motivational spotlight of the week: OG Anunoby
CONTRIBUTOR: KENT SHEN, XCLEVATION
Welcome to our motivational spotlight of the week feature, where each week, we will look at one professional athlete that has overcome a big injury and continued to perform at the highest level. We hope that these stories will help inspire you in your own recoveries to come back stronger than ever!
Our feature this week will be on a young up and comer with a ton of potential who not too long ago had a ton of question marks due to an ACL tear in college, the Toronto Raptors’ OG Anunoby.
BEFORE THE INJURY
For most basketball players, getting selected at #23 overall in the first round of the NBA draft would be a dream come true but for OG Anunoby, it was not where he expected to be at all when he began his 2016 NCAA season at Indiana.
With a skill-set seemingly designed in a lab that’s perfect for the modern NBA, Anunoby began the year flashing the potential to be a potent 3-and-D weapon, an athletic 2-way wing that all 30 teams would love to have in today’s game, and he was being hyped up accordingly as an early lottery pick in the coming draft.
On January 18, 2017, just 5 months before the draft where he was destined to go early in, Anunoby tore his ACL during Indiana’s game against Penn State.
The timing for the injury could not have been more brutal, as it not only put a huge question mark on Anunoby’s draft stock and career prospects, but it also derailed a season in which his team started the season expected to make a deep tournament run, causing them to sit out March Madness altogether.
As he worked hard to rehab from the injury, and despite the hit his draft position took, OG still decided to enter the 2017 draft, and the Toronto Raptors took a chance on the athletic wing with the 23rd pick, knowing that they had a shot at a player with top 5 talent.
The Raptors are certainly happy with their pick now, as OG Anunoby recovered from his injury very quickly and was able to be ready for the Raptors first game of the season against the Chicago Bulls on October 17th that same year.
It’s a testament to the hard work and determination that Anunoby put into his recovery, that he was able to come back just 9 months after the injury, as well as show a ton of promise all the way throughout his rookie season. Toronto took a huge risk on an amazing talent and player, and it looks like it’s paying off.