With three CIF State championships under his belt at Chino Hills High and a successful freshman season at the University of Southern California, Chino resident Onyeka Okongwu declared for the NBA Draft Wednesday morning.
Touted as a lottery pick in the June 25 draft, Okongwu said it’s the right time to turn pro.
“I want to thank you for letting a kid from Chino into your program,” Okongwu posted on Twitter in a letter directed at USC. “However, all good things must come to an end. I want to take the next step when the opportunity presents itself. I appreciate everyone who has helped me get to this point.”
This season, Okongwu was named a Pac-12 Conference First Team and All-Freshman honoree for the 2019-20 men’s basketball season.
He averaged a team-best 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and led the Trojans in blocked shot with 76.
USC was scheduled to compete earlier this month in Pac-12 Conference Tournament at T-Mobile Arena, but the tournament was cancelled because of the Coronavirus.
Okongwu could be among three Chino Hills High players in the NBA next season from the Huskies’ 2015-16 team that finished 35-0 and won the school’s first state championship.
Lonzo Ball is in his third season in the NBA and LaMelo Ball is expected to also be a lottery pick in the June draft after a season in the National Basketball League in Australia.
Two other members from that team also have NBA aspirations.
LiAngelo Ball is with the Oklahoma City Thunder’s G-League team and Eli Scott will be a senior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.