Category Archives: Basketball

Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers add Billy Baptist and Ahmed Hamdy to their Basketball Africa League roster

Three-time league champions Rivers Hoopers have secured the signature of American Billy Baptist and Egyptian Ahmed Hamdy Mohamed.

Baptist spent his 2013/2014 season in the NBA Developmental League for the Bakersfield Jam. He appeared in 42 games for the Jam and averaged 7.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 1.2 APG.

Billy Baptist
Billy Baptist
photo credit: Rivers Hoopers

The 32 year old small forward moved on to London Lightning in Canada where he averaged 5.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.5 APG.

Baptist, an undrafted pick in the 2011 NBA Draft has also played for Baxi Manresa and Unicaja Malaga in Spain, Merlins Crailsheim in Germany and Keflavik in Iceland.

Meanwhile, Mohamed averaged 16.2 PPG, and 10 RPG while shooting 54.5 percent from the field as a freshman at Lee College in Baytown, Texas in the 2014/2015 season.

The 26 year old power forward was one of nine Egyptian-born players on an NCAA team, seven of whom played an NCAA Division 1 team.

Ahmed Hamdy
Ahmed Hamdy
photo credit: Rivers Hoopers

Mohamed also averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.8 RPG while shooting 47.7 percent as a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and helped the Rams as they are fondly called to a 26-9 record as he played in 33 of 34 games and nine starts in the 2016/2017 season.

The 6’9” Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness graduate at VCU had a wonderful senior season a year later averaging 5.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 13.2 minutes per game.

Billy Baptist photo credit: Rivers Hoopers
Billy Baptist
photo credit: Rivers Hoopers

Both players join Kaylon Tappin whom the KingsMen signed on Tuesday to the Hoopers’ roster for the Basketball Africa League.

Basketball Africa League Names Two-Time NBA All-Star Luol Deng as League’s Global Ambassador

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today named two-time NBA All-Star and 2012 Olympian Luol Deng as BAL Global Ambassador. Following his retirement from an NBA career that spanned 15 years, Deng will help grow the BAL’s profile throughout Africa and around the world, while inspiring African youth through basketball.

“I am thrilled to work with Luol in his new role as BAL Global Ambassador,” said BAL President, Amadou Gallo Fall. “He has been a great leader and an inspiring role model. His remarkable basketball journey includes an extraordinary 15-year NBA career, two All-Star selections and participation in the 2012 Olympic Games. Luol has been an integral part of our youth development efforts and has taken part in many of our initiatives across the continent since 2011. We look forward to working with him to establish the BAL as a world-class professional basketball league.”

“I am honored to represent the BAL as the league’s Global Ambassador,” said Deng. “We have a tremendous amount of talent in Africa and I am excited that some of that talent will be showcased through our new league. I look forward to following some of the top African club teams when the inaugural season gets underway next month and supporting the BAL in expanding its footprint around the world.”

Born in Wau, South Sudan, Deng was selected with the 7th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 2004 NBA Draft and was subsequently traded to the Chicago Bulls where he played from 2004-2014. He also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2014), Miami Heat (2014-16), Los Angeles Lakers (2016-18) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2018-19), before signing a one-day contract with the Chicago Bulls to retire as a Bull ahead of the 2019-20 NBA Season.

BAL AFRICA, Basketball africa league logoBasketball Africa League, BAL, Luol Deng,

Deng is a two-time NBA All-Star (2012, 2013). He was a recipient of the 2007 NBA Sportsmanship Award and was named to the 2005 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Deng was a member of the Great Britain National Team in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and captained Team Africa in the NBA Africa Games in 2015 and 2017. He regularly participates in youth development initiatives in Africa, including Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa. He was elected South Sudan Basketball Federation President in November 2019.

The inaugural BAL regular season will take place in Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir (Tunisia). Kigali (Rwanda) will host the first-ever BAL Playoffs and Finals. NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive on-court outfitter of the new professional league.

Additional details about the BAL will be announced in the coming days.

Nigeria’s D’Tigress Qualify Tokyo 2020 Olympics Basketball Event

Nigeria’s D’Tigress on today booked a ticket to the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo despite losing to host-Serbia in their second group game at the ongoing FIBA Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament 64-70 points.

Mozambique’s quest to qualify ahead of Nigeria suffered a heavy knock when they lost scandalously 49-124pts against current world champions- USA as Nigeria Basketball Federation set another enviable record of being the only federation in Nigeria to have two teams at the Olympics.

Ezinne Kalu

Being in command of the first quarter which they won 22-21pts, their good works were undone in the 2nd and 3rd quarters as their inability to convert their chances saw Serbia work their way back into contention winning 22-12 and 16-12 to open a decent lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Nigeria’ senior women national team tried to rally back in the last quarter after cutting down the deficit to just 4 points with less than two minutes to go, but two successive turnovers by Ezinne Kalu put a stop to that.

D’Tigress

Although, they picked the last quarter, 18-11, it was a case of too little too late against the host who on the back of a vociferous home support stood their ground to see out the game.

Kalu led the charge for Nigeria with 20pts, 3 rebs and 2 steals while Promise Amukamara scored 15pts, 4 rebs on the night.

Team captain, Adaora Elonu weighed in with 9pts of her own as well as 6 rebounds.

D’Tigress

A 68.75% conversion rate from 16 free throw attempts, 38.98% from field goal attempts and 41.03% success from the trey points line summarised the performance of the girls on the night that they found it difficult for their shots to drop against the Serbians currently ranked 7th in the world.

On Sunday, Nigeria will take on USA in their last group game which will have no effect on the 2020 Olympics qualification.

D’Tigress Inches Away From Tokyo 2020 Olympics…

D’Tigress Inches Away From Tokyo 2020 Olympics After Win Against Mozambique

D’Tigress took a bold step towards securing a 2020 Olympics ticket after recording a blowout victory against Mozambique, 85-51 points

On the night that all the 12 players on the roaster scored at least two points, Promise Amukamara was the one who led the team with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists.

Rebound Queen, Evelyn Akhator picked up 7 and scored 9 points.

Team captain, Adaora Elonu had 10pts, 4 assists and 3 steals with 100% records from her two points attempts while Ezinne Kalu recorded 11 points and 5 assists;

Although, Mozambique started like a house on fire in the first quarter to lead Nigeria 19-18, heading into the second quarter it was all about the coach Otis Hughley led team immediately the second quarter resumed.

The team stepped up it’s game with some solid defensive play and full court press to frustrate their fellow Africans as they dominated the rest of the quarters, 23-9, 15-13, 19-10 to enjoy a 34 point victory.

Although, the team has technically qualified for Tokyo 2020, a ticket will be officially guaranteed if USA beat Mozambique in the next group game on Saturday.

Elizabeth Balogun’s debut for Nigeria was rewarded with 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals after playing 16:25 minutes.

Nigeria will now face host – Serbia on Saturday.

Nigeria Basketball Federation Announce Mike Brown D’Tigers Coach

…Nwora and Bikerstaff to work as Associate Head Coaches

The Nigeria Basketball Federation has announced the appointment of Mike Brown as head coach of the senior men’s national team ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Alex Nwora

Currently with the National Basketball Association franchise, Golden State Warriors as an associate head coach, Brown will lead the D’Tigers to Tokyo alongside, Alex Nwora and JP Bikerstaff as the federation is eyeing a successful campaign.

Announcing Brown’s appointment, NBBF President, Engr Musa Kida said the decision was in consonance with the federation’s long term project of turning the team into a global brand while getting the best available resources.

“We know that the Olympics require the highest level of coaching and play, so we are trying to put our best foot forward and represent Nigerians the best way we can. In line with the Honorable Minister’s directive where he challenged federations to aim for a podium finish, we want to see how far we can go.”

Kida announced that Brown’s role in the team is mutually beneficiary to everybody involved as he is expected to bring his years of expertise in coaching basketball around the world when he takes charge of the D’Tigers.

“We are glad that we have been able to seal this deal. This is a win-win situation for everybody involved. The team will have enough coaches (Brown, Bikerstaff and Nwora) to handle them while the federation will focus on other things

The federation assured that the arrival of Coach Brown will enhance the enviable achievements already made by the NBBF in the recent past.

“When we took over the Federation weeks before the 2017 Afrobasket, many people questioned our ability to deliver within such a short time. But here we are, the federation is being commended for taking such smart and bold steps all along. Nigerians must trust our decisions going forward, to build on what we have achieved.”

Brown’s long term commitment to the development of basketball in Nigeria is obvious and should be seen as progressive step.

Nigeria’s D’Tigress Players Roar Ahead of Olympics Qualifiers Tournament

D’Tigress players have set their sights on clinching one of the available tickets on offer when they begin their Olympics Qualifiers Tournament campaign against Mozambique today.

Having missed the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil, the high flying team currently ranked 17th in the world on the back of a quarter final finish at the World cup and two back to back Afrobasket wins are motivated to start on a winning note.

D’Tigress

Team captain, Adaora Elonu said the game against fellow African team, Mozambique is a must win as they are determined to get the job done within the quickest possible time frame.

“We don’t want to put Nigerians through the harrowing experience of permutation and calculating whether we have to beat Serbia or USA if we lose against Mozambique in our opening game.”

Elonu was quick to rule out the possibilities of the team getting complacent when they face Mozambique at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in Belgrade.

It would be recalled that D’Tigress in 2019 defeated Mozambique in Maputo during the pre-qualifiers by 57-48 points with Elonu emerging top performer for the team with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist.

The Flammes Carolo of France Power Forward, Evelyn Akhator said, “We are aware of the task ahead of us and the expectations back home in Nigeria and amongst our fans across the world.”

D’Tigress Centre, Evelyn Akhator
D’Tigress Centre, Evelyn Akhator

Popularly known as the double-double Queen, Akhator reiterated that, “With our rising profile in global basketball, our presence at the 2020 Olympics is not negotiable. We must do what we have to do to get what is expected of us.”

Multiple Afrobasket winner and 34 year old Aisha Mohammed Balarabe rumoured to be eyeing retirement from the national team fold said, “If it is to give the last pint of our blood while playing Mozambique today, we shall.”

Winner of the clash will book an automatic ticket to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria

WNBA star and Nigerian-American basketball star, Chinenye “Chiney” Ogwumike has traced passion and purpose as one of the main ingredients for her success as a professional basketball player.

The Los Angeles Sparks player who is one of the fastest rising basketball analysts in the world was a guest at Avi-Cenna International School in Ikeja as part of her give back initiative.

WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria
WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria

While addressing the students, Chiney said that as young and aspiring sportsmen and women, there is more to basketball than having the regular skills set.

The ESPN analyst related her experience as a kid who grew up in Houston and emphasised on the need for kids to be focused, in a society where they can easily get distracted.

WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria
WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria

On Tuesday, “Chiney” Ogwumike will unveil the renovated basketball court at Queens College, Yaba after which she will distribute basketball kits to students who are aspiring to play basketball.

Ogwumike who holds the record for the most rebounds in the history of Stanford Women’s Basketball and the Pac-12 Conference will also meet with young female professional basketball players at the Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall inside the Teslim Balogun Stadium Complex.

WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria

The current WNBA Players Association Vice President will round off her visit on Wednesday after meeting over 300 kids at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Teslim Balogun Stadium

WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria
WNBA Star, “Chiney” Ogwumike Storms Nigeria