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Summer Hoops: Louisville’s Okorafor Impresses

He probably has a lot of work to do still, but Kenny Payne has to be pretty happy about Okorafor’s progress

Syndication: Beaver County Times
 Pittsburgh Panthers Nate Santos (5) gets his layup blocked by Louisville Cardinals Emmanuel Okorafor (34) during the second half on February 7, 2023 at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Michael Longo/For USA Today Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kentucky has been competing as Team USA in GLOBL Jam 2023 and on Friday, they took on Team Africa. Freshman Reed Shepard and DJ Wagner have both looked really good in Toronto and UK, in general, looks like it may pull out of the downward spiral it has been in for the last few years.

But Kentucky isn’t what interests us here. So what does? Simple: Emmanuel Okorafor.

When the 6-10 Nigerian enrolled at Louisville in January, no one really knew anything about him, outside of some limited circles. He did play for the NBA Academy Africa and had a lot of experience against much older players before coming to the Cardinals at the age of 18.

So how did he do in this summer matchup against the Wildcats?

Not bad.

In 21 minutes, he shot 6-6, hit 4-6 from the free throw line, racking up 16 points. He also grabbed five rebounds and blocked a shot.

His experience is still a limitation but performances like this make you think he could end up being a pretty solid ACC player. Louisville put together a really solid recruiting class too, so last year’s nightmare is probably not going to happen again. If he can build on this and be a solid post presence, well, that’s great news for Louisville - and the ACC.