Bobcats sign Okafor
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) – The Charlotte Bobcats Monday signed first-
round pick Emeka Okafor to a multi-year contract. As per team policy,
terms of the deal were not disclosed, but under the rookie salary scale,
Okafor will make at least $10.05 million over three years with a fourth-year
Okafor, who was chosen with the second overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft,
became the first player ever selected by the expansion Bobcats.
“We are happy to have Emeka signed to a contract and ready to play
basketball,” general manager and head coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “He is a
fine young man and we are proud to have him represent our franchise and our
country, both on and off the court.”
Charlotte, which was originally slated to pick fourth, moved up to second in
the NBA Draft after trading the fourth and 33rd selections to the Los Angeles
Clippers and agreeing to take Predrag Drobnjak in the expansion draft.
Okafor, a 6-11 center, led the University of Connecticut to the NCAA
Championship in April and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Final
Four after scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in the national
championship game against Georgia Tech.
A First Team All-America selection, Okafor led the nation in blocked shots
with 4.1 per game and averaged 17.6 points and 11.5 rebounds (fourth in the
country) this past season. He was also named the co-National Player of the
Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as well as the National
Defensive Player of the Year.
In three seasons at UConn, Okafor guided his club to an overall record of
83-23. He led the Huskies to the 2004 NCAA Championship, the 2003 NCAA
Tournament Sweet 16 and 2002 NCAA Elite Eight, while also winning two Big East
Conference regular season titles or co-championships (2002 and 2003) and two
Big East Tournament championships (2002 and 2003).
Okafor was recently named as a member of the U.S. basketball team that will
compete in the upcoming Olympics in Athens, Greece.