Future Stars: Three Nigerians selected in 2nd Round of 2024 NBA Draft

Three Nigerian-born basketballers, Jonathan Mogbo, Oso Ighodaro and Adem Bona, have been selected in the second round of the 2024 US NBA draft (#NBADraft24) on Thursday in New York. 

The three Nigerians were selected in the second round of the 2024 NBA draft, which was the 78th edition of the US National Basketball Association’s annual draft. This year’s draft took place over two nights unlike in recent years.

Mogbo, 22, was drafted from the University of San Francisco by the Toronto Raptors as the 31st overall for the first pick on the second day. While Ighodaro, 40th pick, was drafted from Marquette University by the Portland Trail Blazers, 21-year-old Bona, a center from UCLA, and 41st overall, was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Prior to their draft pick, the Nigerian stars have already shown they have potential to make their mark as professionals in the NBA.

Mogbo was named to the WCC All-Conference First Team and Newcomer of the Year. Ighodaro was named to the All-Big East Second Team in both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, and Bona was named the 2022-23 Pac-12 Rookie of the Year, and he was also named to the 2023-24 All-Pac-12 First Team.

With their selections, the trio have followed in the footsteps of renowned Nigerian-born players such as Hakeem Olajuwon (1984 draft for the Houston Rockets), Olumide Oyedeji (2000 draft for the Seattle SuperSonics), Giannis Antetokounmpo (2013 draft for the Milwaukee Bucks), and Chimezie Metu (2018 draft for the San Antonio Spurs), among others, who broke into limelight after they made the NBA drafts.

Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s MVP for 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

A major highlight of the 2024 NBA Draft was the Los Angeles Lakers selection of Bronny James with the 55th overall pick in the second round. With his father, LeBron James, still playing as a forward for the LA Lakers, both have become the first father-son duo to play in the same NBA team.

The 19-year-old Bronny has big shoes to fill. His father, LeBron, is the first player to reach 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists; and in 2023 became the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.

Speaking about Bronny’s selection, Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager, Rob Pelinka, said, “Bronny is first and foremost a person of high character. And secondly, he’s a young man who works incredibly hard. Those are the qualities we look for in drafting players and adding to our developmental core at the Lakers. He had a great draft workout with us where he displayed those qualities.”

“In terms of his work ethic, we’ve all seen that lived out, too. He’s not a person who has ever taken shortcuts or expected or been entitled about basketball opportunities.”


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