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33 Jordan Nwora (NGR)
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'Air' Jordan Nwora came, saw and conquered Nigeria

LAGOS (FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers) - It took only three official games for Jordan Nwora win the hearts of Nigeria basketball fans.

Making his debut with Nigeria's men team last week in Lagos, the 19-year-old forward not only displayed a number of eye-catching plays, but he also established a new record for most points scored in a game at FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 African Qualifiers. 

As Nigeria cruised past Mali 93-53, Nwora did everything he could possibly do.

He hit five of his eleven three-point attempts to finish with an African Qualifiers-high 36 points, he grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists, added a game-high four steals, all that to help Nigeria advance to the Second Round of the African undefeated in six games.

And although Ike Diogu - a 34-year-old power forward - remains as Nigeria all-around team leader, the 6ft7in (2.00m) Nwora has set a new Nigeria record for most points scored in a game at a major tournament, a mark that previously belonged to Chamberlain Oguchi who finished with a game-high 35 points in a 79-73 defeat to France at 2012 London Olympics.

And, by the end of the three-day Group B showdown in Lagos, Nigeria, Nwora finished with team-highs 21.7 points and eight rebounds per contest.

Diogu said: “I am excited about these guys because they are the future (of Nigeria basketball). We saw it last year in Tunisia (FIBA AfroBasket 2017). Jordan (Nwora), Ikena Iroegbu, [Ikechukwu] Nwamu, Bryant [Mbamalu], - all those guys are young. I hope those guys continue to stay together because they have a chance to be really good. Unfortunately, I am a bit older than those guys, I don’t get that long to play with them. But I know when I step down the future of Nigeria basketball is at excellent hands."

Nwora's numbers and performances didn't go unnoticed stateside.

A standout at the University of Louisville, Nwora described his first appearance for Nigeria as a unique one. After all, it was the first time he played for his father, Nigeria head coach Alex Nwora.

“It’s a new experience playing for my dad. I haven’t had the experience to play under him as my coach. I am happy I got the opportunity to play,” he said.

Nigeria advance to the 12-team Second Round, where they will face Group F opponents Senegal, Mali, Rwanda, the Central African Republic and Cote d'Ivoire. 

Under FIBA's new competition system five African teams will win the right to qualify for the 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.