Just like that, the Magic drafted Okeke. He is a player known for improving mightily from his freshmen year to his sophomore year at Auburn. He was probably going to be drafted higher if not for his ACL injury.
While at Auburn, there were talks on the internet that Okeke won’t be able to contribute due to his injury. The fact that the rookie showed promise is something fans should look forward to.
For starters, Okeke, who played as a small-ball type forward, saw an increase in points per game and rebounds from his freshman to sophomore year.
Showing marked improvement
During his freshmen year, Okeke averaged 7.5 points points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists with .7 steals and .7 blocks. In his sophomore year, Okeke averaged around 12 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists with 1.8 steals and 1.2 blocks. This shows a player that is willing to put in the time and effort to increase his presence on the court.
In addition to that, Okeke was one of the contributing players to help bring the Auburn Tigers to an SEC Tournament title. During the Sweet-16 against North Carolina, Okeke scored 20 points and snagged 11 rebounds. He left that game with his torn ACL but it inspired Auburn all the way to their first Final Four in school history. Okeke averaged 12.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 blocks and 2.6 steals in postseason play before the injury.
Understanding the timing it will take
Auburn’s head coach, Bruce Pearl, raved about his former player, mentioning that Okeke was able to turn the basketball program into a competitive force. He also mentioned how Okeke has a team-first mentality.
While Okeke will need to first go through proper rest and rehabilitation prior to joining the Magic, the future for the new rookie seems promising.
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