The Head Coach of D’Tigers, Mike Brown, has released his final 12-man list for the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket which begins in Kigali, Rwanda next week.
In a statement, the Media Officer of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, NBBF, Afolabi Oni, explained that the list does not have Nigerians playing in the National Basketball Association, NBA.
According to him, this was because NBA League rules do not permit players to participate in competitions 60 days before the league’s resumption.
“This has made the coach try other players by extending his invitation to players in Europe, the minor leagues in the U.S and the Nigerian league,” he said.
Mr Oni listed the players who made the final cut after days of preparations in the U.S to include Daniel Utomi, who plays Vichy Clermont in France, and Ikenna Ndugba.
“The list also has Emmanuel Omogbo of Apoel BC of Cyprus, and Benjamin Emegolu (Rouen Basket Metrople, France), as well as TK Edogi who is making a return to the team after missing out of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“We also have on the list Stephen Domingo (Lake Land Magic – G League, U.S), Jordan Ogundiran and Jeremiah Mordi.”
The NBBF spokesman added that the list also has Nigerian premier league stars such as Rivers Hoopers point guard Ikechukwu Benjamin and Koko Victor Anthony.
“The duo of Nwafor Celestine Joseph (Kano Pillars) and Agu Ibe Aguchi (Gombe Bulls) are on the list of invited players from the Nigerian league,” he said.
According to reports, the senior national men’s basketball team is expected to arrive in Kigali on Sunday ahead of their first game against Mali on Wednesday.
Nigeria, ranked number one team in Africa, will face Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire in the competition’s Group C hoping to improve on the silver medal won at the Tunisia 2017 edition.
Meanwhile, Ogoh Odaudu who led Rivers Hoopers to the inaugural edition of the Basketball Africa League has also joined the team as one of the assistant coaches.