A Kenyan teenager enlisted in the women’s NBA: the standard
Kenyan basketball forward Olivia Nelson-Ododa has been drafted to the Los Angeles Sparks squad for the 2022 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Olivia, daughter of renowned former Kenya Morans player Sebastian Ododa, was chosen 19th overall in the second round of the WNBA Draft on Monday by the LA Sparks.
The 20-year-old forward was congratulated by Sparks general manager and head coach Derek Fisher after her selection.
“Olivia Nelson-Ododa has contributed at both ends of the floor for a UConn program that has gone to four consecutive Final Fours during her tenure,” Fisher said.
“We’re excited to see how his size, length, rebounds and passing ability can translate to the next level.”
Olivia is already following in the footsteps of her father, Sebastian Ododa, who represented Kenya at the 1987 All Africa Games in Nairobi.
The 6-foot-5 forward/center averaged 9.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists for UConn last season.
She led the Huskies with a 59.5% shooting clip from the field and was a first-team All-Big East selection in 2022. She also averaged 1.7 blocks per game in 2021-22 .
Olivia, who turns 22 on Aug. 17, was named Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2020-21 and will look to establish herself in the WNBA with her prowess at that end of the field.
She played basketball for Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia, where she was named Athens Banner-Herald Co-Player of the Year after averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game.
She was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game during her senior year of high school and was also named Miss Georgia Basketball.
At the FIBA U17 World Championship in 2016, she won bronze with USA and went on to claim gold in 2018 at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship.