(Photo of Achille Polonara, Jordan Nwora: Kareem Elgazzar - USA TODAY Sports)
TOKYO - Former Louisville men’s basketball star Jordan Nwora’s first Olympic stint with the Nigeria Men’s National Basketball Team might have already come to a close, but he ended it on a personal high note.
Facing Italy in Nigeria’s final Group Stage game of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound wing cracked the starting lineup for the first time, and put up 20 points on 7-17 shooting from the field and 3-7 on three-point attempts. He also logged four rebounds in 34:20 of on court time.
Despite that, as well as 22 points from Chimezie Metu and 14 from Jahlil Okafor, Nigeria still fell 80-71 to Italy. This caused the D’Tigers to fall to 0-3 in the Group Stage, thus eliminating their chances of advancing to the Knockout Stage.
In every one of Nigeria’s game, Nwora put his prolific scoring and shooting skills on full display. He notched a game-high 33 points and team-high seven rebounds in their 99-92 loss to Germany, and he had 10 points, three rebounds and four steals in their 84-67 loss to Australia. He was 24-49 (48.9%) from the field and 12-36 (33.3%) on threes in all three games.
This Olympic run concludes a busy month of July for the Buffalo, N.Y. native. Last week, his Milwaukee Bucks clinched their first NBA title in nearly 50 years, doing so in his rookie season. He was the first former Cardinal since 2002 to win the NBA Finals, when Samaki Walker did so with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Nwora only saw action in 30 games during the NBA’s regular season, partially due to an ankle injury. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.0 rebounds, and put up a career-high 34 points and 14 rebounds in the regular season finale.
As a junior for Louisville, Nwora led the team in points per game with 18.0 and was second in rebounding with 7.7. He also shot 44.0% from the field and 40.2% on three-point shots. He was named a finalist for the Julius Erving Award, John Wooden Award and was named a Third Team AP All-American. He was taken by the Bucks with the No 45 overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
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