OKC Thunder: Draft Prospect Zeke Nnaji exudes confidence in media session

As the OKC Thunder prepares for the 2020 NBA Draft several prospects held zoom media sessions with the media including Zeke Nnaji.

Sam Presti and his OKC Thunder front office team are preparing for the NBA draft where they will select 25th in the first round conveying the Nuggets pick they received in the trade for Jerami Grant.

As part of the preparation, draft prospects are meeting with teams either virtually or in-person. In addition, several individuals conducted zoom media interviews. Arizona alum Zeke Nnaji was among those who talked in the first scheduled zoom sessions. His interview can be watched in full on NBA.com.

Although teams will meet with prospects these media sessions offer valuable insight into each individual’s personality.  Fans can learn what teams they’ve met with (prospects don’t offer up precise lists but will affirm or deny regarding a specific club if asked).

Common media sessions questions probed fit on a specific club, what they’ve worked on during the pre-draft process, which players they watch/or NBA players they consider comparable, and how the long hiatus/unusual draft process has affected them.

Highlights from Zeke Nnaji zoom media session

Zeke Nnaji was the Pac 12 freshman of the year and is projected to be a first-round pick. The forward appeared in 32 games at Arizona averaging 16.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. He didn’t attempt many 3-pointers per game nor was he overly efficient from the perimeter.

What teams he’s interviewed with

The better question might be what teams the Wildcats big man hasn’t met with as he told the assembled media he’s spoken with 22 clubs. Reporters asked specifically about the Suns, Hornets, Knicks, and Raptors all of which he has spoken to.

During his pre-draft process, the 6’11” big man has Joe Abunassar working with him in Las Vegas at Impact Basketball. Abunassar has worked with other big men in the NBA such as DeMarcus Cousins and Kyle O’Quinn.

No doppelganger:

He doesn’t have a specific player he tries to emulate, rather he looks to add specific aspects of various players’ strengths to his game.

Nor does he pinpoint a favorite star, however, he spoke of fellow Wildcats alum Andre Iguodala who has spoken to the youngster offering tips and suggestions for his transition from college to the pros.

Nnaji frequently referred to the changes in the current era of the Association with regards to a player at his position. It explains his laser focus on shooting since the NCAA season was stopped due to the pandemic.

Zeke notes he’s gained weight (now 245) and expects to be a part of all the testing and drills.

What he can bring to his drafting team:

Nnaji calls himself a cultural person, very coachable, and a competitor. He notes working hard every day and being a tenacious rebounder on both ends of the hardwood. While many prospects listed just a few things Nnaji displayed his confidence as he continued to provide a lengthy list of assets.

To wit, the Hopkins, Minnesota native cites his offensive versatility with pick and pop or pick and roll adeptness but also noted because of his speed, mobility, and length it affords him mismatches he can take advantage of.

He credited these same attributes as reasons he can switch to guard pick and roll and move quickly enough to defend guards or bigs.

What he’s worked on during the pre-draft process:

Aside from lifting to gain strength and muscle another area he focused on was lateral quickness But, his greatest emphasis was placed on shooting (both from mid-range and deep). The big man says teams will be pleasantly surprised by how well he is shooting the ball.