The Nigerian Basketball Federation says it would maintain an open-door policy which would see the best players around the world who are eligible and want to represent Nigeria given a chance.
Reacting to news reports suggesting that Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is interested in playing for Nigeria’s men’s national team, D’Tigers, in next year’s Summer Olympics, the NBBF made it clear that eligible players around the world capable of improving the team will be given a chance.
NBBF president Musa Kida expressed happiness with the renewed interest of players with Nigerian heritage within the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in committing their international future to Nigeria.
“This is a good time to be alive as a Nigerian basketball fan. The newfound fame in the world has started yielding the desired results. Gone were the days when even kids playing at the collegiate system avoided our teams like a plague,” Kida said in a statement released by NBBF media.
“We have lost many good players in the past, but now things are looking up. Top-rated players have started reaching out to the federation. We will consider each player including the likes Dinwiddie on case by case basis in accordance with FIBA rules as provided for under Chapter 3, article 21(a).”
The FIBA rule states that national teams participating in a Competition of FIBA may have only one player on its team who has acquired the legal nationality of that country by naturalisation or by any other means after having reached the age of 16.
“New Orleans Pelicans centre, Jahlil Okafor is also reportedly interested in fighting for a shirt. There are many top players out there who are eligible to play for us while some may also be thinking of naturalization as allowed by FIBA rules,” Kida continued.
The NBBF President informed that the Technical crew is looking at players who will add something extra to the teams ahead of the Summer Olympics.
“While at the World Cup in China, the coaches and many Nigerians noticed that we needed more tested hands to improve the team. We are therefore working closely with the technical crew to identify players capable of bringing something to the table.”
Kida said Nigeria’s aim of a podium finish at the now postponed Summer Games is not impossible and can be achieved by making use of the very best materials.