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Former UNC basketball forward Ademola Okulaja dies at age 46

Former UNC basketball forward Ademola Okulaja dies at age 46

UNC ‘s Ademola Okulaja (13) and Terrence Newby rejoice pursuing UNC’s 1998 ACC Event championship gain in excess of Duke.

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Previous North Carolina men’s basketball player Ademola Okulaja has died at age 46, the university verified on Tuesday.

Okulaja played from 1995-99 in the similar recruiting class that involved Vince Carter and Antwan Jamison. They would progress to two Remaining Fours which include for the duration of famous coach Dean Smith’s last time and the 1st two of coach Invoice Guthridge’s tenure.

Shammond Williams, Okulaja’s teammate for three seasons at UNC, identified as him an “outstanding individual” who was incredibly faithful.

“If he was with you, he was with you, he did not fluctuate from that,” claimed Williams, who currently serves as an assistant mentor for Old Dominion’s women’s basketball staff. “He was just an fantastic man or woman. He’s a person that you want to go to war with, just a selfless specific who sacrificed his activity for the larger very good of the group.”

The 6-foot-9 ahead was born in Nigeria, but his loved ones moved to West Berlin, Germany when he was however a toddler. It was in Germany where by former guard Henrik Rodl, who performed on UNC’s 1993 nationwide title team, observed Okulaja enjoy and prompt to Smith and Guthridge that he may be a excellent suit.

He was a 1,000-place scorer in his occupation with the Tar Heels. His best season statistically arrived as a senior when he averaged 13.9 details and 8.4 rebounds. It attained him initially workforce All-ACC honors and he was named the Most Worthwhile Participant as voted on by the workforce.

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NCSU-UNC7.SP.030698.CCS. –(L-R)Shammond Williams, Ademola Okulaja, Vince Cater, Mahktar Ndiaye, and Atawn Jamison rejoice their victory about NC Point out through the Quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday Chris Seward Information & Observer file photograph

Okulaja played skillfully in Europe and would also signify Germany in two FIBA World Cup tournaments. In 2002, playing along with Dirk Nowitzki, Okulaja assisted Germany get a bronze medal in Indianapolis.

He didn’t get the probability to star with Germany when it qualified for the 2008 Olympics. Medical doctors uncovered a cancerous tumor in his backbone that 12 months and it precipitated the stop of his basketball profession.

It is what designed Okulaja pivot toward his existence following basketball. He gained a master’s degree in sports marketing though battling cancer. With it in remission, he turn out to be a sports agent and experienced Dennis Schroder, who at present plays for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, among the his clientele.

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UNC’s Ademola Okulaja pushes the ball up the flooring on a rapid crack in the course of motion versus NC Point out in the Smith Heart in 1999. Scott Sharpe [email protected]

This story was initially posted Could 17, 2022 2:59 PM.

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C.L. Brown addresses the University of North Carolina for The News & Observer. Brown provides extra than two a long time of reporting knowledge like stints as the beat author on Indiana University and the University of Louisville. Just after a very long stay at the Louisville Courier-Journal, wherever he attained an APSE award, he’s had stops at ESPN.com, The Athletic and even tried his hand at functioning his own web page, clbrownhoops.com.