Memphis star, AAC Player of the Year Precious Achiuwa to enter NBA draft

Memphis freshman forward Precious Achiuwa is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday.

“I’ve decided to declare for the 2020 NBA draft and hire an agent,” Achiuwa stated. “This is the next step in my journey and career as a basketball player. I’m really excited for it.”

Achiuwa, the No. 12 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, emerged as one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball, winning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors.

He averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals for the Tigers, establishing himself as one of the most versatile defenders in the nation.

“I’d summarize my season as spectacular. Even though a lot of things were thrown at us early and we had a lot of ups and down, we found a way to be successful,” Achiuwa told ESPN. “I think I was able to show NBA teams my versatility on defense and that I am able to adjust to whatever role that is given to me and still find a way to be successful. We all had to adjust to different roles because of the uncertainty that was thrown at us early in the season. It was sad the way it ended because of the COVID-19.”

Memphis ended the season 21-10, but its conference tournament and season were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Since the season ended I’ve just been at my house working on my body, doing a lot of cardio, making sure I am in shape and ready to go whenever we’re allowed to play basketball again,” Achiuwa said. “I’m just staying prepared and keep my body and mental state in the right place.”

Born in Nigeria, Achiuwa was a highly regarded prospect coming out of Montverde Academy in Florida as a McDonald’s All American and Nike Hoop Summit participant.

At 6-foot-9 with a 7-2 wingspan, Achiuwa has a 9-1 standing reach and NBA-ready frame.

While he made a name for himself this campaign with his defensive versatility and by racking up double-doubles, he has shown enough progress as a shooter, passer and ball handler to create optimism for how he’ll continue to evolve in the NBA.

The NBA draft is planned for June 25, but following worldwide suspensions of basketball activities, NBA teams are lobbying the league office to postpone the date to August in order to salvage the pre-draft process, ESPN reported earlier this month.

“I was definitely looking forward to the pre-draft process,” Achiuwa told ESPN. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that almost every NBA player that was drafted goes through. Unfortunately the situation that we’re in is not going to allow us to experience that.

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