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African Players Shine at 2022 NBA Draft


Ochai Agbaji is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 14th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA draft.

Three African-born players were chosen in the 2022 NBA Draft with eight players overall with direct ties to the continent selected last night in New York.

Three African-born players were selected in the 2022 NBA Draft – Christian Koloko (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon), Khalifa Diop (Cleveland Cavaliers; Senegal) and Yannick Nzosa (Washington Wizards; Democratic Republic of the Congo) – with eight players overall with direct ties to the continent selected last night.

New Zealand Breakers forward Ousmane Dieng (France; ties to Senegal) was selected 11th overall by the New York Knicks, marking the seventh consecutive year a French player has been selected in the NBA Draft.

Ochai Agbaji (U.S.; ties to Nigeria) was selected 14th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Duke center Mark Williams (ties to Nigeria) was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 15th pick. Williams is the brother of WNBA veteran Elizabeth Williams, who also played for Duke and was the fourth pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft. Elizabeth was a WNBA All-Star in 2017.

Arizona center Christian Koloko of Cameroon was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 33rd pick, becoming the first Cameroonian player to be drafted since Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, who was selected 27th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. He is the third highest-drafted Cameroonian player of all time, behind Joel Embiid (third in 2014) and Siakam. Koloko participated in in the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa camp 2017 in Senegal and BWB Global 2018 in Los Angeles during NBA All-Star 2018.

Gran Canaria forward Khalifa Diop of Senegal was selected 39th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming the first Senegalese player to be drafted since Gorgui Dieng, who was selected 21st overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. Diop participated in BWB Global 2019 in Charlotte, N.C. during NBA All-Star 2019.

Michigan forward-center Moussa Diabate (France; ties to Guinea and Mali) was selected 43rd overall by the LA Clippers, becoming the 19th player from France to be drafted in the last 10 years. Diabate participated in BWB Global 2020 in Chicago as part of NBA All-Star 2020.

Paris Basket’s Ismael Kamagate (France; ties to Ivory Coast) was selected 46th overall by the Detroit Pistons.

Yannick Nzosa of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was selected 54th overall by the Washington Wizards. He is the sixth player from the Democratic Republic of the Congo selected, and the first since Jonathan Kuminga was selected 7th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.

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