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Nigeria’s new NBA weapon

BOITUMELO RANTAO 

DENVER Nuggets guard Monte Morris has committed to play for the Nigeria national team, providing a major boost for the country in the 2021 Summer Olympic to be held in Tokyo. 

Morris will play for Nigeria head coach Mike Brown on a roster that includes Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu and Jordan Nwora, among others. Nigeria’s roster is on the verge of  adding more talent to an already dominant national team.

In his fourth season in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Morris is averaging 10.4 points and 3.4 assists in 27.2 minutes in the 2020-2021 campaign.

Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) president Dr Musa Kida described the number of players choosing to represent Nigeria as a positive development. 

 “The tide where Nigerians aspire to, and left the country has completely changed where non-Nigerians have expressed interest in playing for Nigeria.  Many high profile players have started giving a thought to what D’Tigers[men’s team] and D’Tigress[women’s team] stand for. Many who would have turned us down in the past if invited are now hustling to get our attention which for us is a good thing,” Kida said.

Nigeria, competing in their third Olympic games (2012, 2016), will head to the tournament in great form going undefeated (6-0) in the African Basketball Championship (AfroBasket) qualifiers.

The NBBF said no player will receive an automatic place into the two 12-player rosters en route to the Olympics. With camps lined up for the Olympic hopefuls, all eligible players will have equal opportunity to earn their place in the final team. 

Nigeria, on their quest for their first Olympic gold medal, were drawn in group B alongside Australia, winners of Olympic Qualifying (OQT) Tournament in Croatia, and winner of OQT in Serbia. 

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Nigeria, Nigeria Basketball, Africa, African basketball, 2020 Olympics, Tokyo, Tokyo Olympics, NBA, Denver Nuggets, African basketball championship, Afrobasket