Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz has announced the signing of Chima Moneke on a two-year deal. Moneke (1.96 meters, 27 years old) joined AS Monaco halfway through last season and made his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut, averaging 3.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and a 4.6 PIR across 16 appearances, most of which were from the bench. The charismatic forward returns to Spain after having a breakout season with Manresa in the 2021-22 campaign, posting 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 36 Spanish League fixtures, in addition to 13.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 15 Basketball Champions League games. Baskonia will now be hoping to unleash this version of Moneke in next season's EuroLeague.
Chima Moneke heads back to Spain, joins Baskonia
Moneke shined at Buesa Arena last season
In what was comfortably Moneke's best performance in a Monaco jersey last season, the 27-year-old shared Round 28 MVP honors with Real Madrid's Gabriel Deck after a stellar performance against Baskonia at Buesa Arena. In 23:47 minutes on the floor, Moneke scored 14 points, he grabbed 13 rebounds, he dished 2 assists, he recorded 1 steal, he blocked 1 shot and didn't commit a single turnover, giving him a PIR of 26, which was comfortably his career high. In that game, he displayed all of his best characteristics as he came to the fore on a night in which Mike James, Monaco's leader, was absent. Should Moneke repeat that type of display at Buesa Arena on a regular basis next season, he will quickly become a fans' favorite.
Moneke's journey to Baskonia
The Nigeria international made his professional debut with French second division side Rouen Metropole Basket at the start of the 2018-19 season, but he ended up moving to Denain Voltaire Basket – also in the French second tier – in November 2018 and saw out the campaign there. The following summer, Moneke signed for another French second division team, UJAP Quimper 29, before he got his first break in the French top flight with Orleans in the 2020-21 season. Moneke handled the jump up to the first division with aplomb, posting 13.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.0 steals through 31 games.
Then came another season in which he put himself on the map, as he made himself known outside of France thanks to a great season with Manresa in 2021-22. That campaign caught the attention of NBA franchise the Sacramento Kings, which signed Moneke in the summer of 2022. Moneke played just two NBA games for Sacramento, though, instead spending the majority of his time with its G League team, the Stockton Kings. Then, with several EuroLeague offers on the table, Moneke joined Monaco in late January and played a role as the team reached its first-ever Final Four.