Players

Buzangu joins Espoir as Burundian Ntagunduka signs for Patriots

Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka has joined Patriots BBC.

Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka has joined Patriots BBC.

Point Guard Patrick Buzangu has joined four-time reigning league and playoffs champions Espoir Basketball Club from rivals Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) on a one-year contract.

The DR Congo-born star has been brought in as a replacement for former club captain Aristide Mugabe, who crossed to Patriots Basketball Club this season.

Meanwhile, Patriots have also completed the signing of Burundian Jean de Dieu ‘Yao’ Ntagunduka from Burundian champions, Urunani.

The 25-year-old won two consecutive Burundian league titles with Urunani, in 2014 and 2015 as well as the Zone V Club Championship in 2013 after they beat Espoir in the final.

February 9, 2016 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

Rockets’ Howard suspended

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Houston Rockets centre Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for striking the arm of a game official and Rockets head coach JB Bickerstaff has been fined $10 000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced on Tuesday by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident involving Howard occurred with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 123-122 loss to the Washington Wizards on January 30 at Toyota Centre. Bickerstaff made his comments to the media post-game following the same contest.

Howard will serve his suspension on Tuesday night when the Rockets host the Miami Heat at Toyota Centre.

Reuters

February 3, 2016 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

Rwanda’s Kabange voted Ugandan league’s MVP

Kami Kabange is also favourite for the MVP gong.

Kami Kabange is also favourite for the MVP gong.

Rwanda international Kami Kabange, who plays for City Oilers, has been voted the best player for the year 2015 in the Ugandan Basketball League.

Kabange, 30, did not only lead his side to their third straight league title, but was also pivotal in City Oilers’ second place finish at the Zone 5 Club Championship held in Kigali, Rwanda last year.

The DR Congo-born big man is also expected to be a front-runner for the MVP award during the FUBA (Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations) awards ceremony later this month.

“It’s good to win this award but most importantly the team won the title. I am looking forward to another exciting season. It is always a big crazy feeling to get recognized out of the many,” Kami said.

Leopards’ point guard Flavia Okecho was also named the best player of the year in the women’s category following her impressive displays with the national team during the Women’s Afrobasket Championships held in Cameroon.

She also led her KCCA side to the second spot at the Zone 5 Club Championships in Rwanda to a spot at the Afro-Club Championships in Angola.

January 26, 2016 By : Category : English featured inthespotlight Players 0 Comment

Pacers out to avoid fourth straight defeat

Paul George

Paul George

The Indiana Pacers look to bounce back from three consecutive defeats on Saturday morning when they host the Miami Heat.

After winning six games in a row, Paul George’s Indiana Pacers suffered three straight defeats, including a 131-123 home loss to reigning champions the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

Saturday morning’s match-up will be the second of four regular-season games between the Pacers and Heat, and will give a thorough look at both sides, and it’s become clear that they share more similarities than differences.

Each team currently holds a 12-8 mark, although Indiana rank fourth in the Eastern Conference, two places above Miami.

A month ago, George’s game-high 36 points proved crucial to Indiana’s 90-87 home win over Dwyane Wade’s Heat. In that game Miami’s leading scorer Wade was limited to nine points on 4-of-15 shooting.

Now, George, who is averaging career-highs 27.9 points and 4.3 assists per game, needs to bring his team together in order to improve Indiana’s undefeated home run to nine straight wins against Miami.

“It’s going to be a different ball game,” George said.

“We can’t come out here and expect that we’re going to beat them easily because we beat them already. It’s going to be an even tougher game for us.”

On the other hand, the Heat, who come from two consecutive defeats to Washington and Charlotte, haven’t lost three straight games this season, but have won only 2 of 4 on the road.

Thus this will be an epic battle between two sides in desperate need of a run of wins.

 

December 12, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:, ,
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Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder as Durant limps off

 

Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Centre on November 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks on against the Washington Wizards in the first half at Verizon Centre on November 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Russell Westbrook’s first triple-double of the season more than made up for Kevin Durant’s early exit Tuesday in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 125-101 NBA triumph over the Washington Wizards.

Westbrook sat out the entire fourth quarter after amassing 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for Oklahoma City, who led 68-50 at halftime and by as many as 29 points in the second half.

But the news wasn’t all good for the Thunder as Durant clutched his left leg late in the second quarter and didn’t play the second half because of a hamstring strain.

“We knew we had to come out and play the right way and not be relaxed,” Westbrook said of the Thunder’s determination to keep the pressure on in the second half.

“I thought we did a great job of sticking together.”

Durant, who played just 27 games last season as he battled to recover from a broken foot suffered in October 2014, downplayed Tuesday’s injury.

“I can walk, it’s just a little sore,” said the former NBA Most Valuable Player, who put up a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds before exiting.

“I’ll just get treatment and see how it goes,” he added.

Durant, who hails from the Maryland suburbs near Washington, is a fan favourite in the nation’s capital, with many hoping he might opt to join the Wizards when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

But after Durant said this week that his warm reception in Washington was “disrespectful” to the hometown team, he was actually booed sporadically on Tuesday.

The Wizards didn’t give their supporters much to cheer.

They committed only eight turnovers after a combined 49 in their prior two games, but were out-rebounded 53-41 and shot just 39.2 percent from the field.

Washington felt the absence of guard and leading scorer Bradley Beal, who hurt his left shoulder in Saturday’s road loss at Atlanta, and forward Nene, who was sidelined by back spasms.

PELICANS FINALLY WIN

The New Orleans Pelicans finally notched their first win of the season, snapping a six-game losing streak with a 120-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

However, the triumph was shadowed by an injury to star forward Anthony Davis, who exited with a hip contusion early in the third quarter after scoring 17 points and pulling down seven rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor.

Guards Eric Gordon, Ish Smith and Toney Douglas also each scored 17 points for the Pelicans, who handed the Mavs their third defeat in four games.

JAMES CARRIES CAVS AGAIN

Superstar LeBron James scored 17 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied for a 118-114 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The Cavs trailed by as many as nine in the final period — before James stole a pass, dribbled the length of the floor, drawing a foul as he powered to the basket, and converted the three-point play that energised his team.

James added eight assists and seven rebounds for Cleveland, who survived 16 turnovers to notch their seventh straight win and remain nbeaten in five home games this season.

HEAT BURN LAKERS

Kobe Bryant was a late scratch with back trouble, watching from the sideline as his Los Angeles Lakers fell 101-88 to the Miami Heat.

“I’ve been dealing with the back a little bit during training camp,” said the 37-year-old Bryant, who just this weekend was saying he wanted to play every game he could in his 20th and possibly final season. “Today, I couldn’t shake it free.”

November 11, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players Tags:,
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Bryant reigns, but Lakers lose

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

The New York Knicks, aided by a late three-pointer from Langston Galloway, beat the Los Angeles Lakers 99-95 on Sunday to lend a bittersweet flavour to Kobe Bryant’s likely last game at Madison Square Garden.

The 37-year-old Bryant, in his 20th and probably final season with the Lakers, says he doesn’t want the 2015-16 campaign to turn into a farewell tour.

But he may not be able to prevent it, if the adoring reception he received from New York basketball fans is any indication.

“It felt amazing,” said Bryant, who drew a roar almost every time he touched the ball.

Bryant had received a similar welcome across town in Brooklyn two nights earlier, but the cheers resonated even more in Madison Square Garden, the storied Manhattan venue where Bryant played his first NBA All-Star Game in 1998 and where he scored a stunning 61 points against the Knicks on February 2, 2009.

He entered the game with the highest scoring average at the Garden of any active player at 30.7 points per game in 15 games.

“I remember coming in my first game here, not knowing what the hell to expect, what to do,” Bryant said. “To be here 20 years later and have that (cheering) happen feels amazing.”

Although Bryant said he wasn’t certain that was his Madison Square Garden farewell, Lakers coach Byron Scott said this weekend he’d had his first real hint from the player that he wouldn’t return after his current contract expires at the end of the season.

Scott told reporters in New York he had asked Bryant about something coming up next summer.

“His answer was ‘This might be my last year,’” Scott said.

The five-time NBA champion led the Lakers with 18 points on six-of-18 shooting.

Centre Roy Hibbert added 18 points and nine rebounds and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson contributed 10 points.

But a close game got away from the Lakers in late in the fourth quarter.

Galloway drained a three-pointer with two minutes remaining for a two-point Knicks lead and the hosts never trailed again on the way to their first home win of the season.

Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with a game-high 24 points, 11 of them in the fourth quarter and also pulled down eight rebounds.

After the game Bryant traded hugs and chats with some former Lakers colleagues, including ex-coach Phil Jackson, now the Knicks president, and former teammate Sasha Vujacic.

But former teammate Derek Fisher, another ex-Laker, wasn’t on the floor for the post-game embraces having been ejected in the third quarter for arguing when Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was called for a foul on Bryant.

CAVS HOLD OFF PACERS

LeBron James, battling a sore left quadriceps, scored 29 points, grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Indiana Pacers 101-97 for a sixth straight victory.

James, who had said he would undergo round-the-clock treatment after taking a knee to the thigh in a game on Friday, didn’t disappoint, nor did teammate Kevin Love, whose 22 points included two key shots in the final minute.

Love’s uncontested dunk with 8.2 seconds remaining sealed the game and his own best performance of the season. He also collected 19 rebounds, blocked three shots and handed out two assists.

Love and James combined for 18 of the Cavaliers’ 27 points in the fourth quarter.

Paul George scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Pacers, but a near four-minute scoreless spell late in the fourth ended Indiana’s hopes.

AFP

November 9, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

Lakers drop Bryant future hint

 Lakers drop Bryant future hint

Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers president Jim Buss hinted the club would be ready to hold discussions about possibly extending Kobe Bryant’s NBA career when the star’s current contract expires at the end of the 2015-2016 season.

Buss told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published on Friday that Bryant’s history with the Lakers ought to grant him the opportunity to call time on his career on his own terms.

“We’re going to approach it like it is, but that doesn’t mean it is,” Buss said of Bryant’s possible final season in the NBA.

“I’m not going to sit there and say, ‘This is it, Kobe, you’re done,’ because it’s not my decision, it’s his decision.”

Bryant, 37, will earn $25 million this year. He was granted a two-year contract worth $48.5 million in 2013 but has since played only 41 games over two seasons because of knee and shoulder injuries.

Buss hit back at critics of the decision to award Bryant such a generous contract despite his advancing years and injury record.

“The man has done so much for the Lakers and the fans of the Laker nation, he deserves the money,” Buss said.

“I don’t understand anybody trying to break down what I did for him. Let’s break down what he did for us, then say, what is he worth? To me, he’s worth that.”

Asked if he expected this season to be Bryant’s final year with the team, Buss reportedly extended his arms wide open and replied: “My arms are like this.”

“He just has to know, at that age, and that many miles on you, what is your role? We’ll explain the role, and if he still wants to do that and that’s how he wants to go out, that’s fine with me,” Buss said.

Bryant has won five NBA titles with the Lakers, in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.

August 29, 2015 By : Category : English featured Players 0 Comment

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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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

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