It feels strange talking about the Class of 2021, probably because we just entered 2016. If you can look beyond that sticker shock moment, then take stock of young Bright Okongwu for a moment, because he looks like a pretty special player.
As reported by MaxPreps, Okongwu is currently a seventh grader at Calvary Christian in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. While he is still a very rough prospect, Okongwu is hard to miss; he’s 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, and he just turned 13 this fall. While his middle school stats haven’t been made public, and the video of his skills are still fairly scarce (you don’t see a lot of personal highlights in the Okongwu highlight reel above), Okongwu’s coach said he shoul dbe a major factor for Calvary Christian as soon as he becomes eligible to compete for his squad.
“He came over to the United States in July and it was just remarkable — 6-foot-10, 250 pounds at 12 years old,” Calvary Christian boys basketball coach Cilk McSweeney told MaxPreps. “The way he moves and runs the floor, his touch, it’s unteachable. I’m excited about the next six years.
“With his size at this young age, you look at Shaq and all these other guys that were his size. But the way he runs the floor and his hands, he’s probably going to be one of a kind if he keeps working.”
Intriguingly the most insightful videos of Okongwu come from his native Nigeria, where Bright filmed a pair of workout videos nearly a year ago. The highlight reels showcase Okongwu posting up an overmatched opponent, popping out to the perimeter and cutting inside for a dunk and showcasing general high-level athleticism, albeit without any kind of defense. One is even filmed and uploaded sideways. It’s almost tailor made for a cult classic rags to riches superstar origin story.
Will Okongwu be able to achieve similar success against top competition? That remains to be seen, though Okongwu is openly making it his goal to finish as the top player in America by the time he chooses a college in 2021. The good news is that he’s got five more years to get there.