Basketball

How ex-UC Davis star Chima Moneke landed his first pro basketball contract

Chima Moneke shoots a free throw during a game at Golden 1 Center on Nov. 21, 2016. Moneke, who was not picked in last month's NBA draft, will play professional basketball in France.
Chima Moneke shoots a free throw during a game at Golden 1 Center on Nov. 21, 2016. Moneke, who was not picked in last month's NBA draft, will play professional basketball in France. Sacramento Bee file

Chima Moneke's collegiate basketball career came to an abrupt end. That's not stopping him from shooting for the next level.

Moneke declared for the NBA draft in May, but didn't hear his name called on June 21. While he didn't get a chance to play in the top league here, the Australia native has announced he is going pro.

The former Aggies power forward has signed with Rouen Métropole Basketball of France. He tweeted the news Thursday, saying that he's "blessed" to sign his first professional contract.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">1st Pro Contract ‼️ <br>BLESSED. <a href="https://t.co/fD2aSIQcdw">pic.twitter.com/fD2aSIQcdw</a></p>&mdash; Chima Moneke (@Chimdogg_) <a href="https://twitter.com/Chimdogg_/status/1015035201901117440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 6, 2018</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

According to Ellie Lieberman of Mid-Major Madness, Moneke's new team plays in the second-division LNB Pro B and is partly owned by Ian Mahinmi, a reserve center for the Washington Wizards.

Moneke experienced highs and lows during his basketball career at UC Davis.

He's considered undersized for a power forward at 6-foot-6 and 223 pounds. However, his play was big, earning him Big West Newcomer of the Year and first-team all-conference honors while leading the Aggies to their first NCAA Tournament bid in 2016-17. UC Davis won a play-in game over North Carolina A&T before losing to top-seeded Kansas.

However, the senior saw his collegiate career end early this past season, when he was suspended indefinitely Feb. 3 for “violating team rules that govern conduct at the team’s hotel.” Moneke was never reinstated, and UC Davis' season ended with a first-round loss to Utah in the NIT.

UC Davis declined to release details about the status of Moneke's investigation when asked by The Bee.

"Privacy laws prevent us from disclosing information about students, including the outcome of any investigation related to students," said Eric Bankston, UC Davis' interim director of athletics communications, in an email relating a message from the university's Campus Counsel.

Moneke's first pro season is set to begin in October.

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