By Desmond Anuku
With his new season about to tip off with the powerhouse Royal Crown Academic School program, Ottawa-raised Godson Okokoh is getting ready to write the next chapter in his family’s ever-growing story of basketball greatness.
The last chapter in the 6′ 6″ forward’s tale was golden while wearing the Team Ontario trillium this summer, and in the previous segment, the 15-year-old showed he can make an impact while sporting the maple leaf for Team Canada.
Okokoh’s basketball journey began in Ottawa, having most recently showcased his talent for Ottawa Elite before he was recruited for the Royal Crown private school in Scarborough.
“I felt like playing in Ottawa kind of moulded me into the player I am now. It helped my game a lot – mentally and physically,” reflects Okokoh, whose current school won the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association championship last season (though he wasn’t part of that roster while still playing for the junior team).
The youngest member of Team Canada had his best performance in his side’s biggest game at June’s FIBA Americas U16 Men’s Championship in Mexico. Playing against the tournament hosts in the quarter-finals, Okokoh scored 13 points to help propel Canada to an 89-63 victory and a berth in the 2024 FIBA U17 Men’s World Cup, to be played next June 29-July 7 in Turkey.
He averaged 18.4 minutes, 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds over the course of the tournament as Canada won five straight games to reach the final before settling for silver behind USA, which has won the competition eight times in a row.
“That was a good life experience. I felt like that just helped me overall,” signals Okokoh, noting teamwork and determination were the big keys to Canada’s success as they faced tougher and tougher opponents along the way.
Okokoh then jumped one spot higher on the podium back on the national stage as he and Team Ontario were dominant en route to winning gold at the July 31-Aug. 5 Canadian 15U boys’ basketball championships in Sherbrooke. Quebec’s 77-59 defeat in the final was as close as anyone would come to contending with Ontario.
Okokoh’s sister Rachael enjoyed a double-podium performance at the equivalent national and international women’s competitions. The 6′ 3″ 16-year-old earned bronze with Ontario at the 17U girls’ nationals in Calgary.
Playing right after the men’s tournament concluded in Mexico, the Canadian women offered an encore performance at their FIBA Americas U16 Women’s Championship, winning a matching five games to reach the final before taking silver behind USA. Rachael averaged 8.1 minutes of floor time and scored 10 points during the tournament.
“I’m proud that they represented Canada at the same time. That’s a huge thing,” notes their father, highlighting the hard work that both have put in to develop into standout players.
After previously attending Royal Crown, Rachael has come back home this season to join Capital Courts Academy. She’ll be coached there by Fabienne Blizzard, who also led Canada at the FIBA Americas tournament.
Rachael will make her Capital Courts debut at the OSBA’s pre-season showcase Sept. 29-30 in Markham, while Godson’s Royal Crown squad will take to the court for the start of their National Junior Circuit season Oct. 13-15 in Oshawa.
When asked about his future aspirations, Godson didn’t hold back, making clear what the end target is.
“I see myself going pro,” he indicates. “I’m trying to make it to the ultimate goal, which is the NBA.”
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