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Africans Take Centre Stage As NBA Reveals 2020 Draft Picks

The African continent was well represented in the 2020 NBA drafts with at least 10 players from the continent involved in the making of history.

The continent’s most populous country, Nigeria had 8 players involved in the first 60 draft picks in what is the highest number of drafts from any African country in the history of the NBA, the biggest basketball league in the world.

Other players from Cameroon, Senegal and Guinea respectively who were not drafted, but were part of the drafts, are also available as free agents.

Who Are The African Draft Picks?

Isaac Okoro: Drafted in by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 5th overall pick, Okoro, born in Atlanta, Georgia to Nigerian parents is one of the Africans who made headlines in the 2020 NBA drafts. The 19-year old small forward, who was drafted from Auburn is eligible to represent Nigeria, despite representing the United States in the U-17.

Onyeka Okongwu: The University of South Carolina’s 19-year old Power forward was born in Los Angeles, California to Nigerian parents. He was drafted in by the Atlanta Hawks with the 6th overall pick. Okongwu is rated highly for his performance at the University of South Carolina Trojans and is seen as one of the finest teenagers in American basketball.

Precious Achiuwa – a freshman at Memphis College, born in Port Harcourt, South-South Nigeria was selected as the 20th overall draft. Achiuwa was drafted in by the Miami Heats who already have a Nigerian star man, Bam Adebayo on their ranks. 

Zeke Nnaji, new Denver Nuggets NBA draft

Zeke Nnaji: Ezekiel Tobechukwu Nnaji, 19, was drafted in by the Denver Nuggets for the 2020  NBA. He was born in the United States to a Nigerian father and an American mother. Nnaji was chosen by the Nuggets with the 22nd overall draft pick after his impressive performance with the Arizona Wildcats.

Udoka Azubuike: The Kansas Centre was chosen by the Utah Jazz with the 27th overall pick. He was born in Lagos to Nigerian parents and has been rated as one to look out for in the NBA.

Desmond Bane: Born to a Nigerian father and an American mother, Bane, 22, reminded the world of his African heritage after the NBA missed his name as one of the players with Nigerian roots in the 2020 NBA drafts. He was chosen by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 30th overall draft. 

Daniel Oturu: Akinfayoshe Daniel Oturu, 19 was born in Brooklyn, New York to Nigerian parents. Oturu was drafted in by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 33rd overall pick. The 6ft 10” tall Centre played college basketball with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. 

Jordan Nwora: Son of Nigeria’s senior male basketball team coach, Alex Nwora, Jordan was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 45th overall draft pick. The 22-year old Louisville Cardinals’ small forward has been a part of the Nigerian senior male basketball team, D’Tigers.

He was born in Buffalo, New York to a Nigerian father and an American mother. 

Karim Mane: Although undrafted, Mane, 20, born in Dakar, Senegal, is a player many have tipped to make it to the NBA.

He filed in hoping to make the cut as one of the NBA Combined drafts but was not considered for the first selection. This makes Mané a free agent and can still sign for any team in the NBA. 

Paul Eboua: Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Eboua, who plays professional basketball in Italy was snubbed in the NBA draft but is a free agent and can sign for any team interested in him. 

The 20-year old has been listed as one of the players who may eventually feature in the coming NBA season if he impresses his suitors enough. 

Mamadi Diakite: Born in Conakry, Guinea, Diakite joined US basketball through help of a Guinean former basketball player. He was undrafted for the 2020 NBA but is seen as a player that is good enough to crack a space in professional basketball. 

Mamadi Diakite, Guinean/streamingthelawn

Other Africans who were involved in the 2020 NBA drafts include: Senegalese, Lamine Diane and a Nigerian-Greek postgraduate student, Nikolaos Okekuoyen. Both players were neither drafted nor selected as free agents. 

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