Ahead of the AfroBasket, Nigeria will compete at the Stankovic Cup from 28 June to 2 July and the country’s National Basketball Federation has announced a squad of 15 players to be involved in that competition.
Three of them, Ike Diogu, Olumide Oyedeji and Richard Dean Oruche, were members of last year’s side that travelled to Britain.
Abubakar Usman and Stanley Gumut played for Nigeria at Afrobasket 2011 but wasn’t involved last year.
Mike Ohiero, Deji Egbeyemi and Solomon Alabi, who wore the Nigeria shirt at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men, have been invited into the squad.
The rest of the group includes Ben Uzoh, Stan Okoye, and Yahaya Abdul, Nkem Ojougboh, Kingsley Oguchi, Kelechi Anuna and Ehimen Orukpe.
Argentina, Puerto Rico, China, Germany and Australia are also taking part in the Stankovic Cup.
The summer of 2013 is a crucial one for Nigeria, who have put their Olympic coach Ayo Bakare in charge.
They will be looking to prove that their terrific 2012 was not the end, but only the beginning of a great run in international basketball.
Medals will not only be at stake at the Afrobasket, but also places at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
Nigeria provided international basketball with many a thrill last summer at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) because their performances were not only full of flair, but determination.
In the process, they knocked off international sides like Lithuania, Greece and the Dominican Republic to claim a spot at the London Games.
While competing at the Olympics for the very first time, they claimed a victory by defeating Tunisia on the opening day.
Now the country is hoping its national side can build on the experience by travelling to the Afrobasket in Ivory Coast and winning the gold medal there.
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers), News Bytes Sports Desk
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