Madina Okot: Kenya’s basketball sensation secures dream move to top US team

Madina Okot: Kenya’s basketball sensation secures dream move to top US team

Joel Omotto 17:50 - 17.04.2024

Kenya’s basketball rising star Madina Okot’s dream of playing pro in America is well on course after she was snapped up by a top US side ahead of the 2024-25 campaign.

Kenya basketball sensation Madina Okot’s dream of playing professional basketball in the United States has received a major boost following her signing by the Mississippi State women's basketball team.

The 19-year-old has caught the eye for her stellar performances in Kenya and Africa and will now be showcasing her skills in the US where she will start her college career in Starkville, Mississippi from the 2024-25 season.

It is a great career move for Okot which comes after she guided KPA to a second-place finish in the Africa Women’s Basketball League last year, where she made the team of the tournament, having started 2023 by featuring in one of the grandest basketball stages, the inaugural women's Nike Hoop Summit, the only African player to make the World Select Women's Team roster.

It is the Nike Hoop Summit that thrust her into the spotlight, catching the eye of Mississippi State women's basketball head coach Sam Purcell who has now added her to his team’s roster as a freshman this year.

“I’m very excited to play for an incredible fanbase, staff and program at Mississippi State,” Okot said in a statement released by the side.

“I know the fans will embrace my hustle and effort on both ends of the floor. Coach Purcell and his staff have a reputation of developing talent to reach the professional level and I have no doubt that they will help me achieve all of my goals. I can’t wait to get to work with my teammates and coaches.”

After signing Rocio Jimenez out of the Dominican and Florida High School basketball last year and getting her on campus a year early this year, Purcell is going to add more international in Okot, who stands 6’6, and has some special athleticism for her size.

It has been an incredible journey for Okot who started out as a volleyball player at Bishop Sulumeti High School before being turned into a basketballer at Kaya Tiwi.

She would sign for KPA, a club she led to the 2022 Kenya Basketball Federation league title, the year she went for her maiden national team assignment in the 3x3 version of the sport.

"They had to teach me from scratch, from dribbling to the rules of the game and everything in between," Okot told FIBA last year. "It was difficult at first but I loved scoring as that was the easiest part for me thanks to my height."

The 2022 Sports Personality of the Year (SOYA) most promising player was also part of the Kenya Under-23 side that qualified for the 3×3 World Championships in Romania for the first time and coach Purcell admits he now has a rough diamond at his disposal which will not take long before it shines on a grand stage.

“Madina Okot is the definition of a diamond in the rough. Through her international experience with the Kenyan National Team, FIBA 3X3 and Nike Hoops Summit World Team, we were able to evaluate her as a top prospect with a bright future,” Purcell said, as per Maroon and White Daily.

“At 6’6, she immediately impacts our team with her size, athleticism and unique skill set. I can’t wait to get her on campus and on the court for our fans to embrace her.”

Okot has previously expressed her desire to play in the Women’s NBA and the move to Mississippi is a major step towards achieving that dream.

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