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Precious Achiuwa is arguably the most athletic player available in the 2020 NBA Draft, and he put his combination of length, speed, and explosiveness to good use as a freshman for the Memphis Tigers.
Moving to the United States from Nigeria in middle school, Achiuwa emerged as a force at the prep level very early on finishing his senior year at Montverde Academy (FL) ranked among the consensus top-15 prospects in the class of 2019. Named a McDonald’s All-American and recording a double-double at the Nike Hoop Summit, he carried significant expectations into his freshman year figuring to play a key role alongside James Wiseman as an important part of the top-ranked 7-player recruiting class signed by Memphis Head Coach Penny Hardaway.
Emerging as a key weapon for the Tigers after Wiseman’s early departure, Achiuwa averaged 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game to earn AAC Player of the Year honors.
- A tremendously gifted physical specimen, Achiuwa has good size at 6’9 with a chiseled 234-pound frame and a 7’1.5 wingspan to go along with elite agility and explosiveness for his size.
- Doing a bit of everything on the offensive end, Achiuwa made his best contributions applying his physical tools in transition and on the offensive glass. An excellent lob threat who can produce miscellaneous points in bunches when he’s dialed in, he also spent some time creating off the dribble, sliding out to the perimeter to space the floor, and moving the ball though his skill level is still a work in progress.
- The anchor of arguably the top defensive team in college basketball, Achiuwa’s ability to switch onto guards, protect the rim, and finish possessions on the glass shined this season. Becoming a more disciplined defender in his only season at the college level, his potential as a stopper in the NBA is apparent.
- With all the tools to be an elite defender, Achiuwa made some strides this season as the anchor of arguably the most athletic defense in college basketball. Possessing the quickness to slide with guards, the explosiveness to block shots emphatically, and the strength to play some center, his versatility is intriguing but his consistency stood out this season as Memphis’s defense kept them competitive in all but one game all year.
- Rebounding the ball and using his physicality more aggressively on the defensive end as the year went on, Achiuwa figured some things out in his single collegiate season. Allowing just 0.61 points per one-on-one possession [76th percentile], he is already a very capable individual defender, but there is plenty of room for optimism about his continued development as a stopper.
- 2019-20 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year andFreshman of the Year.
- Ranked 13th in the nation and led the AAC in rebounding average.
- Selected 2019-20 All-AAC First Team and All-Freshman Team.
- Only freshman in the nation to average a double-double (15.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg) among qualified players.
- Ranked third in the AAC in blocks (1.87 bpg).
- First Tigers freshman to earn conference Player of the Year honors since 1981-82 (Keith Lee).
- Third player in school history to win both conference Playerand Newcomer of the Year in a season, joining Lee and PennyHardaway (1991-92).
- Led all freshmen nationally with 18 double-doubles, good for seventh among all players.
- Led the East team with 22 points and nine rebounds in the 2019McDonald’s All-American Game.
- Notched 15 points and 11 rebounds for Team World in the 2019 Nike Hoop Summit.
- Elite physical profile; long, explosive and light on his feet.
- Solid ball handler for his size.
- Shows potential as a shooter.
- Grew up playing soccer. Switched his focus to basketball in eighth grade when he moved from Nigeria to the United States.
- Older brother God’sgift Achiuwa played basketball at St. John’s University (2011-14).
- His mother, Eunice, and father, Donatus, are both Pentecostal ministers.
“He might be the best I’ve ever coached. And I had [NBA first-round picks Jay Williams, Tyler Ennis and Andrew Bynum]. … His tools are different. He’s 6 foot-9, his hands are big, he’s athletic, touches almost the top of the backboard. He blocks shots, he runs the floor, he dunks, he can shoot the three. He just has so many different things he can do that he can dominate in different areas of the game, which is rare.”
-St. Benedict’s (N.J.) Prep coach Mark Taylor