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Editorials, NBA Africa, Sports

Meet Ighodaro, Mogbo & Bona – Nigeria’s Newest NBA Stars

Get the scoop on Oso Ighodaro, Jonathan Mogbo & Adem Bona, the 3 Nigerian talents who lit up the 2024 NBA Draft.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 28th June 2024

The 2024 NBA Draft wasn’t just about generational talents and franchise cornerstones. It was also a night of celebration for Nigerian basketball, with three talented young men etching their names into the record books.


This continues Nigeria’s rich tradition of producing NBA-ready prospects, a pipeline that stretches back to legends like Hakeem Olajuwon and James Nnaji. Let’s take a closer look at the newest wave of Nigerian talent taking the NBA by storm:



From Marquette to the Valley of the Sun: Oso Ighodaro (Phoenix Suns)


Standing tall at 6’8″, Oso Ighodaro out of Marquette University caught the eye of the Portland Trail Blazers with the 40th overall pick. However, his journey didn’t end there. In a draft night twist, Ighodaro was traded to the Phoenix Suns, adding another dimension to their already feisty squad.


Ighodaro’s path to the NBA wasn’t a straight line. He steadily honed his skills throughout his college career, culminating in a stellar senior year where he averaged a respectable 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. But it’s his defensive prowess that truly sets him apart. Scouts rave about his ability to lock down opponents, making him an immediate asset for the Suns’ defensive schemes.


Look for Ighodaro to battle for minutes and contribute his defensive hustle right away in the scorching Phoenix heat.


Adem Bona: The Defensive Anchor the Sixers Craved (Philadelphia 76ers)


The Philadelphia 76ers went big, both literally and figuratively, by selecting Adem Bona, a towering 6’10” center from UCLA, with the 41st pick. Bona’s story is unique – a Nigerian-born prospect who began his basketball journey in Turkey before making waves on American soil.


Defense is Bona’s bread and butter. He’s a nightmare matchup for opposing guards with his length and athleticism, earning him the prestigious Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award. While his offensive game is still developing, his defensive presence and potential inside are exactly what the 76ers were looking for.



Bona might not be a starter right away, but alongside the likes of Joel Embiid, he has the potential to form a dominant defensive duo in the paint for the Sixers. Expect him to be a defensive menace and a rim protector extraordinaire for Philly.


Double-Double Machine Lands in Toronto: Jonathan Mogbo (Toronto Raptors)


The Toronto Raptors bolstered their frontcourt by selecting Jonathan Mogbo, a versatile 6’10” forward, with the 31st overall pick. Mogbo’s journey to the NBA was a bit of a whirlwind, attending multiple universities before truly blossoming at the University of San Francisco. There, he put on a show, averaging a double-double in both points and rebounds.


The NBA is raving about Mogbo’s well-rounded skillset. His size and athleticism are a given, but it’s his passing ability that truly sets him apart. He has the vision and touch to find open teammates, a quality coveted in the modern NBA.



Mogbo might need some time to adjust to the NBA’s grueling pace, but his ability to score, rebound, and distribute the ball makes him a valuable asset for the Raptors. Look for him to contribute off the bench early on, potentially developing into a future starter for the North.

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