Auburn basketball: Chuma Okeke has Magical back-to-back career nights

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Auburn basketball player Chuma Okeke is finally getting his chance to play as a rookie in the NBA after a devastating ACL tear slightly derailed his professional career and he is not disappointing. Though the rookie is still working to find his footing in the NBA, action around the recent trade deadline opened up massive opportunities for Okeke.

After regularly playing behind Aaron Gordon this season, significant playing time opened up for Okeke when Gordon was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and a 2025 first-round pick. He recorded back-to-back career-high stats in Wednesday’s and Friday’s games.

Okeke knocked down 17 points and three rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time during Wednesday’s matchup against the Phoenix Suns. He was 6-6 from the field with four made shots from behind the arc, helping Orlando beat Phoenix 111-112.

According to Rookie Wire, the Magic were down to only eight players for Friday’s game after a whirlwind of trades on Thursday, and once again Okeke showed out, recording a career-high 22 points with six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Despite the rookie’s double-digit performance, the Magic couldn’t hold out over the Portland Trailblazers and lost 112-105.

After making the run to the Final Four with the Auburn basketball team in 2019, Chuma Okeke was the 16th overall pick in the NBA Draft to the Orlando Magic. Okeke did not play the first season in order to recover from the ACL tear, but with a trade-depleted Orlando team, it’s possible that Okeke could become a key player for the Magic to build around.

Okeke joins the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaac Okoro in representing Auburn basketball in the NBA, while Jared Harper and Bryce Brown hold things down in the G-League. 2020 standout freshman Sharife Cooper could very well become the Tigers’ second one-and-done and join Okeke and Okoro in the big leagues.

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