The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) has released a list of 44 players; they will compete for places in the final team for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.
Veterans such as Ike Diogu and Al-Faruq Aminu lead the list. The list, published on the FIBA website, also contains a sprinkling of newcomers.
Head coach D’Tigers, Alex Nwora, noted that the players were listed ahead of the team’s camp which commences on July 7, 2019. The camp will consequently hold in Erie Community College, Buffalo, USA. It was selected after several weeks of scouting.
Apart from Diogu and Aminu, the list includes Agada Caleb, Stanley Okoye, Aminu Alade, Tosin Mehinti, Zanna Talib and Ayodeji Akindele who all featured during the Qualifiers.
Others are David Nwaba (Cleveland Cavaliers), Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), Nwamu Ike (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Michael Eric, Charles Bassey, Ike Obiagu, Achiuwa Precious, TK Edogi. Also on the list is Stephen Ugochukwu and Ado Abdul, Chimezie Metu (San Antonio Spurs), Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz) and the recently drafted trio of Miye Oni (Miami Heat), Chuma Okeke (Orlando Magic) and Kezie Okpala (Phoenix Suns).
Nwora also extended invitation to five Nigerian based basketball players. They are Agu Abuchi Ibe, Okpe Ocheibi Victor, Abdul Yahaya, Vincent Buchi Nwaiwu, Victor Koko Anthony alongside former Golden State Warriors player, Festus Ezeli, Michael Oguine, and Jordan Ogundiran.
Making up the 44-man list are Ogugua “OG” Anunoby (Toronto Raptors), Semi Ojeleye (Boston Celtic), Ochai Agbaji, Vincent Nnamdi, Stephen Domingos, Moneke Chima and Joshua Ifeoluwa Ajayi.
The squad was selected with an eye on earning one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic spot.
D’Tigers will face fellow World Cup-bound Dominican Republic at the Palacio de Los Deportes in San Domingo on July 20 and 22 in a warm-up tie. The team will also play another test game against ex-NBA and Euro All Stars on July 26. This will round off the first phase of camping.
The tune-up matches are part of the NBBF’s plans to effectively prepare the team for the tournament in China.
The second phase of camping will commence on July 29. Players invited from the NBA are, as a result, expected to report to camp on August 1. The team will depart for Toronto on August 5, where they will face Canada on August 7 and 9.
Nwora will be assisted by Glynn R. Cyrien (ex Memphis Grizzlies), Mfon Kokoete Udofia (Atlanta Hawks) and Ogoh Odaudu (Rivers Hoopers).
The final 12-man list will depart for Nigeria on August 12 for the final round of training. The side will also leave for China on August 18.