The Sacramento Kings may have an Olympian.
Although Harrison Barnes was denied his chance to become a two-time Olympian for Team USA, Chimezie Metu will likely be representing the Kings. Metu made the 15-man roster for Team Nigeria, which was announced Tuesday.
The 15-man roster pic.twitter.com/4H95yiGGLb— D’Tigers | Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) July 6, 2021
The official roster will have to be trimmed to 12 players, but Metu has a good chance of making that final cut, considering his NBA pedigree. He is one of eight players in this group who currently plays in the NBA, along with Miami’s Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, and Gabe Vincent; Milwaukee’s Jordan Nwora; Detroit’s Jahlil Okafor; Minnesota’s Josh Okogie; and Utah’s Miye Oni. That doesn’t include Ekpe Udoh, who had a seven-year career in the league.
Metu was previously on the Nigerian team in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. He played in all three group games, averaging 11 points and six rebounds per game off the bench, but the D’Tigers didn’t make it to the knockout rounds.
They have higher hopes for this year’s Olympic games, now with more NBA talent and an NBA head coach in Mike Brown. They’re in Group B along with Australia, Germany, and Italy, all of whom are good teams, but not exactly powerhouses, giving Nigeria a decent chance of advancing past the group stage.
The team’s weakness appears to be its guard play, which isn’t an area Metu can really help in. Metu’s ability to toggle between the 4 and 5 should come in handy, though, given the glut of bigs on the roster.
Metu had the best season of his professional career on the Kings this past year. It would be pretty cool to watch him continue his glow-up on the Olympics stage.