Okongwu is headed to Atlanta as a potential cornerstone to the franchise — and their future is definitely brighter than its been in some time.
After his selection, which of course, was done completely virtual in a compelling sense by the ESPN broadcast, Okongwu was visibly struck with emotion as his life officially changed.
Big O was officially welcomed immediately after his selection by his new teammate in Trae Young.
Big O!!! Hope you ready for some Lobs ATL Welcome @BigO21_ Lets Work!!— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) November 19, 2020
The Hawks are getting the services of a player who, in his lone year at USC, averaged 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. He secured 2.7 blocks per game and his 76 total blocks which were a USC freshman record. He ranked first among freshmen nationally with 61.6% field goal percentage. He was also second in total blocks and blocks per game among freshman.
He was the only player to average over 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 3.0 blocks per 40 total minutes player during the 2019-20 NCAA basketball season.
USC saw their second draft in a row with a player selected in the first round after Kevin Porter Jr. was selected in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. Okongwu becomes the highest drafted player since O.J. Mayo was selected third overall back in 2008.
“Onyeka has worked extremely hard for this moment and the entire USC men’s basketball program is excited for him,” said USC men’s basketball head coach Andy Enfield. “He is a very talented basketball player with a tireless work ethic and is going to be a huge addition to the winning culture of the Hawks. We are thankful for Onyeka’s winning contributions to our program and can’t wait to watch his success in the NBA.”
Congratulations Big O! We’re all now Hawks fans!