Tournament

African trio on the free-agent frenzy

African trio on the free-agent frenzy

Luol Deng

The NBA free-agency period is due on Wednesday, and a number of high-profile players are set to decide their future destinations.

Among the six Africa-born NBA players who featured in the 2014-15 season, three may switch teams during this offseason.

NOTE – Restricted free agency means the team that owns the player’s rights may match offers. Player and team options must be decided on soon, typically by June 30.

While South Sudan native Luol Deng, an unrestricted free-agent, has opted into his $10.2 million 2015-16 salary with the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets centreBismackBiyombo as well as Philadelphia 76ers forward Luc Mbah a Moute are yet to decide their NBA future.

Unlike Deng, Biyombo, a restricted free-agent who was selected seventh overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Hornets, may be on the move, judging by his recent comments.

In the wake of last week’s NBA draft, Biyombo welcomed his fellow Congolese Emmanuel Mudiay who was selected seventh overall by the Denver Nuggets.

Then, on Monday, the Lubumbashi native took to his twitter account to appreciate the fans in Charlotte.

“I’m excited and look forward to my new home,” he twetted suggesting he is on his way out Hornets.

He went on to “appreciate the people in the whole organisation. You guys Have been great to me and I wish you nothing but the best. God bless,” he concluded.

During his four-year time with the Hornets, Bismack averaged 4.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.

On the other hand, Cameroonian Luc Mbah a Moute, an unrestricted free-agent, continues to be linked to a number of teams including the New Orleans Pelicans, or even extend his stay in Philadelphia.

Back in April, the seven-year veteran said to Philadelphia local press: “I always thought they viewed me as part of what they were doing here.

“We will see what happens this summer. But pretty much what’s been kind of [established] is that I’m part of what they are trying to grow here. I’m part of the culture.”

Mbah a Moute has spent the first five seasons of his NBA career with the Milwaukee Buck. He had a short spell with the Sacramento Kings, and before he joined the Sixers, the Cameroonian played for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

List of top 10 free-agents:

1. LaMarcus Aldridge (Unrestricted), Power Forward, Portland Trail Blazers

2. Marc Gasol (Unrestricted), Centre, Memphis Grizzlies

3. Kawhi Leonard (Restricted), Small Forward, San Antonio Spurs

4. Kevin Love (Unrestricted), Power Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers

5. Jimmy Butler (Restricted), Shooting Guard, Chicago Bull

6. DeAndre Jordan (Unrestricted), Centre, Los Angeles Clippers

7. Draymond Green (Restricted), Power Forward, Golden State Warriors

8. GoranDragic (Unrestricted), Point Guard, Miami Heat

9. Paul Millsap (Unrestricted), Power Forward, Atlanta Hawks

10. Brandon Knight (Restricted Free Agent), Point Guard, Phoenix Suns

Note – Four-time MVP LeBron James has reportedly opted out with the Cleveland Cavaliers but is expected to re-sign with the team.

July 1, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
0 Comment

NBA more international than ever

NBA more international than ever

Festus Ezeli

NBA players born outside the USA continue to strive in the league as we have never seen before.

Official figures from the National Basketball Association (NBA) showed that a record 101 international players from 37 countries and territories were on opening night rosters for the 2014-15 seasons.

That figure marked the first time the NBA had more than 100 international players.

Three decades on, since the beginning of an influx of Europeans, Africans, Asian and South Americans, the NBA has become an international showpiece, giving plenty of reasons to call the national champions the world champions.

Looking at the 2015 Finals in which the Golden State Warriors won their second title since 1975, six international players – Andrew Bogut and Mathew Dellavedova

June 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
0 Comment

Espoir completes league season on high note

Espoir completes league season on high note

Espoir will face tough task holding CSK’s Buzungu in the play-offs series

National basketball league

Saturday

Espoir 93-80 IPRC-Kigali

30-Plus 35-76 APR

Women

UR- CASS 58-57 The Hoops

Friday

CSK 87-80 IPRC-Kigali

REIGNING CHAMPIONSEspoir basketball club has had another bright league season after completing the season mauling IPRC-Kigali 93-80 in a tight match played on Saturday.

Espoir finished on top of the table in the regular season with 35 points after winning 17 matches and losing only once. They are closely followed by Patriots BBC on 32 points and APR BBC on 31 points.

In the women category, APR thrashed 30-Plus 76-35; UR-College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) narrowly won 58-57 over The Hoops Rwanda.

APR women basketball club are champions with 15 points secured in 15 matches won and lost once. Last year’s champions Ubumwe have dethroned as they finished second with 14 points.

After the regular league, action will continue with Play-offs scheduled to begin over the weekend.

Besides Espoir, other teams which qualified for the play-offs include;Patriots, APR and CSK in the men’s category.

The women category will be played by APR,Ubumwe, The Hoops and UR Huye respectively.

It will be an interesting affair in the men’s play-offs as CercleSporif de Kigali (CSK) basketball club is determined to dethrone holders Espoir as champions of the playoffs series.

The two giants met in last year’s finals, and will again come head-to-head in the best-of-three semi-finals with the Game 1 scheduled for Friday evening.

Newly-formed Patriots BC, who finished second, will be up against third-placed APR will vying for a ticket to the best-of-five finals.

Three weeks ago, the later lost 55-57 to CSK in the final of the local Genocide Memorial Tournament.

Last year, Jean Bahufite’sEspoir claimed the title after overpowering CSK in a four-game series of finals (3-1) and former Rwanda’s international of Mike Buzangu of CSK was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the competition.

June 30, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
0 Comment

Blazers send Batum to Hornets for Vonleh, Henderson

Nicolas Batum

Nicolas Batum

 French forward Nicolas Batum was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday for NBA veteran guard Gerald Henderson and forward Noah Vonleh.

The deal was announced on the eve of the NBA Draft, where both clubs will try and land the best available young talent entering the league from the international and college ranks.

Batum started 428 of 481 appearances for the Trail Blazers, averaging 11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30.8 minutes a night. His 751 career 3-pointers rank third on Portland’s all-time list.

“NicBatum was a key contributor to all of our recent success,” said Neil Olshey, the Blazers’ president of basketball operations. “He will truly be missed as a person and a player. We wish Nic all the best for the future.”

Vonleh, 19, was taken with the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft by Charlotte. He averaged 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 25 games for the Hornets last season.

Henderson has career averages of 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists over six seasons with Charlotte.

AFP

June 26, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

APR BBC to miss trio ahead of Playoffs

APR BBC to miss trio ahead of Playoffs

FORMER LEAGUEchampions APR basketball club is set to miss three key players in the play-offs after they sustained injuries in the just concluded Genocide Memorial tournament (GMT) a fortnight ago.

APR BBC will face in-form Patriots BBC next month in the Play-offs competition without skipper and forward Parfait Ishimwe, point guard Pascal Niyonkuru and forward Ally Ruzigande all suffered ankle injuries, according to head coach Cliff Owuor.

This season alone, APR BBC has lost twice to newcomers Patriotsin the national league and if APR wins their last game against struggling 30-Plus on June 28, they will be assured of acing CyrilleKalima’s side for the third time this year.

APR and Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) both have 29 points from 17 games but the military side ranks third courtesy of a better point average (points scored over points conceded)

Espoir and Ubumwe basketball club are the defending league champions in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.

June 25, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
0 Comment

Reigning champions Espoir sink CSK

Olivier Shyaka scored a team high 30 Points to lead Espoir to a massive 102-88 win over CSK

Olivier Shyaka scored a team high 30 Points to lead Espoir to a massive 102-88 win over CSK

Reigning Basketball league champions Espoir thrashed rivals Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 102-88 as they surge to retain the national basketball league on Sunday.

The match which was staged at University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology courts saw Olivier Shyaka scoring a team high 30 points.

To Espoir, it was a well-deserved revenge after they lost to CSK 55-57 in the final of the local Genocide memorial tournament two weeks ago.

Shooting guard Lionnel Hakizimana added 17 points while team captain Aristide Muagabe contributed 15 points for Jean Bahufite’s team.

CSK’s Congolese forward Mike Buzangu scored a game high 35 points but his effort wasn’t enough to spare his team defeat.

CSK won the first quarter 26-25 but failed to keep the momentum and went on to lose the second and third 26-21 and 27-12, respectively, before former Rwanda international Buzangu led his side to an almost meaningless 29-24 final quarter win.

Elsewhere, Rusizi beat University of Rwanda’s College of Education (UR- CoE) 62-51, while Patriots snatched an away 65-59 win over University of Rwanda- College of Arts and Social Sciences (UR- CASS) on Saturday.

Matches played last weekend:

Thursday, 18th June 2015

1 PATRIOTS BC vs 30 Plus BBC 91 47

Saturday, 20th June 2015

2 UR-Huye BBC vs PATRIOTS BC 59 65

Sunday, 21st May 2015

3 RUSIZI BBC vs UR-CE BBC 62 51

4 ESPOIR BBC vs CSK BBC 102 88

5 IPRC-Kigali BBC vs IPRC-South BBC 61 73

National Basketball League Standings

1 ESPOIR BBC 17 16/1 0 33 1258 912 1,38

2 Patriots BC 18 14/4 0 32 1287 935 1,38

3 APR BBC 17 12/5 0 29 1108 892 1,24

4 CSK BBC 17 12/5 0 29 1216 1041 1,17

5 IPRC-South BBC 18 10/8 0 28 1160 1070 1,08

6 IPRC-Kigali BBC 16 9/7 0 25 1042 892 1,17

7 RUSIZI BC 18 6/12 0 24 951 1268 0,75

8 UR-Huye BBC 18 4/14 0 22 944 1112 0,85

9 30 Plus BBC 17 2/15 0 19 798 1165 0,68

10 UR-CE BBC 18 1/16 1 18 675 1204 0,56

June 23, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament 0 Comment

Curry, Iguodala lift Warriors to end 40-year NBA title drought

The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio 

The Golden State Warriors celebrate winning the 2015 NBA Finals on June 16, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio

An emotional Golden State Warriors squad captured its first NBA title in 40 years on Tuesday, holding off the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 to win the NBA Finals.

NBA regular season Most Valuable Player Steph Curry and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Andre Iguodala each scored 25 points as the Warriors took the best-of-seven series four games to two to claim their first crown since 1975 and fourth overall.

“World champions,” Curry said. “This is something special. This is a special group. From the start of the season this is what we envisioned. We’re going to remember this for a long time.”

Iguodala spent 758 games as a starter before being consigned to a reserve role this season, only to become a starter for Golden State in the final three games.

The move produced a faster lineup that sparked the Warriors to wins in each game to subdue the stubborn Cavaliers.

“This is awesome,” Iguodala said. “This is what we talked about, staying strong, staying with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal.”

Iguodala saved his scoring season-high for the trophy-clinching game while Draymond Green added 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Golden State in the decider.

“This is great,” Iguodala said. “We’re going to remember this for a long time.”

Curry joined Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy as the only point guards to win the regular-season NBA MVP award and capture the league title in the same season, a thrill he shared with his father Dell, a former NBA standout who never claimed the crown.

“He played 16 years and never got the chance to enjoy this,” Curry said. “He can enjoy this through me and the whole team. Unimaginable feeling.”

Cleveland’s LeBron James scored 32 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and passed out nine assists to lead the Cavaliers, who could not bring Cleveland its first sports title since 1964.

James fell to 2-4 in NBA Finals appearance, a far cry from the 6-0 mark prior NBA superstar Michael Jordan had in the finals.

NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED

Golden State became the first team since the 1991 Chicago Bulls to win a title with no players having prior NBA Finals experience and Steve Kerr became the first rookie coach to capture the crown since Pat Riley with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1982.

“It’s a great feeling,” Kerr said. “From the beginning we were in it to win it.”

James, 30, became the youngest by a year to join the 5,000 career NBA playoff points club alongside Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Cleveland trimmed a 13-point Golden State lead after the first quarter to 45-43 at half-time and began the third quarter with baskets by TimofeyMozgov and Tristan Thompson to give the Cavaliers their first lead since the early minutes.

But the Warriors answered with a 24-8 scoring run, Iguodala scoring seven points while Festus Ezeli scored the last six points, the Nigerian’s 3-point play giving Golden State a 69-55 advantage.

Down 75-61 early in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers went on a 7-0 run, James contributing a layup and fast break dunk to halve the Warriors’ lead.

CURRY SHINES

But Curry and Iguodala each had two 3-pointers to spark Golden State on a 17-9 run for a 92-77 edge with 6:01 to play.

Again Cleveland battled back. J.R. Smith added three 3-pointers and James a layup to pull the Cavs within 101-97 with 33 seconds remaining, but Curry and Iguodala sank late free throws to seal the victory.

Curry scored seven consecutive points to give Golden State an early 13-8 edge and the Warriors closed the first quarter with an 11-2 run for a 28-15 lead. The Cavaliers made nine turnovers in the first quarter while the Warriors shared 11 assists in pulling away.

James and reserve James Jones each scored five points in a 12-4 run to open the second quarter, pulling the Cavaliers within 32-27. The Warriors missed nine shots in a row and 10 of their first 11 in the period.

Cleveland closed the first half with an 8-2 run, Thompson’s rebound dunk pulling the Cavaliers within 45-43 at half-time.

June 19, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:,
0 Comment

Ferwaba renews contract for U-16 basketball team coaches

Albert Buhake

Albert Buhake

Rwanda basketball federation has given two-year contracts to U-16 national basketball teams coaches (boys and girls) following their prowess in the just concluded Zone V qualifiers.

The development was confirmed by Rwanda Basketball Federation president Desire Mugwiza on Wednesday evening.

The coaches include former Kicukiro BC and KIE player, Albert Buhake, 43, is in charge of the boys’ team and is assisted by Jacques Bahige, while Charles Mushumba coaches the girls’ team and has two assistants, Dusabimana Eric and EspéranceMukaneza.

Rwanda U-16 boys’ team qualified for the continental championships for the first time after defeating Ethiopia in the Zone V qualifiers that attracted only two teams last month at Amahoro indoor stadium.

The girls’ team qualified for the Afro-basket tourney without playing the Zone V qualifiers after the other member countries failed to send teams.

June 19, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:,
0 Comment

Warriors can end 40-year drought by downing Cavs

Game four of the 2015 NBA Finals

Game four of the 2015 NBA Finals

Steph Curry and his Golden State teammates face the biggest game of their careers Tuesday as the Warriors visit Cleveland with a chance to capture their first NBA title in 40 years.

Coming off a 104-91 home triumph Sunday, the Warriors own a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven championship series with the Cavaliers needing a game-six victory to force a seventh game Friday back in California.

“This is going to be the biggest game any of us have ever played in our careers,” said Warriors forward Andre Iguodala.

“It’s all about staying locked in, about knowing it’s not going to be given to us. We have to earn it.”

NBA Most Valuable Player Curry has recovered from dehydration after a 37-point performance in game five and will be ready Tuesday.

“The closeout game is always the hardest game in every series, but particularly in the finals,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

“There’s a lot of emotion. You’re right there on the cusp of something, but you still have to get the job done, and in this case we’ll be on the road against a great team.”

None of Golden State’s players were alive in 1975 when the Warriors last won the NBA Finals. And the lineup could become the first with no prior NBA Finals experience to take the crown since the 1991 Chicago Bulls.

“Treat it like game seven,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “As much as we would love to win it in front of our fans, we really want to finish it in Cleveland.”

But LeBron James, carrying the scoring and set-up load for the injury-hit Cavaliers around a set of role players, has other ideas.

“We don’t want them celebrating at all, no matter if it’s on our home floor or their home floor,” James said. “We’ve come this far and we’ve been very good at home.”

Fatigued by a fast-paced Warriors lineup and limited substitution options, the Cavaliers were beaten handily at home in game four, something they hope to avoid repeating.

“We have to understand why we weren’t good in game four,” James said. “We had a lack of energy. We had a lack of effort in a lot of areas in game four and we can’t repeat that or they will raise the trophy for sure.”

The Warriors could become the first team with a rookie coach to win the title since Pat Riley with the 1982 Los Angeles Lakers.

But James is a threat for a breakout game at any stage after an all-around performance for the ages in the final.

“He’s phenomenal. He does everything,” Kerr said of James. “But I’m not enjoying the marvelling.”

CAVS IN DOG FIGHT

Cleveland guard J.R. Smith vows the Cavaliers will not go down without a fight.

“We just have to come out swinging. That’s the only thing we can do,” Smith said.

“We’re in a dogfight and our backs are against the wall. You just have to find a way to dig down and come up with those plays.”

Iguodala, who has come off the Golden State bench to tightly guard James and provide a speed and scoring spark, would be only the second teammate of an NBA MVP to win the NBA Finals MVP award, the first being Magic Johnson in 1980 as a Lakers rookie after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the season MVP award.

“We have to come out early and try to establish ourselves. The first few minutes is going to be really important,” Iguodala said. “They might be tired but they can push through (fatigue) for a game or two and we have to realize that.

“They are going to keep fighting. Their mentality is fight to the end. We know how tough it’s going to be. We’ve had some tough games closing out series and this will probably be 10 times as tough.”

But Golden State has the confidence to trade big shots with the game on the line or battle back from behind.

“It’s a very confident group,” Kerr said. “They have had a heck of a season and they are playing at a high level.”

June 17, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:
0 Comment

Espoir, Berco Stars reign in Basketball Memorial tournament

Espoir, Berco Stars reign in Basketball Memorial tournament

2015 GMT Edition

Finals

Men

Espoir (Rwanda) 78-49 PJB Goma (DR Congo)

Women

Berco Stars (Burundi) 66-50 PJB Goma (DR Congo)

RWANDA’S REIGNING champions Espoir and Burundi’s Berco Stars were prowess as they won the regional basketball Genocide Memorial Tournament (GMT) held in Kigali last weeked.

Espoir lifted the men’s category while Berco Stars emerged the women category winner after beating PJB Goma of Democratic Republic of Congo in the finals on Sunday night at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.

A 78-49 win over PJB Goma was enough for Espoir to be granted of victory while Burundian giants Berco Stars defeated PJB Goma 66-50 despite of the on-going civil war in Bujumbura capital.

Berco Stars’ guard Florence SifaKalume was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the women’s category while Congolese-born power forward BienvenueNgandu of Espoir scooped the accolade in the men’s category.

After retaining the regular league and GMT titles, Espoir are eyeing play-offs and FIBA Africa Zone Five Club Championships crowns for a complete quadruple this season.

June 17, 2015 By : Category : English featured Tournament Tags:,
0 Comment