As the seconds wound down in the fourth quarter of the 2018 Minnesota State High School Championship, there was one final chance, or rather, final shot to bring home the win to Cretin-Derham Hall. Senior, at the time, Daniel Oturu would make a dunk that would bring it home.
Now, more than two years later, Oturu is projected to go within the first round of this year’sNBA draft, after playing two seasons of Division One basketball at the University of Minnesota. Oturu remains humble amidst his success through the help of his family.
“Knowing that the time is coming, but that there is still a lot of work to be done, I’m just continuing to take each day, day by day, and continuing to work,” Oturu said. His family’s advice has aided Oturu in remaining calm about the draft process, “Continuing to keep my faith in God and continuing to keep my head level and being able to work everyday are the kinds of things that have been reiterated.”
The 6’10 center will be up against stiff competition in the draft but has had promising numbers through his college career. Through his sophomore season, Oturu averaged 20.1 points, as opposed to his 10.8 average his freshman year. Oturu hoped these skills would get noticed while he was at the combine. He has been working out and perfecting his game in Santa Barbara, California, for the past four months in preparation for November 18. In addition to to being a skilled NBA player, Daniel hopes to use his platform for awareness of social justice issues, similar to what NBA fans saw throughout the 2019-2020 bubble season.
“I would focus on social injustice for sure. I think that you see the state of our country is a divide between blacks, whites, and different types of minority groups. I think that it’s super important to talk about that freely and come together as one race, one human race, to see each other for who we really are,” Oturu said.
The draft is quickly approaching and Oturu is more than ready to work hard and win fans over, but most importantly, he agreed to introduce me to my own hero, Donovan Mitchell.