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25 July
07 August, 2021
20 Josh Okogie (NGR)
24/06/2021
Team Announcement
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Nigeria open Tokyo 2020 camp in California with 49-man list

CALIFORNIA (USA) - Former African champions Nigeria are hoping to make history at next months' Tokyo Olympics.

The No.1 team African team announced a 49-man preliminary squad as they opened their Olympics training camp last week in Las Vegas, California.

According to the Nigerian Basketball Federation (NBBF), head coach Mike Brown will announce the final roster on July 17.

 

The upcoming Olympic Games will be the Nigerians' third straight appearance in the history of the eagerly-awaited tournament.

The West African nation made their Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games before making it to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. 

In Brazil, the D'Tigers failed to move out of the Group Phase, but with a strong preliminary squad that includes twelve NBA players and a huge poll of players plying their trade at top leagues around the world, things look promising for the Nigerians in Tokyo.

The NBBF noted that Nigeria will play a scrimmage against reigning Olympic champions USA on July 10.

Milwaukee Bucks' Jordan Nwora is one of the top prospects of Nigerian basketball

Nigeria secured Africa's only automatic berth for this year's Olympics thanks to a 3-2 mark at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

Nigeria are drawn in Group B alongside Australia and the winners of two of four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments to be held later this month in Split, Belgrade, Kaunas and Victoria, Canada.

No African country has ever medaled in the Olympic Games in men's basketball or advanced past the preliminary stage but Brown, who is also the Golden State Warriors associate head coach, believes Nigeria has the potential to make history.

"There are more players of Nigerian descent in the NBA than probably any other country besides the U.S," said Brown, who became Nigeria’s coach in February 2020.

"And so the talent is there. It's just about getting everybody organized and on the same page and getting everybody excited about playing and wanting to be a part.

"We are looking forward to mixing some of that NBA talent with some very talented individuals that are playing professionally in Europe and abroad."

Player call-ups include Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves)who  joins fellow NBA standouts Gabe Vincent (Miami Heat), Al-Farouq Aminu (Chicago Bulls), Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee Bucks) and Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings) making their return to the Nigerian team after their 2019 FIBA World Cup exploits that saw them become the first African team to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics alongside Ike Diogu (Bameso, Dominican Rep).

Al Farouq Aminu made his Olympics debut in 2012 

Other members of Nigeria's squad to the FIBA World Cup 2019 listed by coach Mike Brown include Michael Eric who recently helped CSKA Moscow of Russia to the European Basketball League, Talib Zanna, Ikpe Udoh and Ike Iroegbu (Elan Chalon, France).

The European legion comprises Obi Emegano (Fuenlabrada, Spain), Michael Oguine (BC Souffelweyersheim, France), Zaid Hearst (Alba Fehervar, Hungary), Ike Nwamu (Samara, Russia) and Michael Gbinije (Nevèżíe, Lithuania).

The Nigerian camp also has Emmanuel Omogbo (Vellaznimi, Kosovo), Christian Mekowulu (Treviso, Italy), Tonye Jekiri (Baskonia, Spain), Abdul-Malik Abu (Fethiye, Turkey), Chima Moneke (Orleans, France), Amanze Egekeze (Gries/Oberhoffen, France), Calab Agada (Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Israel), TK Edogi (St. Chamond, France), Joshua Ajayi (Hermine Nantes, France), Keith Omoerah (Poitiers, France) & Michael Eric who recently helped CSKA Moscow of Russia to the European Basketball League.

The 49-man list is concluded by long sought after NBA champion, Festus Ezeli, UC Iroegbu, Ike Ndugba (2021 NBA draft prospect), Mike Okauru (UNC- Wilmington), Ben Uzoh (Rivers Hoopers), Michael Adewunmi (UT-Rio Grand Valley), Aminu Mohammed (Georgetown Univ), Manny Obaseki (Texas A&M University), Elijah Olaniyi (Stony Brook Uni) and Chibuzo Agbo (Texas Tech Uni) as well as Gideon George (BYU), Makenzie Mgbako (Gill St. Bernard School), Warith Alatishe (Oregon State Uni), Efe Abogidi (Washington State Univ), Stephen Domingo (Lakeland Magic), Emeka Okafor, Clifford Omoruyi (Rutger Uni) and Ekpe Udoh (Beijing RF, China).

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