KZ Okpala submits his name to the NBA’s Advisory Committee for evaluation

Photo credit: gostanford.com

By: Ana Kieu

Stanford sophomore standout forward KZ Okpala has declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft, submitting his name to the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee.

“After several discussions with my family and my coaches, I have decided to declare for the NBA Draft,” Okpala said. “The NBA is a dream and certainly a goal of mine. I am truly blessed to continue to learn from so many people here at Stanford as I grow as a person and a player. It’s exciting to apply what I have learned so far as I begin this journey and see where it takes me.”

Okpala has submitted his name to the NBA’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee for evaluation. Under NCAA policy established within the past year, undergraduates can submit paperwork to the NBA to be evaluated, attend the NBA Draft Combine, conduct workouts with NBA teams and sign with NBPA-certified agents, while remaining NCAA eligible. He has until May 29 to decide to either remain in the NBA Draft or withdraw his name to retain his NCAA eligibility.

“KZ has certainly put himself him in position to be evaluated by the NBA,” said Jerod Haase, Stanford’s Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball. “He possesses tremendous talent and a skillset that fits the NBA. KZ is also an exceptional person and the consummate teammate. We wish him all the best and continue to support him throughout this process.”

Okpala earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors this past season, averaging a team-best 16.8 points to go along with 5.7 rebounds and a steal per contest. He was also a First Team All-District selection by the United States Basketball Writers Association and a Second Team All-District pick by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Okpala finished fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring with the second-most 20-point games (15) in the conference. The sophomore also ranked 16th in the conference in rebounding and 12th in defensive rebounding (4.5 DRPG). During the Pac-12 regular season, he finished fifth in the conference in scoring (17.5 PPG). He has averaged 13.8 PPG over his first two seasons on The Farm.

Okpala scored a career-high 30 points in the win at Cal in February. He recorded four consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career in the middle of the conference season, achieving the mark against Arizona (29), Arizona State (21), Washington (22) and Utah (22). He earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors in November, after averaging 29.0 PPG in victories over Seattle and UNC Wilmington. He finished his sophomore season on The Farm with a pair of double-doubles, posting 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Pac-12 opener against UCLA and 20 points and 10 rebounds in the season opener against Seattle.

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