Spain-based Nigerian basketball star, Stan Okoye has admitted he is highly desirous of a place in Nigeria’s national team, D’Tigers’ squad list to this year’s FIBA Men’s Senior World Cup in China.
After setting top marks in his very first season with Tecnyconta Zaragoza of Spain, Okoye said he is now looking forward to adding national team honours to the huge lofty strides he has made at club level.
Okoye admitted he is already thrilled being voted into the top-five bracket of Liga Endesa, for which he was named alongside the quartet of Nicolas Laprovittola of Joventut, Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia as well as Facu Campazzo and Walter Tavares, both from Real Madrid.
His club are in currently in a four-way tie for 6th place in the league and Okoye admits making the play-offs would be a massive reward for him and the team this season.
Okoye, who dedicated his top-five spot to his teammates and technical staff of the club, for which he signed a year’s contract, said he was able to adapt in Spain because everyone in Zaragoza welcomed him warmly.
After doing so well with the club, Okoye says his next target is to be in D’Tigers’ 12-man roster to China 2019 this summer, where he believes the Nigerian team will show they have what it takes to go very far.
Okoye told www.aclsports.com: “I would love to play in the World Cup, I believe I can help the team.
“Our goal as we all talked about together is getting a medal. We haven’t done that yet and doing so would be great for our history and Africa.
“Every time I’m with the guys it’s like seeing family that you haven’t been with in a long time but the chemistry never leaves.
“If I have to choose one moment it would be winning Gold in the AfroBasket Championship in 2015.
“We aren’t satisfied with making the competition, we want to win. If they call me I’ll be there.
“It’s a great feeling. Starting the season (in Spain) I wasn’t sure if I would accomplish something like this.
“I was always confident in myself but focusing just week by week and trying to get back every day helped.
“I think having great teammates and a good coach that all believed in me is the reason for this.
“Everyone in this league can play but having their trust allowed me to get shots that I’m comfortable with and used to taking.
“The barrier wasn’t so difficult, a lot of the people that I interact with can speak English so that helps.
“I love the food here, the city in which I live in is very comfortable, there are many things to enjoy here.
“Playing here has made me a lot more patient. There are a lot of guys here with experience and every day I just try to learn from them.
“My best moment was probably hitting the game winner a few weeks ago in Andorra.
“It was a very important game for us and after trailing the whole game that one shot gave us the lead and win.”