THE Baskonia made several additions and removals to its roster last summer, made many transfer moves, but the one that makes the difference and is the smart “bomb” in this year’s Euroleague it is none other than the acquisition of it Chima Moneke.
The 28-year-old center has been the big revelation of this year’s competition so far, his numbers have skyrocketed and he is clearly the most improved player of all 18 teams in the first few games.
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Moneke’s awesome season and impressive numbers
The Nigerian has found himself in the Basque country, he has “fitted in” perfectly in Dusko Ivanovic’s team and is properly fed, resulting in Baskonia’s first 6 games averaging 17.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 0.8 blocks and 1 assist, while he has a 21.6 rating system.
Moneke is having an “orgy” with the Basque jersey, despite the 2-4, he has 46% in the three-pointer, which for a center is an improbable number, while he is without a doubt the most influential player of Baskonia.
At the same time, he is the 4th scorer in the competition and in the evaluation system, while there are already “eyes” on him from the NBA. His best performance is undoubtedly the one against Zalgiris, where in 27 minutes he had 32 points and 9 rebounds.
Nigeria, Australia and ‘wandering’
The Nigerian international power forward/centre (he is 1.96) was born in Abuja, but his diplomat parents moved to Australia and Canberra, where Moneke started and finished school, while working at the Nigerian embassy. From there, from 2013 to 2015 he went to the college of Nebraska, while in 2017 he transferred to that of Davis in California.
After studying in the USA, Chima Moneke played for four French teams from 2018 to 2021. They are Rouen, Denain, Béliers and Orléans. From there he transferred to Manresa and Spain, where he reached the final of the Basketball Champions League. There they were defeated by Tenerife, but Moneke was incredible and scored 24 points, taking the MVP award despite… losing.
The excellent finale of the season he performed found him in the NBA and indeed with a four-year contract. Moneke was part of the Sacramento Kings and was even coached by Nigeria’s national coach, Mike Brown (and now Sasha Vezenkov). The “wandering” Nigerian had achieved his goal which was the NBA and with a tweet he said it all…
“From being ‘cut’ to the B-division of France after three matches in my rookie year, while they were earning €2,200 a month. And from there, I sign a 4-year contract in the NBA… Crazy,” Moneke wrote on his twitter account.
Leaving the Kings and Monaco
With the Kings he played in only two games in the NBA to continue in the G League with the Stockton Kings. His presence there did not satisfy him and he returned to Europe and France signing a contract in Monaco.
With Monaco last season he had a good year, averaging 3.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in the Euroleague, while in the French league he had 10 points and 4.1 rebounds in the regular season and 8.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in the play-offs.
This season he decided to leave and Baskonia took advantage of the opportunity and made him theirs. With this move, he added athleticism as well as rebounding ability to her roster, however Moneke is now also pivotal in scoring, since he is her top scorer and by far, in a move that changes his career and “launched” his numbers.