Okafor's 514 points included 77 first-place votes out of a possible 126, from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Gordon finished a close second with 443 points, while Orlando's Dwight Howard, a prep who entered the 2004 draft instead of instead of enrolling full time at North Carolina, finished third with 161 points.
Okafor is the first collegian to win this honor in three seasons. The rookie award went to prep first-year players in 2004 and 2003. LeBron James won the trophy last season while Amare Stoudamire was named the best rookie in 2003.
Okafor started every game for the Charlotte Bobcats this season. An early entrant in the 2004 NBA Draft following his junior season at UConn, Okafor was the second overall pick. Howard was no. 1. Okafor completed his bachelor degree in three years, earning his diploma in May 2004.
He led all rookies in scoring (15.1 ppg), rebounds (10.9 rpg) and minutes played (35.6 mpg), and ranked second in blocks (1.71 bpg). Okafor ranked fourth in the league in rebounding and third in offensive rebounding (3.8 rpg) while leading the Bobcats in scoring, rebounding, blocks and minutes this season.
Okafor, a three-time recipient of the got milk? Rookie of the Month award (November, December and April), ranked fourth in the NBA and first among rookies with 47 double-doubles (points-rebounds) and was only one of eight players in the league to average a double-double. He posted 19 consecutive double-doubles from November 21 to January 1, the longest streak by any NBA player this season. The last rookie to have more consecutive double-doubles than Okafor was 12-time NBA All-Star Elvin Hayes, who registered 60 straight during the 1968-69 season.
Okafor was a two-time All-American for the Huskies and led the squad to the 2004 NCAA Championship, earning recognition as the Most Outstanding Performer at the 2004 NCAA Final Four. He averaged 13.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.28 blocked shots per game in this three years. In his final and junior season with the Huskies, Okafor was named the 2003-04 NABC National Co-Player of the Year and was the Big East Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a junior. He finished his career as the all-time blocked shots leader (441) in UConn history, and the all-time leader in conference history in blocked shots per game.
2004-05 got milk? NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD VOTING RESULTS
|Emeka Okafor, Charlotte ||77 ||40 ||9 ||514
||Ben Gordon, Chicago ||43 ||73 ||9 ||443
||Dwight Howard, Orlando ||6 ||11 ||98 ||161
||Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia ||0 ||2 ||8 ||14
||Luol Deng, Chicago ||0 ||0 ||1 ||1
||J.R. Smith, New Orleans ||0 ||0 ||1 ||1
ALL-TIME got milk? NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
1952-53: Don Meineke, Fort Wayne 1953-54: Ray Felix, Baltimore 1954-55: Bob Pettit, Milwaukee 1955-56: Maurice Stokes, Rochester 1956-57: Tom Heinsohn, Boston 1957-58: Woody Sauldsberry, Philadelphia 1958-59: Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis 1959-60: Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 1960-61: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 1961-62: Walt Bellamy, Chicago 1962-63: Terry Dischinger, Chicago 1963-64: Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati 1964-65: Willis Reed, New York 1965-66: Rick Barry, San Francisco 1966-67: Dave Bing, Detroit 1967-68: Earl Monroe, Baltimore 1968-69: Wes Unseld, Baltimore 1969-70: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee 1970-71: Dave Cowens, Boston (tie) Geoff Petrie, Portland (tie) 1971-72: Sidney Wicks, Portland 1972-73: Bob McAdoo, Buffalo 1973-74: Ernie DiGregorio, Buffalo 1974-75: Keith Wilkes, Golden State 1975-76: Alvan Adams, Phoenix 1976-77: Adrian Dantley, Buffalo 1977-78: Walter Davis, Phoenix 1978-79: Phil Ford, Kansas City 1979-80: Larry Bird, Boston 1980-81: Darrell Griffith, Utah 1981-82: Buck Williams, New Jersey 1982-83: Terry Cummings, San Diego 1983-84: Ralph Sampson, Houston 1984-85: Michael Jordan, Chicago 1985-86: Patrick Ewing, New York 1986-87: Chuck Person, Indiana 1987-88: Mark Jackson, New York 1988-89: Mitch Richmond, Golden State 1989-90: David Robinson, San Antonio 1990-91: Derrick Coleman, New Jersey 1991-92: Larry Johnson, Charlotte 1992-93: Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando 1993-94: Chris Webber, Golden State 1994-95: Grant Hill, Detroit (tie) Jason Kidd, Dallas (tie) 1995-96: Damon Stoudamire, Toronto 1996-97: Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 1997-98: Tim Duncan, San Antonio 1998-99: Vince Carter, Toronto 1999-2000: Elton Brand, Chicago (tie) Steve Francis, Houston (tie) 2000-01: Mike Miller, Orlando 2001-02: Pau Gasol, Memphis 2002-03: Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix 2003-04: LeBron James, Cleveland 2004-05: Emeka Okafor, Charlotte