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Okeke tore his ACL during Auburn's Sweet 16 win in the NCAA tournament. 

By Emily Caron
June 20, 2019

The Orlando Magic selected Auburn forward Chuma Okeke with the No. 16 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.

Okeke tore his ACL during the No. 5 Tigers' upset win over No. 1 North Carolina in the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. The 6'8", 230-pound forward led Auburn with 20 points, 11 boards, two steals and a block before leaving the game. Okeke underwent surgery following the injury. 

The sophomore averaged 12.0 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game for the Tigers while healthy. His 69 steals was the third-most ever by an Auburn player in a single season. Okeke started all 38 of the games he appeared in for Bruce Pearls' squad this season. 

SI NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo’s breakdown: Where he might have once been something of a tweener, Okeke is an interesting fit from a positionless standpoint given his ability to knock down shots, rebound and defend both forward spots. He’s light on his feet, has great hands and racks up blocks and steals. If he continues to improve as a shooter and expand his perimeter game, Okeke could blossom as a low-usage role player at the NBA level. He fits a useful mold as a combo forward, and the fact he’s injured may not preclude teams from taking a chance.

Woo's Grade: A-

I really like this pick by Orlando: had Okeke not been injured during the NCAA tournament, he was tracking as a clear first-rounder in my eyes. This is a bit of a surprise, but provided he recovers well, he should be a strong fit in their frontcourt. I like this fit for the Magic, who can take their time and develop him into a versatile piece who can defend the perimeter and also stroke from outside.

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