Bobcats sign Okafor
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Okafor, who was chosen with the second overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, became the first player ever selected by the expansion Bobcats. "We are happy to have Emeka signed to a contract and ready to play basketball," general manager and head coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "He is a fine young man and we are proud to have him represent our franchise and our country, both on and off the court." Charlotte, which was originally slated to pick fourth, moved up to second in the NBA Draft after trading the fourth and 33rd selections to the Los Angeles Clippers and agreeing to take Predrag Drobnjak in the expansion draft. Okafor, a 6-11 center, led the University of Connecticut to the NCAA Championship in April and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four after scoring 24 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in the national championship game against Georgia Tech. A First Team All-America selection, Okafor led the nation in blocked shots with 4.1 per game and averaged 17.6 points and 11.5 rebounds (fourth in the country) this past season. He was also named the co-National Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as well as the National Defensive Player of the Year. In three seasons at UConn, Okafor guided his club to an overall record of 83-23. He led the Huskies to the 2004 NCAA Championship, the 2003 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and 2002 NCAA Elite Eight, while also winning two Big East Conference regular season titles or co-championships (2002 and 2003) and two Big East Tournament championships (2002 and 2003). Okafor was recently named as a member of the U.S. basketball team that will compete in the upcoming Olympics in Athens, Greece.