For Goodluck Okonoboh this isn’t what his first professional basketball season was supposed to look like. The former 5 star high school player, who was ranked 26th out of ESPN’s top 100 picked UNLV as his college.
In two seasons with UNLV, Okonoboh averaged 5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. Not entirely what was expected from the former 5 star recruit. Following his two seasons at UNLV, Okonoboh declared for the NBA Draft, and never heard his name. Okonoboh went undrafted. After being undrafted, Goodluck decided to enter the D-League draft where the Salt Lake City Stars drafted him with the 32nd pick before trading him to the Raptors 905.
With the 905, Okonoboh had to fight to make the roster that already had it’s starting center in Yanick Moreira. Okonoboh did make the final roster where he was projected to be the teams backup center, before the team claimed Edy Tavares off waivers. With Tavares now in the fold, Okonoboh didn’t have a spot on this team, so he had to wait for his opportunity. It was shown with him only playing in 7 games in a 50 game season, the rest where DNP-CD’s or him being one of the two inactives.
He was rarely playing, but coach Jerry Stackhouse still had faith in him, saying he will get a chance due to him being one of the hardest working players on the squad. Well the chance may be now in the conference finals of the D-League playoffs. Okonoboh will get his chance now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have signed 905 center Edy Tavares leaving a hole open on the center depth chart. Presumably, Moreira would now start at center but backup minutes are up for grab and Okonoboh seems likely to land that spot.
And that turns out to be plan, as 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse told Ridiculous Upside, “He’ll [Goodluck Okonoboh] play but nobody’s slotted time. It’s all dependent on performance and game flow. Assignment [players] are the only givens.” Now with the coach giving him minutes it is up to Okonoboh to run with those minutes.
Okonoboh wasn’t given much of a chance during the regular season to show his potential but now in the D-League Conference Finals he finally gets a chance to play, and play regularly.
In limited minutes that Okonoboh did play, he showed his potenital. He was effective on the defensive end of the court by blocking and disrupting shots. If he can continue to do that, while chipping in with a few points and rebounds, he could cement himself into the rotation.
On the offensive end, Okonoboh haven’t showed much other than a few dunks. He hasn’t made a free throw but is shooting 77.8% from the field, although only averaging 1.3 field goal attempts a game.
So who really knows what the 905 have in Okonoboh other than Stackhouse and the rest of the team’s coaching staff. The 905 have to now put trust into Goodluck for the stretch run, but he deserves these minutes as he have worked so hard in practice and is always upbeat in the locker room.