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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.
Jordan Nwora Is Crushing It For Nigeria In FIBA World Cup Qualifiers https://t.co/5IYbOgTOFL— Nick Coffey (@TheCardConnect) July 2, 2018
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.