Future Watch: Chuma Okeke Rookie Basketball Cards, MagicFuture Watch: Chuma Okeke Rookie Basketball Cards, MagicChuma Okeke was born in Atlanta in 1998. He attended Westlake High School in Atlanta and in his junior season helped the team win the 2016 Georgia Class 6A State Championship. As a senior, Okeke took home Mr. Georgia Basketball honors after finishing the season with per-game averages of 24.4 points, 15 rebounds and 2.4 steals. He was a consensus four-star prep recruit and ranked in the top-50 players in his class by Scout and ESPN. Okeke would chose to play college ball for the University of Auburn.

In his freshman season, Okeke played in 34 games off the bench and averaged 21.6 minutes, 7.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In total he grabbed 197 rebounds over the course of the season, the most by an Auburn freshman since Jeff Moore in 1984-85. Among his teammates he tied for a team lead with three double-doubles with two of them coming against conference opponents. He also tied for the team lead in shooting from behind the arc with 39% and was named an Academic Top Tiger.

Chuma took a great step forward as a sophomore. Starting in all 38 of Auburn’s games that season he averaged 12.0 points, 6.8 boards and over 1.0 assists, steals and blocks per game. He led the team in double-doubles with seven and his 69 steals tied for third on Auburn’s single-season steals list. At the 2019 SEC Tournament, Okeke helped lead the Tigers to their second tournament title and was named to the SEC All-Tournament team.

At the 2019 NCAA Tournament, Okeke became the first Tiger to record a double-double since Mamadou N’diaye in 2000 when he scored 20 points and grabbed 11 boards against North Carolina in their Sweet-16 match-up. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending knee injury (ACL tear) in that game. Auburn would win that game and advance to the Final Four where they fell to eventual champion Virginia. After the season, Okeke was a co-winner of the Paul Lambert/Tommy Joe Eagle Award given to the team’s most valuable player and was also named the team’s most improved player. In April, Okeke would declare himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Check out Chuma Okeke’s college stats at Auburn:

College Table
Totals Shooting Per Game
2017-18 19 AUBURN 34 734 92 201 34 87 37 55 69 197 38 23 25 27 66 255 .458 .391 .673 21.6 7.5 5.8 1.1
2018-19 20 AUBURN 38 1105 168 339 55 142 65 90 106 260 73 69 46 66 71 456 .496 .387 .722 29.1 12.0 6.8 1.9
Career 72 1839 260 540 89 229 102 145 175 457 111 92 71 93 137 711 .481 .389 .703 25.5 9.9 6.3 1.5
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/5/2020.

Before his unfortunate injury at the NCAA Tournament, Chuma Okeke was considered a mid-to-late lottery pick. The 6’8” forward showed great athleticism at Auburn and the ability to do a little bit of everything on the court. He can shoot from distance (39% as a freshman, 38% as a sophomore), score easily at the rim and create for himself off the dribble. His 7-foot wingspan gives him the ability to wall up against bigger defenders and reach to disrupt passing lanes. His 230-pound frame is solid for a forward prospect, but as with all rookies he’ll benefit from a dedicated offseason program… or maybe he’s doing that already!

On draft night the Orlando Magic selected Chuma Okeke when he fell to them at the 16th pick. Due to his injury and the long recovery time, Orlando has been waiting to officially sign Okeke to his rookie scale deal. He’s currently signed with the team’s G-League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, where he is diligently rehabbing his knee and building strength for the NBA. All signs have been positive and despite his distance from the team he’s keeping a positive attitude. This article in the Athletic by Josh Robbins from February 4th paints a good picture of what Okeke is dealing with as he works his way back to full health. It’s good to hear Magic teammate Jonathan Isaac is keeping in touch with Okeke during his rehab. Isaac also dealt with injuries early in his career and has since developed into a key member of the Magic roster.

Future Watch: Chuma Okeke Rookie Basketball Cards, MagicOrlando is in a bit of a weird spot. They’re good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to be a contender. This means that picks in the middle teens really need to pay off. Luckily general manager John Hammond has some luck picking in the middle of the first round. As GM of the Milwaukee Bucks he took Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013 with the 15th pick. He also took Thon Maker in 2016 with the 10th pick over Domantas Sabonis, Pascal Siakam and Caris LeVert but no GM hits on their draft picks 100% of the time. Still, Okeke has plenty of upside and there was an argument to be made he could have been a top-10 pick.

There is a lot to like about Chuma Okeke’s role with the Magic moving forward. Orlando may explore moving Aaron Gordon this summer and if that happens a lot of minutes could open up, especially for Okeke. Even if Gordon stays and Orlando runs back most of their roster in 2020-21, Magic fans should expect to see Chume Okeke as part of the rotation. He’s going to get his first taste of action against NBA talent at the 2020 Las Vegas Summer League and collectors should be watching. Currently his Silver Prizms can be found in the $10-$20 range. You may even be able to find them for less than $10 after the season and before Summer League starts. Looking for an autograph from Chuma Okeke? They can be found for $30 or less! All it takes is a few good games in Las Vegas and prices could jump 3x! Not a bad return on a minimal investment.

Chuma Okeke may not be playing this season, but that doesn’t mean Panini didn’t bring him in for their 2019 NBA rookie showcase and festivities. He has plenty of cards and autographed cards featuring him in his Orlando Magic jersey. Find them in 2019-20 Absolute, Prizm, Contenders, Crown Royale and more! Look for him in his Auburn Tigers uniform in 2019 Contenders Draft Picks and 2019 Prizm Draft Picks.

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