Wednesday , May , 04 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Emeka Okafor is NBA’s Rookie of the Year

Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor has reportedly been named 2005 NBA Rookie of the Year.

The official announcement will come Wednesday, but The Charlotte Observer has reported that Okafor narrowly edged Chicago’s Ben Gordon for the honor, despite the fact that Gordon helped lead the Bulls to the playoffs for the first time since Michael Jordan guided the club to the NBA title in 1998.

Emeka Okafor is NBA's Rookie of the Year

The 22-year-old Okafor and Gordon played together at the University of Connecticut, where the two men were best friends and helped lead the Huskies to the 2004 national championship.

Okafor, who was the second overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, had a terrific season for the expansion Bobcats. He averaged 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, while also ranking second among all first-year players in blocks by posting 1.7 per contest.

On the season, Okafor had 47 double-doubles and guided Charlotte to 18 wins in its first campaign.

Gordon, who became the first rookie to ever win the Sixth Man of the Year Award when he was named top reserve on Tuesday, averaged 15.1 points and 2.6 boards per outing this season. Gordon, the third overall pick in the 2004 draft, poured in double-digit points 21 times in the fourth quarter this season, which ranked third in the entire league.

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar guard LeBron James was named the 2004 Rookie of the Year.