Its a Huskie Affair!

By LA Batchelor
Updated: May 4, 2005

Charlotte Bobcats Forward/Center Emeka Okafor and Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon

CHARLOTTE, N.C.-You would think that Charlotte Bobcats Forward/Center Emeka Okafor and Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon are back in Storrs, CT taking down the nets to another NCAA Men’s Basketball Title the way they both won awards in their first season in the NBA. After former teammate Ben Gordon won the NBA six man of the year award, Emeka Okafor joins in on the awards as the takes home the NBA Rookie of the year award by the Associated Press, narrowly beating out his friend and former teammate at UCONN.

The announcement came Wenesday, May 4th at the Bobcats headquarters. Okafor, the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft, led all rookies in scoring(15.9 points per game) and rebounding(10.9 rebounds per game) and was second among rookies in blocks(1.71 blocks per game). He also ranked second in the NBA with 3.8 offensive rebounds per game. He ended his season with 47 double figures in both points and rebounds. Okafor wins the award a day after his former college teammate Ben Gordon, won the NBA Six man award after averaging 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Gordon said he wasnt surprised Okafor won and was extremely happy for him. “I’m happy for him,” Gordon said. “He had a great season. So I’ll definitely give him a call and congratulate him.” Both Okafor and Gordon went No. 2 and 3 in the draft respectively.

Gordon became a sparkplug for the Bulls off the bench while helping them into the postseason for the first time since Michael Jordan’s retirement. He became the first rookie to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Okafor played under pressure the entire season as he was ask to lead an expansion Charlotte Bobcat team not only this year but years to come. Charlotte traded up in the draft for a chance to pick him, hoping to make him the cornerstone of their franchise. Even with a limited supporting cast, Okafor was able to help the Bobcats to 18 wins despite preseason predictions that Charlotte would be the worst team in NBA history. He helped the Bobcats to two wins over Detroit, the defending NBA champions, as well as victories over Miami and Houston. After the season-ending win over the Pistons, Okafor said he enjoyed his rookie season. “With an expansion team, I knew that things would be different, but I didn’t have anything to compare it to,” he said. “I’ve had a pretty enjoyable experience. I can’t complain at all. I’ve had a great time in Charlotte this year and its only going to get better. The future is looking bright.”

The future looks very bright for both of these talented young men. Let’s see who can get to the NBA Finals and win it first. So far in the NBA………….they are tied with many more wins, awards and hopefully championships ahead.