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NBA: ‘I want to play for Philippine national team’

NBA: ‘I want to play for Philippine national team’

Jordan Clarkson

Rising NBA star Jordan Clarkson said Thursday he is eager to play for the Philippines’ national basketball team despite citizenship concerns from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

“I want to assure my Filipino brothers and sisters that, if given the chance and everything can be worked out, I sincerely wish to play for Gilas and contribute to the total team effort for flag and country,” Clarkson said in a statement released by the Basketball Association of the Philippines (SBP).

Clarkson, whose mother hails from the Philippines, is visiting the basketball-crazy Southeast Asian nation and has joined the national team, Gilas Pilipinas, for practice.

The 23-year old, who plays guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, said that he was in the country to familiarise himself with the national team and would even accompany them when they play at the 2015 Jones Cup basketball tournament in Taiwan.

The basketball association’s executive director Sonny Barrios said he was hopeful they could clear all the requirements of FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, in time to get Clarkson to play for Gilas in China in September at the Asia qualifying round for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics.

“He is simply stating his willingness, he is not stating that he will play,” Barrios clarified.

Barrios told AFP that the association was rushing to submit the documents that would allow Clarkson to play as a Filipino for Gilas Pilipinas in the Olympic qualifier.

The deadline for naming the Philippine team for the qualifier is September 8 but Barrios said they would have to submit Clarkson’s documents even sooner.

“We have to submit it ASAP so they will still have time to evaluate. I am racing against time,” he said.

FIBA rules allow one naturalised player on each national team but the Philippines already has a naturalised player in its squad, former Brooklyn Nets centre Andray Blatche.

August 27, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:
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NBA, Deng Foundation partner for UK dev’t

Luol Deng

Luol Deng

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Luol Deng Foundation, a non-profit organisation that uses basketball as a tool to give hope to those in Africa, the US and the UK, will again collaborate to support the DENG Camp TOP 50 led by two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan).

The DENG Camp TOP 50, a four-day residential basketball camp for boys ages 18 and under from across the UK, tips off today and runs through August 22 at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London. The NBA will provide sports apparel and prizes for the participants, who have been selected by a panel of national and club team coaches.

The camp will focus on basketball development and teaching the values of the game, including teamwork, discipline, dedication, fitness and healthy living.

“We have always looked at doing a camp for the most talented kids in the UK, and now seems a better time than ever to do it,” said Deng. “The selected players will take part in a three-day camp to give them an idea of what the next level is like. I’m excited about the camp, and I truly believe this will have a huge impact on these players and UK basketball.”

“The NBA is thrilled to partner with the Luol Deng Foundation once again, and we are inspired by Luol’s relentless commitment to grassroots basketball development here in the UK,” said Neal Meyer, NBA Senior Director of Basketball Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Luol is an inspiration to young basketball players across Great Britain and for the second straight year the NBA will support his Foundation’s efforts to attract more youth to the sport while also teaching the values of the game.”

Deng was born in South Sudan and became a British citizen in 2006, having moved to London with his family in 1994. The 6’9’’ forward was drafted seventh overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. In 2006-07 he was the only Bulls player to start all 82 regular-season games. He joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in January 2014, during which time he was voted the 2013-14 winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, presented annually to the player, coach or trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community. He is currently a forward with the Miami Heat. Earlier this month in Johannesburg, South Africa, he captained Team Africa in the first NBA Africa Game, where he won co-MVP honours.

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August 20, 2015 By : Category : English featured NBA 0 Comment

Shaq picks Michael Jordan over LeBron James – but ‘Dr J was best’

Shaq picks Michael Jordan over LeBron James - but 'Dr J was best'

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Shaquille O’Neal weighed into basketball’s great debate on Tuesday when he backed a young Michael Jordan to beat LeBron James one-on-one — but added that both were outshone by the legendary Dr. J.

O’Neal, visiting Hong Kong to promote an energy drink, faced both Jordan and James in their prime and when asked who would win a hypothetical match-up, he didn’t hesitate.

“Mike,” said O’Neal, winner of four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002) and the Miami Heat (2006). “I think you have to go with a young Jordan every time.”

O’Neal was addressing an issue which has captured the imagination during the NBA off-season after both James and Jordan insisted they would win if they clashed at the height of their powers.

In comments splashed by media, Jordan said he would come out on top “No question”, while James retorted to the NBC’s Today show: “I’m gonna take myself versus anybody”.

But Shaq, 43, said he’d side with Chicago Bulls star Jordan over Cleveland’s James.

“It would be an interesting game,” said O’Neal. “Young LeBron was more like (Lakers Hall of Famer) Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan’s abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up.

“But Mike was Mike. He was just special, like no one else. He always did things no one else could do, and things you couldn’t compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he’d win.”

The 30-year-old James’ star continues to rise through two NBA titles with the Miami Heat (2011-12, 2012-13), four NBA MVPs, and a return to his hometown of Cleveland on a mission to lead the Cavaliers to their first title.

There has also been much debate over whether he, or the now-retired Jordan — with six NBA titles and five NBA MVPs to his name — could be labelled the greatest of all time.

But O’Neal threw another player into the mix when he said 1970s and 1980s superstar Julius Erving AKA Dr J was the best he had ever seen.

“I’ve seen young Mike and young LeBron and I must say Dr. J is still my favourite player,” said O’Neal. “A lot of people today don’t even mention his name but to me I still think he was the best. But these are questions that we’ll never know the answer to.

“It’s a bit like if I met Bruce Lee in an alleyway. Who would win? You’ll never know. Some people say well Bruce would kick Shaq’s ass. Some people say well Shaq is two times bigger than Bruce Lee. It’s a good question, a good conversation. But we’ll never know.”

August 18, 2015 By : Category : English featured NBA Tags:
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Star-studded USA prepare Olympic title defence

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

The USA team is back in action on Tuesday to begin their defense of the Olympic Games title, and Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has re-joined the team after suffering a gruesome leg injury last summer.

A year ago, George was practicing with the USA team, who were gearing up for the 2014 Fiba Basketball World Cup in Spain, when he broke his right leg, which forced him to sit out most of the 2014-14 NBA season.

While George watched the World Cup from the small screen, as the Americans went on to beat Serbia in the final in the Spanish capital, Madrid, last September.

George is among the 34-player preliminary squad, selected by head coach Mike Krzyzewski, which will attend a three-day training camp in Las Vegas from Tuesday.

“I feel great,” George said.

“I still notice some things that are not Paul George characteristic yet, but I feel good and the good thing is we’re still in mid-summer. By training camp, I’ll be ready to go.”

The preparation will culminate with a USA Blue versus USA White exhibition game at the Thomas & Mack Centre in Vegas on Thursday.

However, coach Krzyzewski will only announce his final 12-player roster next July shortly before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The USA will travel to Brazil as the two-time Olympic defending champions as well as holding a 63-game winning streak.

The Americans last lost a game at the 2006 World Cup in Japan. At the time they fell 101-95 to Greece in the semifinals.

Among the 34 players, coach Krzyzewski has invited 2012 London gold medalists LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis.

Jerry Collangelo, the team’s General Manager, said: “We set out to create a new culture and create a situation where players once again were proud to represent their country.

“We also had to win back the respect of the world basketball community.

“When you’re climbing the mountain to recapture something, that’s one thing,” Colangelo said. “Defending the next time around is another, and now it’s maintaining. We recognise, we appreciate, we respect the other teams and we take nothing for granted.”

USA’s preliminary squad for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Mike Conley, Michael Carter-Williams, James Harden, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons, Harrison Barnes, Tobias Harris, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kenneth Faried, Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee.

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August 14, 2015 By : Category : English featured Teams 0 Comment

Deng to cast eye over young African talent

Luol Deng

Luol Deng

The National Basketball Association (NBA), in partnership with the Federation of Ugandan Basketball Association, (FUBA) announced on Wednesday that two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng of the Miami Heat will be the guest of honour at the 2015 FUBA Jr. NBA League Finals, set to take place on Saturday, August 15 at the Lugogo Indoor Arena in Kampala, Uganda.

The FUBA Jr. NBA League was created to leverage the excitement of the NBA and inspire more youth to participate in basketball through a fun and positive experience with the sport. The league also promotes core values such as teamwork, leadership, fitness and healthy living through league games and competition.

“Following the success of the first NBA game on the African continent, we are very excited to have Luol with us in Kampala at the Jr. NBA League Finals,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa. “This event will be the culmination of a successful inaugural season and I look forward to spending time with Ugandan youth once again.”

“This year, we will host Luol Deng, one of the greatest African basketball players to play in the NBA,” said Ambrose Tashobya, FUBA President. “It is our hope that young aspiring basketball players such as those in the FUBA Jr. NBA League will be inspired to follow their dreams and reach for the stars when they meet and interact with such amazing talent from Africa.”

The FUBA Jr. NBA League, which is open to boys ages 12-15, featured 30 teams from schools across Kampala competing in the Eastern and Western Conference. Regular inter-conference league games have been played at various school courts every weekend since the launch of the league in May. The top eight teams from each conference qualified for the playoffs.

The Conference Semifinals took place on Saturday, August 8 at Kabira International School, while the Conference Finals were held on Sunday, August 9 at Kampala Parents School. The third-place game will be played on August 15 prior to the championship game that will determine the first 2015 FUBA Jr. NBA League Champion.

The second season of FUBA Jr. NBA League will commence in April 2016.

The NBA recently launched a similar league for girls in Maputo, Mozambique earlier this year and also conducts similar Jr. NBA school leagues in Spain and the UK.

August 13, 2015 By : Category : Afrobasket English featured 0 Comment

African Basketball party shifts to Tunisia

Salah Mejri

Salah Mejri

A week ago, Africa celebrated the first-ever NBA game played on the continent held in Johannesburg, South Africa, but in the next two weeks, African basketball stars will travel up North for the 2015 edition of African championship, the Afro-Basket.

The FIBA Africa’s elite tournament will run from 19 to 30 August in Tunisia, and will serve as a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Obviously, there will be no Chris Paul (USA) or Pau Gasol (Spain), but some of the 16 national teams participating in the tournament will be represented by aspiring, current and former NBA players.

Dallas Mavericks new recruit Salah Mejri, who became the first Tunisian to be signed by an NBA team, will be in the spotlight not only for his recent success with Spain giants Real Madrid, but also because the host nation will be competing for its second continental title since 2011.

And, the man who was voted Africa’s MVP player four years ago is expected to take a leading role.

But, Tunisia will face a fierce competition from teams such as Nigeria, Senegal and Angola.

The Nigerians should count with the services of former Los Angeles Clippers Ike Diogu – the team leading scorer and rebounder over the past three years -, Al-Farouq Aminu, who will wear the Portland Trail Blazers uniform in the upcoming season, and will be coached former NBA D-League Bakersfield Jam coach Will Voigt.

Minnesota Timberwolves centre Gorgui Dieng, a 2009 Basketball Without Borders Africa camper turned professional basketballer, is currently Senegal’s most impactful player, and is likely to feature for the team that best represented Africa at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Although Cameroon are among the frontrunners, it remains to be seen whether or not Luc Mbah a Moute will represent his country in Tunisia.

The 28-year-old, along with the National Basketball Players Association, is reportedly disputing Sacramento Kings decision to void his contract for an alleged failed medical physical. The clock is ticking for Mbah a Moute.

No matter who wins this year’s Afro-Basket, one of the biggest winners will be the growth of the game as well the NBA commitment to spread and encourage its players to develop the game in the continent.

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August 11, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Rwanda clinches ninth spot at U-16 FIBA Afro-basket

Rwanda’s Emile Galois Kazeneza was outstanding for Rwanda U16

Rwanda’s Emile Galois Kazeneza was outstanding for Rwanda U16

A NINTH-PLACE finish was all that Rwanda’s U-16 men’s national basketball team could manage after seeing off Equatorial Guinea in classification playoff match held last Friday at the 4th U-16 Africa Basketball Championship in Bamako, Mali.

Rwanda who had defeated Guinea 83-52 in group stages on August 1, managed to overcame their opponents 73-56 to claim 9th position out of 12 countries in the competition.

Emile Galois Kazeneza scored a game high 20 points while Patrick Nshizirungu and Arnaud Nkusi added 15 and 12 points respectively. Guinea’s Emmanuel Nsuva was the game’s second highest scorer with 17 points.

Rwanda was making their maiden debut and they managed to win two and lost four matches out of the six played.

Meanwhile, Egypt edged out hosts Mali in thrilling Final for third FIBA Africa U16 Championship crown.

Egypt beat hosts Mali, 64-63 in Saturday’s Final of the FIBA Africa U16 Championship to clinch their third title in the competition out of four editions.

As they did in all of their previous games, the Egyptians got off to a good start, leading 12-6 by the end of the first quarter and taking a 23-19 advantage into half-time.

The Malians, after their slow start, fought back and made a game of it, staying within four, 38-34, by the end of the third quarter.

However, Egypt still maintained control of the game thanks to their domination inside and held a 63-61 lead in the final moments.

The last seconds of the game were full of suspense as Mali’s AbdoulkarimCoulibaly tied the score with nine seconds left to play.

Everyone was expecting the game to go into overtime, but the Malians sent Egypt’s Mohamed Youssef to the free-throw line with five seconds to go. He made the first and missed the second but it was enough to propel Egypt onto the top step of the podium.

Having reached the Final, both Egypt and Mali were already qualified for the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship 2016 that will take place in Spain.

Coulibaly led all the scorers in the tournament, averaging 14.7 points per game, while Egypt’s Ahmed Khalaf was the leading rebounder with 11.7 boards per game.

Khalaf was named the tournament’s MVP and headlined the All-Star Five, where he was joined by his team-mate Mostafa Tamer along with Morocco’s Sami Al Uariachi, MostafaBraik from Algeria, Mali’s Coulibaly.

Final Ranking

1- Egypt

2- Mali

3- Algeria

4- Angola

5- Nigeria

6- Morocco

7- Tunisia

8. South Africa

9- Rwanda

10- Equatorial Guinea

11. Ethiopia

August 10, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Masai Ujiri and team expected in Rwanda for Giants of Africa basketball Camp

Masai Ujiri expected in Rwanda

Masai Ujiri expected in Rwanda

The Nigerian born Toronto Raptors General Manager will lead a 3-day sessions in Rwanda designed to help young basketball players develop athletically, achieve life goals and become better players

MasaiUjiri and the Giants of Africa (GOA) team are expected in Rwanda from august 13 to 15 on their maiden leg of their 4-nation African tour to hold basketball camp for 50 selected kids from across this country.

Ujiri, the Nigerian born General Manager of Canada based NBA side, Toronto Raptors are celebrating the 12th year of supporting the growth of basketball in Africa, expanding its camps from Nigeria and Kenya to include Ghana and Rwanda this summer.

Nigeria was the first point of call from August 3-5 with Ghana’s running from August 7-9, Kenya from August 10 -12 and Rwanda from August 13-15.

“We are excited to be here to teach kids fundamentals of basketball and also life skills. Rwanda is an upcoming we had interest in for many years and we are thrilled to be heading there,” MasaiUjiri said recently.

50 kids from all over Rwanda, who will be selected by coaches, will be taken through basketball clinic at Amahoro indoor stadium.

Since the Giants of Africa camps began, more than 100 camp attendees have moved on to high school or university in the United States, with around 20 now playing professionally in Europe.

Modeled after the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders outreach program, Giants of Africa’s approach is to use the game of basketball as a means to teach and nurture important life skills, ‎bringing together top coaches to help run the sessions and are designed to help young basketball players develop athletically, achieve life goals and become better players.

In addition to on-court basketball skills development, Giants of Africa strives to help foster participants via life skills support and local community outreach initiatives as has been outlined to be executed in Rwanda over the next three days.

“Our mission is to promote the game of basketball and grow the NBA. We want to continue to grow here and make it a yearly camp,” the Toronto Raptors GM signed off.

In Rwanda, Ujiri will be accompanied by MahlalelaUmutozawho is the assistant coach of Toronto Raptors, Patrick Mutombo (Assistant coach of Denver Nugget), Patrick Engelbreght (Scouting Manager of Toronto Raptors) and Toronto Raptors’ Director of Basketball Operations, Harry Ezenibe.

Others are Amadou Gallo Fall (NBA Africa Representative), Kita Matunguluand Franck Traore (NBA Africa), ImeUdoka (San Antonio Spurs assistant coach) and Abel Nson (Africa Basketball Association Coordinator).

August 10, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

Espoir basketball club secure fourth straight double

Espoir BBC celebrates title

Espoir BBC celebrates title

NYAMIRAMBO-BASED club, Espoir defied odds to extend their unbeaten record as they won their fourth successive regular league and playoff double.

Last weekend, they beat debutants Patriots 3-1 in the best-of-five finals to win the title.

Debutants Patriots stunned the defending champions 81-74 in Game One but Jean Bahufite’s team bounced back to win Game Two, Three and Four 68-67, 81-39 and 82-65 respectively to retain the Play-offs title. The Nyamirambo-based outfit had also won the regular season league.

It is Bahufite’s fourth successive title since he took over in 2012 and the 16th title for Espoir, who have dominated the national game in the last four years.

Espoir basketball club will represent the country at the forthcoming Zone Five Club Championships.

In the women’s category, APR beat Ubumwe Basketball Club to win the women’s Pay-offs crown.

Eight-time league champions APR won the Play-offs crown after taking Game One, Two and Four 65-61, 65-64 and 60-46 respectively while Ubumwe claimed Game Three 66-63.

This year’s FIBA Africa Zone Five Championships will be held in Kigali. As hosts, Rwanda will field four teams, two in men’s and two in women’s category. Espoir, CSK (men) with Ubumwe and APR in female category.

Rwanda’s international and Espoir’s center, Olivier Shyaka was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2015 season, while Ubumwe’s Alice Muhongerwa scooped the accolade in the women’s category.

Espoir and APR pocketed Rwf1.5 million each in total-Rwf 1m for winning the league and Rwf500, 000 for the Play-offs, while first runners-up Patriots (men) and Ubumwe (women) each walked away with Rwf1.1 million.

Second runners-up APR (men) and The hoops Rwanda (women) were each given Rwf700.000.

Team of the year:

Men: Aristide Mugabe (Espoir), Mike Buzangu (CSK), LionnelHakizimana (Espoir), Olivier Shyaka (Espoir) and BienvenueNgandu (Espoir).

Women: Sandra Kantore (APR), Cecile Nzaramba (IPRC-South), Alice Muhongerwa (Ubumwe), Nicole Urwibutso (UR-CASS) and Charlotte Umugwaneza (APR).

August 10, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Lebron, Curry among 34 stars set for Olympic camp

LeBron James and Steph Curry, opponents in this year’s NBA Finals, were among 34 NBA players named Thursday by USA Basketball as participants in this weekend’s Olympic mini-camp in Las Vegas.

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Curry led the Golden State Warriors to the NBA title over James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in June’s best-of-seven final.

Last year he helped the US win the Basketball World Cup to clinch a berth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

USA Basketball national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said that players who wanted consideration for the Rio squad needed to attend the workouts next Tuesday through Thursday, when a public scrimmage will be staged.

“This year’s minicamp is an opportunity to continue and expand the brotherhood and camaraderie that has been built,” said Colangelo, who has overseen the squad since 2005.

“The minicamp is going to be low key with light workouts, no contact and the USA Basketball Showcase will be a fun all-star type game.”

The workout roster includes eight newcomers, 11 players from the World Cup champions and eight members of the 2012 London Olympic gold medal squad.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers are back after playing on the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London gold medal teams.

Also back from winning London gold are Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Houston’s James Harden and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis while Houston’s Dwight Howard is back from the Beijing gold medalists.

Among the World Cup championship team members in the camp are Sacramento’s Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Denver’s Kenneth Faried, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Portland’s Mason Plumlee and Golden State’s Klay Thompson.

Other program veterans include Washington’s John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Utah’s Gordon Hayward, Dallas’ Chandler Parsons and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.

Also back is Indiana’s Paul George, who suffered a broken leg at a training camp for last year’s World Cup that wiped out his 2014-15 NBA season.

Newcomers to the camp joining the US program for the first time next week are NBA champion Golden State’s Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green, Chicago’s Jimmy Walker, Memphis’ Mike Conley, Milwaukee’s Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando’s Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo plus DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

“All of them enjoyed outstanding NBA seasons in 2014-15 and have been on our radar for a while,” Colangelo said.

The overall camp line-up includes the NBA’s top 10 scorers, six of its top 12 rebounders and seven of the top 11 players in assists from last season.

Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski is set to return as coach for a third consecutive Olympics.

Since the revamped US program began in 2005 follow a 2004 Athens bronze medal, the Americans are 75-1, the lone loss to Greece in a 2006 World Championships semifinal in Japan.

August 7, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment