Zeke Nnaji has become an NBA champion.
The 6’11” forward, who starred at Hopkins High School and the University of Arizona, participated in five playoff games as a member of the Denver Nuggets, helping them capture their first-ever NBA championship.
Usually when a person with local ties accomplishes such a feat, quite a bit is made of it. This hasn’t been the case with Nnaji.
Playing in 53 regular season games, he averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 rebounds while averaging 13.7 minutes of playing time.
The last time I saw Nnaji play an organized game of basketball was Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Target Center. He scored 14 points while leading Hopkins to a 55-40 victory over Lakeville North in the Class AAAA championship game.
Nnaji was named to the all-tournament team, earned Metro Player of the Year honors, and chose Arizona over a host of collegiate offers. After averaging 16.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a freshman, he declared for the 2019 NBA draft, where the Nuggets selected him with the 22nd first-round pick.
It’s not often that someone who honed their prep athletic skills in the Twin Cities metro area earns a championship ring at the professional level. Nnaji is the latest to accomplish such a feat.
It’s certainly an accomplishment worthy of recognition.