11 October, 2022
27 November
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Road to BAL Elite 16 Round: Team Profile - NBA Academy Africa


JOHANNESBURG (South Africa) - One of the highlights of the Road to BAL East Division Elite 16 qualifier is the participation of the NBA Academy Africa team, a group of young players that continues to showcase their talent worldwide.

Based in Saly, Senegal, the program consists of young players from all corners of the continent.

In this article, FIBA.basketball brings you a profile of the NBA Academy Africa team.

TEAM: The academy is a partnership between the NBA and SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a non-profit organization based in Thies, Senegal, that uses basketball as a platform to engage youth in academic, athletic and leadership programs.

HISTORY FIBA AFRICA/BAL: The NBA Academy Africa is featuring in the Elite 16 for the very first time.

BEST FINISH FIBA AFRICA/BAL: Two days before the Final of the 2022 BAL season between Petro de Luanda and US Monastir in Kigali, Rwanda, the NBA Academy Africa played an exhibition game against the U23 Rwanda National Team, having won the scrimmage 76-58 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at BK Arena.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED FOR THE ELITE 16: The NBA Academy Africa benefited from a FIBA Africa invitation to participate in the Road to BAL Elite 16.  

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES: This is a team that displays a huge potential. One thing that they have to spare, and may cause other teams envy is the size and height of the squad despite their young age.

They might lack experience to play at this level, but it's hard to predict how they will perform as a whole.

KEY PLAYERS: If what some of those players did in the last BAL season, as part of the Elevate Program, is anything to go by, then take note of the following the names.

Emmanuel Okarofor (Nigeria) - While playing for DR Congo's Espoir Fukash, this 2.06m (6ft 9in) forward made the most of the opportunity by averaging 9.2 points, 10.4 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. 

Emmanuel Okorafor (left) and Khaman Maluach (right) during the BAL Season 2 

Khaman Maluach (South Sudan) - This 2.16m (7ft in) center featured for Cobra Sport as a 16-year-old, and it's fair to say that he didn't disappoint. From rebounding to hitting mid-range shots, Maluach did it all in just 11. minutes per game.

Other names to keep an eye are Serge Darlan (Guard/Central African Republic), Ulrich Kamka-Chomche (Power Forward/Cameroon), just to mention a few.

COACH: Karim Nesba, a former Moroccan international player, has been one of the team's coaches.

This time, Nesba will work alongside former Cameroon international player Alfred Aboya, who most recently coached Cameroon in the FIBA Basketball World Cup African Qualifiers.

Karim Nesba in action for Morocco during the 2019 FIBA AfroCan in Bamako, Mali

OUTLOOK: The Academy will face Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Cape Town Tigers and Urunani in Group A. They couldn't have asked for better opponents to test out their progress.

A win or two in the Elite 16 is possible. The Academy has recently won and lost another game Cape Town Tigers in a scrimmage series.