O'Koren in December 2006
|No. 31, 25|
February 7, 1958 |
Jersey City, New Jersey
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||207 lb (94 kg)|
|High school||Hudson Catholic
(Jersey City, New Jersey)
|College||North Carolina (1976–1980)|
|NBA draft||1980 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall|
|Selected by the New Jersey Nets|
|1980–1986||New Jersey Nets|
|1987–1988||New Jersey Nets|
|1999–2003||New Jersey Nets (assistant)|
|2003–2009||Washington Wizards (assistant)|
|2009–2010||Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||3,355 (8.2 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,391 (3.4 rpg)|
|Assists||856 (2.1 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011)|
Michael F. "Mike" O'Koren (born February 7, 1958) is currently an assistant basketball coach at Rutgers University under Eddie Jordan. Also a retired American professional basketball player, a former associate head coach of the Washington Wizards from 2005 to 2008, and a former assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets from 1999 to 2003. He was selected by the New Jersey Nets in the first round (6th overall) of the 1980 NBA Draft. A 6'7" small forward from the University of North Carolina, O'Koren played in the NBA from 1980 to 1988, with the Nets and Washington Bullets. O'Koren went to Hudson Catholic Regional High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.
O'Koren honed his basketball skills on the asphalt schoolyards of Jersey City and played his high school ball under the tutelage of coach "Rocky" Pope. At Hudson Catholic, O'Koren was a teammate of Jim Spanarkel, who went on to play point guard at Duke, then in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Dallas Mavericks.
On a talent-laden 1977 UNC team as a freshman he averaged 13.9 points per game, scored 21 points against Duke in the ACC championship game and had 31 in the NCAA semi-finals against UNLV. As a sophomore his scoring rose to 17.8. He scored in double figures every game and was second nationally with a 64.3 field goal percentage.
In 1979, Carolina was picked to finish third or lower in all the 1979 ACC pre-season polls. But, Dudley Bradley, the nation's best defensive player, and Al Wood, one of the top shooters in the college game, each improved their play on the opposite ends of the court. With O'Koren already proven as a fine all-around player, the Tar Heels posted a 23-6 record, tied for first place in the league's regular-season race, swept the ACC Tournament and finished third nationally in the final coaches' poll.
O'Koren was at his best in the biggest games. He grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds, scored 17 points, handed out seven assists and had four steals in a 74-68 homecourt win over Duke. He also held Gene Banks scoreless in the second half of that game. He finished with 22 points and five assists in a double overtime win over Virginia. In the ACC Tournament finals against Duke he had 18 points and 11 rebounds. He scored Carolina's final 10 points that day in a 71-63 victory.
As of 2013, O'Koren is the only player in North Carolina history to have scored at least 1,500 points (1,765), 800 rebounds (815) and 300 assists (348). He also had 183 steals and a career field goal percentage of 57.2.
Professional playing career
In his NBA career, O'Koren played in 407 games and scored a total of 3,355 points. His best year as a professional came during the 1981–82 season as a member of the Nets, appearing in 80 games and averaging 11.4 ppg.
O'Koren was an assistant coach under Eddie Jordan for over a decade: first from 1999 to 2003 with the New Jersey Nets and 2003 to 2009 with the Washington Wizards. In the 2009–10 season, O'Koren was an associate head coach with the Philadelphia 76ers again under Jordan.
- D'Alessandro, Dave (March 25, 2011). "Jim Boylan, Mike O'Koren brought New Jersey flavor to NCAA Tournament in 1977". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
- "O'Koren, Langdon, Whittenburg highlight 2013 ACC Legends class". The Herald-Sun. Durham, North Carolina. January 31, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
- "Mike O'Koren". NBA. Retrieved March 23, 2013.