Follow FIBA on Facebook
Meet the All-Star team from window 1 of the World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers
BENGUELA (Angola) - During the three-day first window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers held in Benguela, a number of players displayed incredible performances that impacted positively their teams.
From Cote d'Ivoire's Maxence Dadiet, whose tip-in in the last seconds of the game upset host Angola, to Guinea's Shannon Evans, who propelled his country to a sensational display, the opening of the race for the five tickets for African teams for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 was a delight to watch.
And here are the top-5 performers that lit the Benguela Arena in November 2021.
Ever since the 2.06m (6ft 9in) debuted for Guinea in June 2018 during the World Cup African Qualifiers 2019 in Tunisia, he keeps showing tremendous progress.
Queta reinvented his game from a post-up player to a three-pointer shooter.
While Queta was impressive offensively, the 26-year-old protected the rim as never seen before, averaging a tournament-high 2.7 blocks per game.
Mohamed Queta (Guinea)
Queta averaged 17 points, 8.3 rebounds and efficiency rate of 22 in the first three games of the African Qualifiers.
Queta's performance prompted Guinea head coach Zeljko Zecevic to admit that "This is the first game in his history that he played like a captain. He is the new captain of the Guinea national team. We gave him more responsibility and other things and I'm very happy for this kid."
It wasn't just Davies' numbers that made him one of the top performers in the first window of the African Qualifiers.
The FC Barcelona power forward did a bit of everything for the Silverbacks. From running plays to protecting the basket, the former NBA player was Uganda's key factor in Benguela.
Brandon Davies (Uganda)
One of the three players - along with Guinea's Shannon Evans and Central African Republic's Allan Dokossi- to register two double-doubles in three games, Davies was instrumental in Uganda's only win (77-74) against Cape Verde, after finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
Uganda associate head coach Mandy Juruni said: "I think he [Brandon Davies] did what we expected from him. Definitely the other players have to step up. This is a team game. It's not going to be easy for us if it's going to be one or two players. So we have to make sure that everyone steps in and contributes."
The 25-year-old point guard could only join D'Tigers a day after their loss to Cape Verde on Day 1, and a few hours before the game against Mali, but when he stepped on the floor, Nigeria's offense looked revitalised.
Jordan Ogundiran (Nigeria)
Whatever happens to Nigeria for the remaining of this African Qualifiers campaign, Ogundiran's name will forever be associated with it, especially after he hit a four-point with 38 seconds left that gave Nigeria the 72-70 win over Mali.
Nigeria closed the opening window of the African Qualifiers at 2-1 and top of Group A and Ogundiran left his mark with 15 points and 3.5 assists per game.
The small forward who often runs Cape Verde's offense, was immense for the Islanders at both ends of the floor.
A known prolific scorer, Almeida, who averaged 13 points per game, made a tremendous difference for Cape Verde in the paint where he contributed a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game.
Ivan Almeida (Cape Verde)
Although Cape Verde started strong, going down 0-2 in the last two games exposed the team's reliance on Ivan Almeida, Jeff Xavier and Joel Almeida. A productive bench might see Cape Verde reach new heights.
There is no way D'Tigers story can be told without a mention to 38-year-old Ike Diogu, whose passion playing for Nigeria is unquestionable.
Visibly frustrated after Nigeria's loss to Cape Verde on Day-1, the former NBA brought his A-game just in time to rescue his team from what appeared to be heading to a disastrous start to the African Qualifiers.
Ike Diogu (Nigeria)
The second leading scorer in the African Qualifiers so far with 19.7 points per game, Diogu had his best performance in a 95-69 win over Uganda, where he was 6-for-7 from beyond the arc, and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double in the African Qualifiers.