Timberwolves’ Josh Okogie interested in playing for Nigeria in FIBA World Cup
Earlier Tuesday, news broke that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins would not be playing for the Canadian national team in the 2019 Basketball World Cup. However, the Timberwolves do have at least one player interested in playing in the FIBA tournament.
Josh Okogie has expressed his interest in playing for the Nigerian team this summer, though he still needs to get approval from FIBA because of his under-17 stint with Team USA.
Sure sounds like it was A. Wiggins telling Canada no for national team duties this summer. Interesting debate on whether playing would've made sense.
J. Okogie is interested in playing for Nigeria. But he needs to get FIBA approval because he played 17U for the U.S. #Twolves
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) July 16, 2019
Okogie was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He has dual citizenship for both the United States and his home country.
The guard impressed in his rookie season for Minnesota. After being picked with the 20th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Okogie was expected to come in and make at least some impact in his first season.
He ended up exceeding the Timberwolves’ expectations. In 74 games, Okogie averaged 7.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game. He showed plenty of athleticism and drive and became a fixture off the bench in Minnesota.
The team will certainly appreciate Okogie going to play in the tournament. It means he can play competitive basketball all summer and hone his skills even further. This will allow him to build off his already encouraging rookie campaign.
While Minnesota isn’t exactly in a rebuilding phase, it’d be a stretch for the team to contend in the Western Conference. Their only superstar is Karl-Anthony Towns, and there really isn’t much depth around him.
Minnesota could look to give Okogie plenty of playing time to see if he could develop into a solid starter that could stick around for a few years or become trade bait.