Former Chino Hills center Onyeka Okongwu was drafted sixth overall in Wednesday’s 2020 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
Okongwu, a 5-star recruit, won three CIF Division I state championships in four seasons as the starting center for the Huskies. As a freshman in 2015-2015, he started at center as Chino Hills went 35-0 and finished as the top-ranked team in the country. His senior year, Okongwu averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, 4.3 blocks, and four assists per game on 62% shooting his senior year.
Last season as a freshman at USC, Okongwu led the Trojans with 16.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.7 steals per game on 61.6% shooting from the field to go with 1.2 SPG and 1.1 APG.
SBLive spoke to Steve Baik, Okongwu’s head coach at Chino Hills, before the draft. Baik compared Okongwu with Miami Heat all-star Bam Adebayo.
“It’s funny how you see a guy like Bam Adebayo having this recent success being the new modern NBA center,” said Baik. “I texted Onyeka a few weeks ago and I said I think that you really have a chance to open up the eyes of these scouts because Bam is really paving the way for you. I think he should position himself and market himself that way.”
Check out Baik’s complete interview with Connor Morrissette for an inside look at Okongwu’s legendary high school career at Chino Hills.
WHAT SCOUTS ARE SAYING ABOUT OKONGWU
“Exceptional rim protector who can block shots in one-on-one match ups or erase looks in well-timed help defense … Relatively undersized NBA big man with great length to make up for his lack of height … One of the highest potential players in the entire 2020 NBA Draft due to his elite play on both sides of the ball and great rebounding ability … Has the ability to step into a starter role immediately because of his elite defense … If he fails to develop into more of a jump shooter, he will peak as an average starter in his career.” –Derek Bast, NBADraft.net.
And here’s SBLive’s Connor Morrissette interviewing Okongwu in Feb. 2019: