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Oklahoma City Thunder: Meet Oklahoma's other Ibaka

Serge Ibaka isn't the only Ibaka carving out a basketball future. His brother Igor Ibaka, a 6-foot-8 power forward, stars at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami.
by Anthony Slater Published: November 30, 2013
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photo - Serge Ibaka's brother Igor Ibaka. PHOTO BY ADAM KEMP, THE OKLAHOMAN
Serge Ibaka's brother Igor Ibaka. PHOTO BY ADAM KEMP, THE OKLAHOMAN

He's tall, strong and fluid for his size.

He's from the Congo, once lived in Spain, currently plays basketball in Oklahoma and has the last name Ibaka.

Sound familiar?

Well, he's probably not.

Meet Igor Ibaka, the 6-foot-8 power forward currently starring at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami.  

Around these parts, his brother Serge is a headliner, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder. But in the northeast sector of the state, Igor, also averaging nearly a double-double, has begun to carve out a basketball name for himself.

“We get calls now,” NEO coach Dustin Grover said, noting interest from some Mountain West and Southland Conference teams. “People who are seeing him like him.”

Long-term, Igor, in his first year at the junior college level, doesn't project to be nearly the interior NBA force his brother has become. He's a bit less athletic, a couple inches shorter and much less polished than Serge was at the same age (21).

But much like Serge, Igor is using basketball as an avenue to better opportunities. And in a strange coincidence, with each route independent of the other, the siblings are doing it in the same American state, halfway across the world from where they were born and raised.

“It's crazy,” Igor said.

“It's great,” Serge added.

Serge's route to Oklahoma is simple. He was drafted by the NBA franchise that resides in OKC.

Igor's is a bit more complicated.

Last January, NEO brought in Uter Moukimou from a North Carolina prep school. On arrival, the Congo native asked Grover if he'd be interested in another post player, a friend he knew from back home.

“He asked if I knew Serge Ibaka,” Grover said. “And I'm like, ‘… Yeah' ”

 Moukimou got Igor in contact with the NEO staff and, months later, the international paperwork was being hashed out.

Igor arrived at NEO in August and has immediately turned into “one of the best big men in our conference, if not this area,” according to Grover.

But off the court, the first few months have been a tougher adjustment, as is typical for international players.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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