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Onyeka Okongwu leaves USC basketball by declaring for the NBA Draft

Mar 25, 2020, 4:00 PM EDT
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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Dynamic big man Onyeka Okongwu is headed to the 2020 NBA Draft. The USC basketball star announced his intentions on social media Wednesday morning.

Not only has the USC basketball season come to a premature end amid the coronavirus pandemic, but so has the career of Onyeka Okongwu. The move to be a one-and-done player, which had long been speculated since he was being recruited out of high school, was announced on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/BigO21_/status/1242856801604788225

“All good things must come to an end,” Okwongu said in his statement, after praising USC and his teammates for his year on campus. “I want to take the next step when opportunity presents itself. With careful consideration, I am announcing that I am declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft. I appreciate everyone who has helped me get to this point.”

That includes warm regards for USC head coach Andy Enfield, who said Monday night on Trojans Live that he expects Okongwu to be a Top 10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Prognosticators widely agree, as the 6-foot-9 Chino Hills product is a virtual consensus lottery pick in mock drafts.

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Okongwu appeared in 28 games for the Trojans, leading the team in scoring, rebounds and blocks. He averaged 16.2 points per game, to go with 8.6 boards and 2.7 blocks. He recorded a double-double on 11 occasions, while taking just one game to set the school record for blocks in a game, with eight against Florida A&M.

The Big O joins an exclusive club of one-and-done players at USC, including OJ Mayo, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Porter Jr. Where does Okongwu rank among that talented crop of Trojans? Arguably as the best college basketball player of them all.

He was healthy (unlike Porter Jr.), his team’s best player (unlike DeRozan), and a consistent yet under-utilized force (unlike Mayo). The Trojans surely will miss having a player of his ilk.

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