Ariel Hukporti



NBA Draft Projection:


Ariel Hukporti




Apr 12, 2002







Ariel Hukporti entered the NBL24 season as the only known quantity in this class of Next Stars, but he's put his severe Achilles injury behind him to explode onto the scene this season.

The German-Togolese centre utilised his time on the sidelines last season to become the physically strongest player on Melbourne's roster, and he's formed an intimidating partnership at the center position with former MVP candidate Jo Lual-Acuil Jr.

Head coach Dean Vickerman has already said Hukporti's name should be in the early conversations for the league's Best Defensive Player, and his rim protection and sheer athletic ability have seen him shoot up draft boards early in the season

Hukporti said: "I think the Next Stars program is great, because not a lot of young people get that chance, worldwide, to play pro. It’s given us the possibility and opportunity to play professionally from a young age."

Photos: Getty Images


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In the News

What the Experts Say

"Ariel has unfinished business. We are super excited to see him back out on the court and I’m sure he’s going to remind us all very quickly why he’s so highly regarded … the way he conducted himself throughout his rehabilitation – staying in Melbourne to encourage and support his teammates through the season – was exemplary and speaks to the kind of person he is."

Jeremy Loeliger
NBL Commissioner

"Ariel is a special talent and we're all excited to see him on the floor for United again next season.  He showed that he can be an elite player of the defensive end of the floor, and we're confident he'll be able to do the same in NBL24."

Dean Vickerman
Melbourne United coach

"Towards the back end of his first year at Melbourne United, he was becoming quite the weapon and something you had to plan around – his ability to catch the ball, finish above the rim, his shot-blocking ability, his robust athleticism, and he’s starting to develop – it may not be the prettiest jump shot – but a little seven-footer that, whilst it may not pass the eye test, you find yourself pulling out of the net."

Andrew Gaze
NBL legend

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