Ademola Okulaja Dies at 46
Former German National Team Player Ademola Okulaja has died. He was only 46 years old.
Okulaja had been dealing with cancer on and off since 2008. His cause of death has not been reported.
Ademola Okulaja was born in Nigeria and grew up in Germany. He played college basketball at the University of North Carolina from 1995 to ’99 as a forward. The Tar Heels appeared in two Final Fours in the ’97 and ’98 seasons during his tenure.
He was named First-Team All-ACC and UNC’s Most Valuable Player in his senior season. Additionally, he was the first player in Tar Heels basketball history to lead the team in scoring, rebounding, three-pointers made, and steals in one season. In the 1998–99 season, he averaged 13.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He also shot 44.2% from the field and 43.1% for three-pointers.
After his UNC career, Okulaja played for ten years in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia until 2009. He tried to join the NBA three separate times and had training-camp experiences with the 76ers, Spurs, and Jazz.
Ademola Okulaja played a significant role on the German national basketball team, helping it to four European Championships in 1995, ’97, ’99 and 2001. The forward won bronze medals with the German national team at the ’02 and ’06 FIBA World Basketball Championships.