Orlando Magic signs Nigerian rookie, Chuma Okeke
• NBA announces structure, format for 2020-21 season
The Orlando Magic have signed rookie forward Chuma Okeke (CHOO-muh oh-KEE-kee), president of the club’s Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced yesterday. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chuma (Okeke) to the team,” said Weltman. “He’s demonstrated all of the characteristics that we had seen in him when we drafted him and we look forward to him starting his career with us.”
Okeke (6’8”, 230, 8/18/98) was selected in the first round (16th overall) of the 2019 NBA Draft. He played and started in 38 games during the 2018-19 campaign as a sophomore at Auburn University, averaging 12.0 ppg., 6.8 rpg., 1.9 apg., 1.82 stlpg. and 1.21 blkpg. in 29.1 minpg., while shooting .387 (55-142) from three-point range.
Okeke led the Tigers in rebounding, steals (third in the SEC) and blocked shots. He was named to the 2019 SEC All-Tournament Team and the 2019 All-Midwest Regional Team. Okeke helped the Tigers reach the 2019 NCAA Final Four, but sustained a season-ending knee injury (torn left ACL) during their Sweet Sixteen win against North Carolina. During that contest, he became the first Auburn player since 2000 and fifth ever to record 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in a NCAA Tournament game.
Okeke played in 72 career games (38 starts) during two seasons (2017-19) at Auburn University, averaging 9.9 ppg., 6.3 rpg., 1.5 apg. and 1.28 stlpg. in 25.5 minpg., while shooting .389 (89-229) from three-point range.
Meanwhile, the NBA has announced the structure and format for the 2020-21 season, which will include a Play-In Tournament to determine the teams that will fill the seventh and eighth playoff seeds in each conference.
The NBA’s 75th regular season will begin on Tuesday, December 22 and feature 72 games for each team.
According to the NBA,“each team will play three games against each intra-conference opponent (42 total games per team), with each pairing featuring either two home games and one road game or one home game and two road games. Within each team’s division, the league office has randomly assigned which two opponents will be played twice at home and which two opponents will be played twice on the road.
“All five teams from within a division will play all five teams from one other intra-conference division twice at home, and all five teams from the remaining intra-conference division twice on the road.
“Each team will play two games against each inter-conference opponent (30 total games per team), with each pairing featuring one home game and one road game.”
It said the 2020-21 regular-season schedule would be released in two segments, adding, “the All-Star break is scheduled to take place March 5-10, 2021, between the first half and second half of the regular season.”
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