Isaac Okoro Named to NBA All-Rookie Team

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Okoro rises up for a long two-point jumper over Indiana Pacers guard Aaron Holiday. PHOTO BY DAVID RICHARD – USA TODAY SPORTS

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AU Athletics

Former Auburn standout and current Cleveland Cavalier, Isaac Okoro, was named to the 2020-21 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, the NBA announced last Thursday. Okoro is the first Tiger to earn All-Rookie Team honors since Marquis Daniels in 2003-04, when he played for the Dallas Mavericks.

Okoro is the sixth former Auburn player to be named to the annual team in program history, joining Charles Barkley (1985), Chris Morris (1989), Chuck Person (1987), Wesley Person (1995) and Daniels (2004).

After being selected No. 5 overall by the Cavaliers in the 2020 NBA Draft, Okoro went on to appear in a team-best 67 games (all starts), averaging 9.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 32.4 minutes. Okoro (646 points, 62 threes, 62 steals, 24 blocks) became just the third rookie in franchise history to record at least 500 points, 50 threes, 50 steals and 20 blocks in a single season, joining LeBron James (2003-04) and Kyrie Irving (2011-12).

The Powder Springs, Georgia, native led all NBA rookies in minutes per game while also ranking in the Top 10 among rookies in steals per game (sixth), points per game (eighth) and assists per game (10th). His 32.4 minutes averaged was the highest by a Cavs rookie since LeBron James in 2003-04 (39.5) and the most by any NBA rookie since 2017-18 (Ben Simmons 33.7 and Donovan Mitchell 33.4).

Okoro scored in double-digits on 35 occasions this past season, which was tied for sixth-most among 2020-21 rookies. He posted 20 points or more three times and had one 20 point, 10 rebound game.

Okoro became the first one-and-done player in Auburn program history following his freshman campaign in 2019-20. He was just the sixth player in Southeastern Conference history to be named All-SEC, All-Defensive and All-Freshman in the same season.

The forward averaged 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, two assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks in 31.5 minutes per game while starting 28 games as a first-year player in a senior-laden lineup. The Tigers posted a 25-6 record during the 2019-20 season.

Okoro scored in double figures 20 times and was named the SEC Freshman of the Week twice, becoming just the fourth freshman in program history to earn the conference distinction two times in a season.

Okoro (53 points) received one First Team vote and 51 Second Team votes from a global panel of 99 sportswriters and broadcasters. The voting panel selected five players for the First Team and five players for the Second Team at any position. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

Chuma Okeke also received two Second Team votes from the same panel.

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