5 Things To Know About Precious Achiuwa
Photo Credit: Memphis Athletics
After going through an unconventional pre-draft process due to the coronavirus pandemic, the HEAT got their guy.
With the 20th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Miami selected Precious Achiuwa, a big, out of Memphis. Below are five things you need to know about the 21-year-old.
1. He Put Up Big Numbers
In his lone season at the University of Memphis under Penny Hardaway, Achiuwa simply balled out.
Seriously, he was the only freshman among the top ten conferences in the country to average a double-double with 15.8 points and a team-high 10.8 boards per contest to go along with 1.9 blocks, 1.1 steals and 1.0 assists in a team-high 31 games.
2. He Racked Up Numerous Accolades
Thanks to those numbers above, Achiuwa earned his fair share of awards.
In addition to being named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, he also was selected to the American Athletic Conference First Team and the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team.
3. He’s A Versatile Defender
Although Achiuwa can compete down low due to his strong 6-foot-9, 234-pound frame with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, he also has the ability to switch onto perimeter players and wreak havoc.
Over the course of the season, he allowed just 0.61 points per one-on-one possession (76th percentile among college players) per Synergy.
HEAT President Pat Riley thinks all of that makes him a perfect fit.
“I think he fits in perfectly with how we want to play,” Riley said. “He fits in perfectly with Spo’s system on defense, he can play four positions defensively, he gets out on the break.”
4. He’s Super Athletic
Much like most valuable bigs, Achiuwa has shown flashes of being a solid ballhandler and capable shooter. Of course, he can also run the floor, roll to the basket with force and crash the offensive glass for second-chance opportunities.
In fact, he averaged 1.20 points per shot around the rim in the half court (64th percentile among college players) per Synergy.
“There’s three things that stand out: his speed, he’s a coast-to-coast player that comes off the board with tremendous explosiveness to get down the court, he can go rim-to-rim with the ball, he’s a shot blocker, he’s quick,” Riley said. “I think what you see is a real incredible athlete here that’s young that has a great upside…I think he’s one of the most underrated players, and also, I think he’s probably maybe the most athletic player in the draft.”
5. He Grew Up Playing Soccer
Perhaps Achiuwa is so athletic because he grew up playing soccer in his native Nigeria.
Just check out the skills he said he gained from the sport.
“My foot speed, my quick-twitch muscles and my reaction time, just…being able to move really, really light on my feet, I think those skills and abilities came from me playing soccer,” the former Memphis standout said.
It wasn’t until eighth grade when Achiuwa moved to the U.S. that he got into basketball. After playing high school ball in New York and New Jersey, Achiuwa made a name for himself at Montverde Academy just outside Orlando.
Highlights Courtesy of Memphis Athletics