Future Watch: Josh Okogie Rookie Basketball Cards, Timberwolves – Josh Okogie was born in Lagos, Nigeria on September 1st, 1998. At an early age, his family relocated to the United States and settled east of Atlanta. He was a bit of a musician as a youngster with skills on the piano, violin and tuba. In the ninth grade, he decided to turn his attention to the basketball court.
Okogie had trouble making a name for himself as a prospect at Shiloh High School in Snellville, GA. He had the skills, but was often buried on deep AAU rosters where most prep scouting takes place. Luckily, Georgia Tech assistant coach Chad Dollar (now with Auburn) noticed Okogie in his junior year and the rest his history.
Dollar saw Okogie as a well-rounded player with strong defensive instincts who could not only make the Georgia Tech team, but also meet their strong academic requirements. Okogie would turn down offers from Clemson, Tennessee and Kansas State to play for the Yellow Jackets. As a freshman, he played in 37 games, averaging 30.8 minutes per contest. That year he averaged 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He was named to the ACC All-Freshman team. As a sophomore, he scored 18.2 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals. After the season, Okogie declared himself eligible for the 2018 NBA draft.
Okogie was a fast riser in workouts and at the NBA Draft Combine. He measures 6’4” in shoes with a 7’0” wingspan and an 8’6” standing reach. His athleticism and motor were considered by many scouts to be his strongest traits as an NBA prospect. His quickness and footwork on defense were seen as traits that could keep him on the court as a rookie. At the draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Josh Okogie in the first round with the 20th overall pick.
At the time of the draft and for the first 40 games of the 2018 season, Tom Thibodeau was the coach and President of Basketball Operations for the Timberwolves. Okogie fit the mold of a Thibodeau prospect perfectly. He competes on every defensive position and hustles up and down the floor with ease. Like most Thibodeau prospects, he saw minimal time on the floor to start the season.
Despite his lack of playing time, Okogie quickly became a fan favorite at Target Center. His energy off the bench has been infectious. Injuries have cropped up on the Minnesota roster, giving Okogie more minutes to develop as a rookie. So far this season, he has played in 33 games, averaging 20.7 minutes. Check out his per-game stats below.
With Thibodeau fired, Minnesota turns to Ryan Saunders (son of former NBA coach Flip Saunders) to get the most out of the young Timberwolves core. In his first game playing under Saunders as head coach, Okogie started and played 37 minutes against the Oklahoma City Thunder. His final numbers weren’t outstanding (9 points on 3-of-9 shots), but he made a key three pointer to help seal the victory and earn Saunders his first win.
There is still a lot for this 20-year old shooting guard to figure out on the NBA court. He is still a bit raw on offense and as a ball handler, but his defense is off the charts. He compares well to new teammate Robert Covington, although he’ll need to develop into a more reliable three-point shooter. Still, the sky is the limit for Okogie who will get plenty of opportunities under Saunders moving forward. He won’t be asked to carry the load offensively, and that’s ok as he continues to develop.
Okogie has already put up some highlight reel dunks and is a fan favorite among Timberwolves fans. He’s not on the national fan radar yet, but that could change in the coming years. His rookie cards could be a nice investment. He’s the type of prospect who can grow into a solid NBA player who enjoys a nice long career.
Look for Josh Okogie in his Georgia Tech uniform in 2018 Panini Contenders Draft Picks Collegiate Basketball. As a 2018 first round pick, you can expect to find Okogie throughout Panini’s entire 2018-19 catalogue of NBA products. He has rookie cards in Contenders, Hoops, Donruss, Prizm and don’t miss out on his 2018-19 Certified RC featuring a GREAT photo!
Follow him on Twitter @CallMe_NonStop.
Future Watch: Josh Okogie Rookie Basketball Cards, Timberwolves – Stats
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