Top stars in Nigeria basketball squad for AfroBasket qualifiers

BOITUMELO RANTAO 

NEWLY- appointed Nigerian senior men’s basketball head coach Mike Brown has released a 20 man provisional list for the 2021 Afrobasket qualifiers. 

The premier African basketball event will be hosted in Kigali, Rwanda between 27th and 29th, November.

Currently ranked 26th globally and 1st in Africa, Nigeria is grouped alongside host- Rwanda, Mali and Algeria in Group D. 

Brown, former National Association  (NBA) Coach of the Year, who will officially start his journey with Nigeria, submitted a list featuring 7 players who featured at the 2019 FIBA World Cup where Nigeria qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo.

Captain, Ike Diogu (Shimane Susanoo Magic, Japan) will lead DTigers (Nigeria senior men’s team) which includes 29 year-old Stan Okoye (Gran Canaria, Spain), Ben Uzoh (Paris Basketball, France), Ike Iroegbu (Capital City Go-Go, NBA G-league), Talib Zanna, Ekpe Udoh (Beijing, China) and Michael Eric.

2015 NBA winner with Golden State Warriors, Festus Ezeli will be on the flight to Rwanda for a chance to represent Nigeria for the first time ever,  alongside a member of the 2015 Afrobasket winning team, Michael Gbinije (Santa Cruz Warriors, NBA G-league).

After being excluded from the final 12-man team that attended the 2019 FIBA World Cup, French-based Ike Nwamu will  make another return to the team alongside Tonye Jekiri, Christopher Obekpa, Braxton Ogbueze, Mike Efevberha, Obinna Emegano who at some point featured during the team’s 2019 qualifiers series.

Chima Moneke who has averaged 12.3pts and 5.8rebs in four games for Orléan in the French league has also been called up for the first time, alongside Zaid Christopher Hearst-Okpalannaka who plays in the French professional B league.

Other debutants to DTigers setup include power forward Obi Enechionyia (Real Betis, Spain) alongside Ogbunu John and Rasheed Sulaimon (Casademont Zaragoza, Spain). – Tumi@theafricanmirror.africa

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