Nigeria’s men’s basketball senior national team, D’Tigers will zoom out of Lagos on Monday, August 19 to keep a date with this year’s edition of FIBA World Cup in Beijing, China.
Before making their trip to The Oriental Nation, though, D’Tigers will spend a week in Lagos, where they arrived in glowing style from their United States of America camp on Tuesday.
D’Tigers are in Lagos for the final phase of training ahead of the World Cup, after weeks of camping in America, with head coach, Alex Nwora outlining how the squad will continue their preparation with his batch of 15 players in the penultimate squad list.
The initial list of 44 players invited to camp in the US has been pruned to 15 as Nwora’s programme hits home stretch, with team captain, Ike Diogu top of the roster in camp alongside Uzoh Benjamin Chukwukelo.
Also present in the squad that landed in Lagos are Ike Ireogbu, NBA rising star, Okogie Joshua Aloiye, Nwamu Ike, Nwora Jordan Ifeanyi, Aminu Al Farouq, Stanley Okoye and Vincent Nnamdi Gabriel.
Others are Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz), Chimieze Metu (Sam Antonio Spurs), Zanna Talib, Aminu Abdul Alade, Akindele Jeleel Ayodeji and Michael Eric, who now have the tast of making the final list of 12 to China 2019.
While in Lagos, the team will play a couple of tune-up games as well as interact with members of the media and their teeming fans before their departure for China on the 19th of August.
So far, D’Tigers played four friendlies, of which they won three – two against fellow World Cup-bound Dominican Republic and one in their second leg against Canada, after losing the first fixture in Toronto.
At the FIBA Mundial later this month, Nwora will be assisted by Cyprien Glynn Ray, Burlesson Kevin and Ogoh Odaudu, with eyes on making a bigger impression than any other, especially with many pundits rating this squad the best ever from Nigeria.
Nwora’s full list of players in his provisional roster has two point guards, Uzoh Benjamin Chukwukelo (Caballeros Culican) and Ireogbu Ike (Science City Jena, Germany); as well as two small forwards in Aminu Al Farouq (Portland Trail Blazers) and Stanley Okoye (Tecnyconta Zaragoza, Spain).
There are also four shooting guards, Okogie Joshua Aloiye (Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA), Nwamu Ike (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Nwora Jordan Ifeanyi (University of Louisville) and Vincent Nnamdi Gabriel (Stockton Kings; as well as two centres, being Michael Eric (Darussafaka, Turkey) and Akindele Jeleel Ayodeji (Hapoel SP Tel-Aviv, Israel).
Five power forwards complete the list in Diogu Ikechukwu Somto (Bayaman Vaqueros, Puerto Rico), Zanna Talib (Montakit Fuenlabrada, Spain), Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz, NBA), Aminu Abdul Alade (Capitanies de Arecibo, Puerto Rico), and Chimezie Metu (San Antonio Spurs).