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2020 NBA Draft Preview: Daniel Oturu 6’10 240 C- Minnesota

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Oturu projects best defensively as  a weak-side rim protector.  The Minnesota sophomore has the basketball IQ to know when to shade over from the weak-side to protect the rim (1st half, Arkansas State ’18). Oturu averaged 1.3 blocks per game in his freshman season and 2.5 blocks in his sophomore campaign. Offensively, he possesses a bag of moves that belies his age. The drop step over the right shoulder is his signature move (1st half, North Carolina A&T ’18). He also has a rip through move that he will use at the top of the key and a baseline spin that he can use at either side of the basket. Scouts will be intrigued by his raw shooting talent (37% from the three-point line). 

Weaknesses: Oturu struggled finding teammates out of the post and cashing in on assists (0.8 assists per game through his career). Worth noting, he wasn’t surrounded by sharpshooters. When forced to play against shorter, sturdier based opponents, Oturu has the tendency to lose his balance and shoot off-kilter (vs. Xavier Tillman, Michigan State ’19, 2nd Half). Scouts would like to see Oturu play more vertical and use his height rather than reach down and get into foul trouble. Can the Golden Gopher sophomore play against non-traditional centers like Nikola Jokic and Al Horford in space defensively?

Other Notes:

  • Attended Cretin-Derham Hall HS (Minn.) and helped the team win the Class 4A state championship during his senior season with a game- winning dunk against Apple Valley HS , which was led by fellow 2020 NBA Draft prospect, Tre Jones (Duke)
  • Was a consensus four-star prospect coming out of high school and received scholarship offers from Kansas and Baylor
  • Father,  Francis, who stands 5’5″, played table tennis for the Nigerian national team and moved the family to the United States to pursue his career in the sport
  • 2018-2019 (31 sts): 10.8 PPG, 7 RPG, 0.5 APG, 55% FG, 50% 3-PT, 61% FT
  • 2019-2020 (31 sts): 20.1 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.1 AST, 56% FG, 36% FG3, 70% FT
  • Career Stats: 15.2 PPG, 9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 55% FG, 37% 3-PT, 67% FT

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Oturu was overshadowed in the Big Ten by National Player of the Year candidate, Luka Garza from Iowa. Oturu’s drop step will remind Minnesota fans of former Golden Gopher, Kevin McHale. However, his lack of ability to pass from the post and play defense with his feet rather than his hands will concern scouts. His body frame is reminiscent of former NBA journeyman Nazr Mohammed, but Oturu possesses a more polished offensive game and has more “spring” off the floor. The sophomore big man will flourish in a system where he is surrounded by shooters and can use his myriad of moves on the low block and the pinch post. Look for Oturu to be selected in the Top 15 range of this year’s draft.