Nigerian power forward Precious Achiuwa announced Friday he is entering the 2020 NBA Draft, where analysts expect he could be a top-15 selection after a superb US college campaign.
Achiuwa, a 20-year-old freshman at the University of Memphis, averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocked shots and 1.1 steals a game this past season, the nation’s only college newcomer to average a double-double.
“I’ve always dreamt of playing in the NBA since I picked up the game,” Achiuwa said in a statement posted on Twitter.
The Tigers, coached by former NBA star Penny Hardaway, went 21-10 in a season halted before the national championship tournament by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to thank coach Penny Hardaway and the entire coaching staff for pushing me every day to become better and helping me understand what it will take to become a successful professional,” Achiuwa said.
Achiuwa, the only player to start every game for Memphis this season, was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, the first man since 1982 to sweep both awards.
Achiuwa, who stands 6-foot-9 (2.06m) and weighs 225 pounds (102kg), was born in Nigeria and played football for much of his youth until turning to basketball as a teen when his family moved to New York.
“Looking back at my journey and how far I’ve come, I must say it has been a blessing and a very humbling experience,” Achiuwa said.
The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 25 but could be delayed due to the deadly virus outbreak.