The Nigeria Basketball Federation has shed light on the criteria for selecting D’Tigers 20-man provisional list for the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers in Rwanda and why none of the country’s NBA stars made the list.
New head coach Mike Brown recently released his provisional list of players for the qualifiers but with several notable absences.
Prominent amongst the absentee players were Nigeria’s NBA stars who starred at the 2019 FIBA World Cup where D’Tigers finished as Africa’s highest ranked team to clinch qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Missing from coach Brown’s list were the likes of Minnesota Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie, San Antonio Spurs Centre Chimezie Metu and Gabriel Vincent of the Miami Heat amongst others.
Reacting to fans’ concerns over the absence of some of Nigeria’s biggest names, NBBF President Musa Kida explained that scheduling conflicts severely hampered the ability of Coach Brown to call up some of the country’s biggest stars.
Kida, however, pointed to the composition of the list as evidence of the exceptional quality of players available and ready to play for D’Tigers.
“We are always determined to go all out and put our best foot forward all the time,” Kida told NBBF media.
“While we were prosecuting the 2019 World Cup qualifiers, we saw different players who came and got the job done. This is a pointer to the fact that Nigeria is blessed with abundant talents.
“We have many players in the NBA and top leagues across the world who have been excused because of the timing of the qualifiers and their schedule. Some are trying to seal new contracts, others are moving in-between teams while some are waiting to be drafted which is very close when camp will open.”
The NBBF president also expressed satisfaction with the quality of players on the 20 man list which he said was a perfect blend of youth and experience.
“All the 20 players deserve a place on the roaster and we are happy with the quality at our disposal. The coaching crew has the final decision about the last 12 players. I do not really envy them.”
Kida reiterated his belief that the Coach Mike Brown led Technical crew will deliver on the mandate given to it.
“Our immediate target right now is to win our matches and qualify for the 2021 Afrobasket while we also prepare for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. I believe that we are on the same page about what is expected of everybody”.
Nigeria is grouped alongside hosts Rwanda, Algeria and Mali.