By Oluwole Francis
Eight Nigerian basketballers have been drafted into to play in the elite division of NBA 2020 United States basketball season by top clubs.
The draws which were staged on Thursday saw Isaac Okoro, born in the US to Nigerian parents become the highest-drafted player after Michael Olowokandi since 1998.
Okoro, 19, is a small forward from Auburn and was drafted number five overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Onyeka Okongwu came in as number six draft by the Atlanta Hawks, and that sparked emotions as the 20-year-old paid tribute to his older brother, Nnamdi, who died through a skateboarding accident in 2014.
Born in Nigeria but moved to the US during his teenage age, Precious Achiuwa was a number 20 pick for the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, Miami Heat head of basketball operations Pat Riley expressed delight at their pick saying: “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.”
The 21-year-old will team up with countryman Gabe Vincent as well as Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala and Kezie Okpala who are of the Nigerian heritage.
The list of basketball stars of Nigerian heritage drafted into the NBA by clubs ahead of next campaign are Jordan Nwora, Udoka Azubuike, Issac Okoro, Desmond Bane, Onyeka Okongwu, Precious Achiuwa, Zeke Nnaji and Daniel Oturu.