Najera Honored at NCAA Celebration of Champions

Ben Coldagelli
By Ben Coldagelli
Director of Communications

NORMAN – As part of the 2018 Final Four festivities, the NCAA's office of inclusion honored former University of Oklahoma men's basketball student-athlete Eduardo Najera at its annual Celebration of Champions event on Thursday night in San Antonio, Texas.

The program honors former NCAA student-athletes, coaches and administrators for their positive impact on inclusiveness in intercollegiate athletics and the community.

After a standout four-year career at Oklahoma, Najera became the first Mexican-born player to be drafted into the NBA. Among many other athletic and community-related accolades, he continues to invest in the future of Latino students through the Eduardo Najera Foundation for Latino Achievement.

Scoring 1,646 career points in a Sooner uniform, Najera ranks 10th on Oklahoma's all-time scoring list. He also ranks fifth in career steals (193) and sixth in career rebounds (910). He is one of only four players in Oklahoma history to produce over 1,600 points and 900 rebounds in a career.

During his senior season (1990-00), Najera earned first-team All-Big 12 and third-team All-America honors after averaging 18.4 points (second in the Big 12) and 9.2 rebounds (also second in the Big 12). The Basketball Hall of Fame named him that season’s Chip Hilton National Player of the Year for excellence on and off the court.

Following his career as a Sooner, Najera was selected 39th overall by the Houston Rockets in 2000 NBA Draft and promptly traded to Dallas Mavericks. He went on to boast an 11-year NBA career, also playing for Golden State, Denver, New Jersey and Charlotte.

Najera has continued his professional hoops career on the sideline and front office. After retiring from playing in 2012, he spent three seasons as the head coach of the NBA D-League's Texas Legends, the minor league affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. He currently works as a scout for the Mavericks.

Najera was recognized along with Rod Page, the first African American head coach of any sport at the University of Texas. Honorees from recent Celebration of Champions events include head coaches Nolan Richardson and Tubby Smith, former owner of the Harlem Globetrotters Mannie Jackson and the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship team.