NBA Draft 2004 Emeka Okafor
NBA Position: Power Forward
Hometown: Houston, Tx
High School: Bellaire
University of Connecticut center Emeka Okafor has decided to take his talents to the NBA.
The All-America center led the Huskies to the national championship earlier this month and said at a news conference Friday that he will skip his senior season to apply for the NBA Draft.
Okafor, also an academic All-America, is on pace to graduate a year early with a finance degree.
Many NBA scouts predict Okafor will be one of the top selections, if not the top overall pick, of the June draft.
Okafor, who battled back spasms throughout UConn’s post-season run, was the Big East Player of the Year this past season and was a finalist for Wooden and Naismith Awards as national player of the year.
The 6-foot-10 star was UConn’s second-leading scorer, averaging 17.6 points per game, and led the Huskies with an average of 11.5 rebounds. He finished his career with a dominating 24-point, 15 rebound performance in an 82-73 victory over Georgia Tech in the national championship game.
Okafor is one of just four players in UConn history with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds,and also finished his collegiate career with a school-record 441 blocked shots.
The Huskies have now lost their top two players to early-entry in the NBA Draft, as leading scorer Ben Gordon also made his decision to turn pro earlier this week.
Team site profile:
Outlook: Consensus preseason national player of the year… The nation’s premier defensive player and among the top shot blockers in the history of college basketball… Represented the USA this summer as a member of the Pan American Games squad… Started all five games, averaging a team-high 12.0 points and shooting 68.3% from the field.
At Connecticut: National Player of the Year candidate who has started all 67 games in his two seasons, averaging 11.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.4 blocked shots per game… Has 28 career double-doubles… Holds the UConn career record for blocked shots with 294 (4.38/game) and holds the top two single season marks for blocks with 156 (in 2002-03) and 138 (in 2001-02)… His 4.38 career blocked shot average is No. 7 in NCAA history and the best overall average in BIG EAST history… His BIG EAST games blocked shot average of 4.41 is the best in league history, surpassing Patrick Ewing of Georgetown (3.98/game)… Has blocked nine shots in a game four times and eight shots in a game on six occasions in his career… The only player in BIG EAST history to block nine or more shots in three BIG EAST games… His field goal percentage of 58.3% is No. 1 all-time at UConn.
As a Sophomore in 2002-03: Named to the 2003 John R. Wooden Award All-American team… Named to the 2003 Verizon Academic All-American First Team… 2002-03 NABC National Defensive Player of the Year… NABC Third Team All-American… ESPN.com Third Team All-American… Basketball Times Third Team All-American… CollegeInsider.com National Defensive Player of the Year… CollegeInsider.com All-American… 2002-03 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and BIG EAST/Aeropostale Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year…Named to the All-BIG EAST First Team… Named to the NABC & USBWA All-District I First Team… Started all 33 games at the center position and averaged 15.9 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.73 blocked shots per game… Led the nation in blocked shots and is currently No. 7 in the country in rebounding… Led the BIG EAST in rebounds, blocked shots and double-doubles (22)… Scored in double figures 29 times and reached double figures in rebounds 24 times… Averaged 19.7 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.7 blocks in three NCAA contests and earned a spot on the 2003 NCAA South Region All-Tournament team… Had 21 points, 17 boards and six blocks in NCAA Sweet 16 vs. Texas and was named the CBS Player of the Game… Had 18 points and 15 rebounds vs. Stanford in the NCAA Second Round after scoring 20 points, grabbing eight boards and blocking seven shots in the First Round win over BYU and earning CBS Player of the Game honors… Named to the 2003 ConAgra Foods BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament team after averaging 10.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in the three games… Topped the 15-point mark on 20 occasions during the season and scored 20 or more points eight times… Had 11 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots in the BIG EAST quarterfinal win over Seton Hall… Had 25 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks in the regular season finale vs. Boston College… Had 13 points, 12 boards and nine blocks in the win over St. John’s on February 22… Had 21 points, 13 boards and seven blocks vs. St. John’s on January 27… Had 25 points and 11 rebounds in win at Vanderbilt on December 1, earning BIG EAST Player of the Week honors.
As a Freshman in 2001-2002: Named a First Team Freshman All-American by the Sporting News, Basketball News and Basketball Times… Named to the All-BIG EAST Third Team and a unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team… Named to the USBWA All-District I First Team and to the NABC All-District I Second Team… Started all 34 games at the center position… Averaged 7.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game… Led the team in rebounding and blocks… His 138 blocked shots set a UConn single season record, breaking the old mark of 111 set by Donyell Marshall in 1993-94… Led the BIG EAST and was No. 3 in the nation in blocked shots at 4.1 per game… His 9.0 rebounding total was second in the nation among freshmen (45th overall) and is the second highest freshman average in UConn history… He is the first UConn freshman to record 300 or more rebounds… Shot 59.0% from the field, No. 6 on the UConn single season list… Reached double figures in points 11 times, in rebounds 16 times and had seven double-doubles on the season… Named CBS Player of the Game in First Round of the NCAA Tournament vs. Hampton after recording his seventh double-double with 12 points, 15 boards and adding five blocks… Averaged 8.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament… Averaged 7.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in the BIG EAST Tournament… Nearly recorded a triple-double on two occasions… In the win over Boston College on February 16, he totaled nine points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots… In the win at Arizona, he totaled 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks, all career-highs… For his performance against Arizona, Andy Katz of ESPN.com listed Okafor as his national player of the week and Dick Vitale of ESPN had Okafor and teammate Ben Gordon as his Diaper Dandies of the Week… He was also the winner of ESPN’s weekly poll “Big Man on Campus”, which runs throughout the course of the evening during the Big Monday telecasts and was named the Sporting News National Player of the Week… Also had nine blocks in the loss at Rutgers… One of only two players in BIG EAST history to block nine or more shots in a league game twice in his career… Also blocked eight shots in a game on three occasions (Northeastern, Oklahoma and West Virginia)… Three-time BIG EAST Rookie of the Week (December 23, January 14 and January 28)… Received the annual Scholar-Athlete Award, Outstanding Defensive Player and Outstanding Rebounder awards at the team banquet.
High School: Top 50 national recruit…Named Most Valuable Player for Team USA at Pittsburgh Hoops Classic All-Star game in April of 2001 after posting rare “triple-double” with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 10 blocked shots in pacing a 121-116 victory…Averaged 22 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots per game as a senior for 26-5 Bellaire HS.