they won their play-in game/First Four game versus Wake Forest before losing to Cincinnati in the first round of the tournament. Those two games served as an introduction to Iwundu for Non-Big 12 fans of the collegiate game, ESPN reported.
Jesusemilore “Semi” Ojeleye – SMU – 6’7″ 235lbs became the 37 pick of the event for the Celtics. The small forward is the son of a Nigerian doctor and nurse.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected point guard Markelle Fultz with the top pick in the Draft, while Lonzo Ball went to the Los Angeles Lakers.
1. 76ers: Markelle Fultz (G) – Washington
2. Lakers: Lonzo Ball (G) – UCLA
3. Celtics: Jayson Tatum (F) – Duke
4. Suns: Josh Jackson (F) – Kansas
5. Kings: DeAaron Fox (G) – Kentucky
6. Magic: Jonathan Isaac (F) – Florida State
7. Bulls: Lauri Markkanen (F) – Arizona
8. Knicks: Frank Ntilikina (G) – France
9. Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. (G) – NC State
10. Trail Blazers: Zach Collins (F/C) – Gonzaga
11. Hornets: Malik Monk (G) – Kentucky
12. Pistons: Luke Kennard (G) – Duke
13. Jazz: Donovan Mitchell (G) – Louisville
14. Heat: Bam Adebayo (C) – Kentucky
15. Kings: Justin Jackson (F) – UNC
16. Bulls: Justin Patton (C) – Creighton
17. Bucks: DJ Wilson (F/C) – Michigan
18. Pacers: TJ Leaf (F/C) – UCLA
19. Hawks: John Collins (F) – Wake Forest
20. Kings: Harry Giles (F/C) – Duke
21. Thunder: Terrance Ferguson (F) – Australia
22. Nets: Jarrett Allen (C) – Texas
23. Raptors: OG Anunoby (F) – Indiana
24. Nuggets: Tyler Lydon (F) – Syracuse
25. 76ers: Andzejs Pasecniks (C) – Latvia
26. Trail Blazers: Caleb Swanigan (PF) – Purdue
27. Lakers: Kyle Kuzma (F) – Utah
28. Jazz: Tony Bradley (C) – North Carolina
29. Spurs: Derrick White (G) – Colorado
30. Lakers: Josh Hart (G) – Villanova
31. Pelicans: Frank Jackson (PG) – Duke
32. Suns: Davon Reed (SG) – Miami
33. Magic: Wesley Iwundu (SF) – Kansas State
34. Kings: Frank Mason III (PG) – Kansas
35. Grizzlies: Ivan Rabb (PF) – California
36. 76ers: Jonah Bolden (PF) – Australia
37. Celtics: Semi Ojeleye (SF) – SMU
38. Warriors: Jordan Bell (C) – Oregon
39. Clippers: Jawun Evans (PG) – OSU
40. Hornets: Dwayne Bacon (SF) – FSU
41. Hawks: Tyler Dorsey (SG) – Oregon
42. Lakers: Thomas Bryant (C) – Indiana
43. Rockets: Isaiah Hartenstein (C) – Lithuania
44. Knicks: Damyean Dotson (SG) – Oregon
45. Rockets: Dillon Brooks (SF) – Oregon
46. Bucks: Sterling Brown (SG) – SMU
47. Pacers: Ike Anigbogu (C) – UCLA
48. Clippers: Sindarius Thornwell (SG) – South Carolina
49. Nuggets: Vlatko Cancar (SF) – Slovenia
50. 76ers: Mathias Lessort (PF) – France
51. Nuggets: Monte’ Morris (PG) – Iowa State
52. Pacers: Edmond Sumner (PG) – Xavier
53. Celtics: Kadeem Allen (SG) – Arizona
54. Suns: Alec Peters (PF) – Valparaiso
55. Jazz: Nigel Williams-Goss (PG) – Gonzaga
56. Celtics: Jabari Bird (SG) – California
57. Nets: Aleksandar Vezenkov (PF) – Spain
58. Knicks: Ognjen Jaramaz (PG) – Serbia
59. Spurs: Jaron Blossomgame (SF) – Clemson
60. Hawks: Alpha Kaba (PF) – France