Chuma Okeke declares for 2019 NBA Draft


AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn sophomore forward Chuma Okeke has announced Saturday that he will submit his name into the 2019 NBA Draft.

“After talking with my family, Coach Pearl and the entire staff at Auburn, I have decided to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft,” Okeke said. “I want to thank God, my family, my coaches and teammates, and the entire Auburn Family for their continued support these past two seasons.

“I’m grateful for all that we have accomplished the past two seasons. Together, we’ve won championships and made history at Auburn. War Eagle!”

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and Chuma is one of the most versatile players I’ve ever coached and impacts the game on both ends of the court,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “I’m so proud of how hard he’s worked and how much fun he is to coach. When he recovers from this injury he will be better than ever.”

Despite tearing his ACL during Auburn’s run to the Final Four, Okeke improved immensely from his freshman season to his sophomore campaign.

After averaging 7.5 points per game in 2017-18, the Atlanta, Ga. native nearly doubled his output to 12.0 points per contest this past season while improving his field goal percentage from 46 percent to 50 percent.

Okeke shined the brightest on the biggest stages as he averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in the NCAA Tournament.

He earned Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team honors and was the fifth player in program history and first since 2000 to have a 20-point, 10-rebound game in the NCAA Tournament in the Tigers’ 97-80 victory over top-seeded North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

Okeke scored in double figures 27 times in the 2018-19 season, including 15 of his last 17 games played. He also had a team-best seven double-doubles.

The sophomore was a key contributor on the defensive end as he recorded 69 steals – the third-most in a season by an Auburn player all-time.

Okeke was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Tournament Team and was selected as the conference’s player of the week after the first week of the season where he averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 64 percent from the floor in wins against South Alabama and Washington.

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