Jordan Nwora following Louisville basketball trend of big sophomore season

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 12: Jordan Nwora #33 of the Louisville Cardinals dunks the ball against the Lipscomb Bisons at KFC YUM! Center on December 12, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 12: Jordan Nwora #33 of the Louisville Cardinals dunks the ball against the Lipscomb Bisons at KFC YUM! Center on December 12, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

There’s not a more improved offensive player in the ACC than Louisville basketball’s Jordan Nwora. Could the sophomore soon begin popping up on NBA radars?

In the past five years or so, the Louisville basketball team has had a noticeable increase of underclassmen declaring for the draft.

They haven’t been the prototypical one-and-done McDonald’s All-American prospects that schools like Duke and Kentucky pump out, but rather a two-and-through model that has benefited players.

It’s the best of both worlds, these “two-and-through” players have the experience with one season of high level college basketball under their belt, but at the same time they are still very young which is one of the things the NBA raves about when drafting players in the first round.

Recently, there has been a noticeable trend of underclassman players at UofL making a noticeable jump from their freshman to sophomore years.

In 2014, freshman guard Terry Rozier averaged 7.0 points per game and 1.8 assists per game. The following season, Rozier made a leap as he grew into his role scoring double figures with 17.1 points per game and 3.0 assists per game.

This sophomore breakout propelled Rozier into a top-20 pick after being drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 16th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

The jump that people within the Louisville fanbase talk about the most is that of combo guard Donovan Mitchell.

In his freshman season, Mitchell was showing flashes of his alien-like athleticism and was only beginning to reveal his potential that would eventually land him in the lottery during the 2017 NBA Draft.

There are other guys that can be mentioned that had a two year college experience and blossomed before leaving, such as former Card Chinanu Onuaku. Although taken in the second round, the jump in production from freshman to sophomore year was noticeable.

For now, the guy that has appeared to have taken the label of “breakout year” and ran away with it is sophomore forward Jordan Nwora.

The former 73rd ranked prospect out of the 2017 class has increased his scoring from a serviceable 5.9 points a game in 2017, to averaging almost 20 a game at 18.1.

Not only has his scoring load increased but he has increased his rebounding as well.

In the 17 games played this season, Nwora has grabbed a total of 138 rebounds, more than doubling his total from a season ago with 62.

Against Boston College Wednesday night, Nwora dropped a career high 32 points in a win for the Cards.

In this game however, Nwora displayed something that had been a critique against his game throughout the majority of the season, defense.

If you were to look at the boxscore, you would not think that that was the case. He was credited for only one block and one steal, but it was his effort in communicating on defense that helped the cards on the defensive end of the floor (at least when the starters were in).

In addition, Nwora recorded 10 boards in the contest which has become a valuable part of his game and if you were to look at his numbers on a per 40 minute basis, he’s averaging a double-double with 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Nwora displayed the growth as a scorer that many thought he could be coming into the season.

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He was knocking down threes from everywhere behind the three point line, getting out in transition and finishing through contact on fast-breaks. He was active in attacking the basket in the half court.

There was one play in particular that stood out, where Nwora caught the ball on the wing behind the three point line as two Boston College defenders were closing in for a double team.

Rather than taking a contested three over two people, he swung the ball out to a wide-open Dwayne Sutton in the corner for a three.

It is plays like this where Nwora continues to grow and if he does so, Louisville can become a legit top 20 team.

Not only can this development benefit Louisville, but it could benefit his draft stock as well. does not currently have Nwora listed on their mock draft, but if Nwora continues to play and Improve his all around game, he could very well become the next Louisville Cardinal to be the surprise of the draft class after playing two years in college.

For Nwora, he has the physical tools to be a small forward or even a two guard at the next level.

Standing at 6-foot-8 his height gives him the ability to make shots even if there is a hand in his face.

He has a strong frame and even though he probably isn’t as quick of a wing player like Klay Thompson, but his build will give him the ability to finish through contact.

For Nwora, there are multiple reasons to either enter the draft or return for his junior year. Freshman still appear at the top of draft boards more often than not, but teams in the NBA are starting to realize that if they can contribute to their organization, they’ll sacrifice drafting solely on potential, just ask Malcom Brogdon.

Jordan Nwora’s 32 points leads Cards to victory over Boston College. dark. Next

The potential is there for Nwora and I think he could find his role easily at the next level whether it be after this season or next season.