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Btw, if you have DirecTV, there's an Olympic basketball channel (752 on mine). I'm watching the US women (they're playing awful), but there's no commercials. I'm not sure if this will be the case for all the games, but it'd be great if it was. It's real interesting.
As the Nigerian team get ready to kick off their Olympic campaign in the East end of London, we take a look at the 12 man roster and see what each of them bring to the team.
Olumide Oyedeji - 6'10 - Centre: "Big O" as is he is fondly called by his team-mates, Olumide is a graduate of Loyola College Ibadan and a role model for all aspiring Nigerian basketball player because of his commitment and dedication to the progress of the team. He is the captain and has been a member of the Nigerian team since he was 16 gracing the world junior championships in 1999. He is now 31 and is fulfilling his childhood dream of representing Nigeria at the Olympics. A former NBA player, Oyedeji might not have some of the athleticism that made him a top player in his early years, but defensively he is a factor, he is a big body inside that can cause problems for opposing players. If he does not get into early foul trouble, he can be a major defensive presence inside for Nigeria.
Ike Diogu - 6'9 - Power Forward: Nigeria’s scoring and rebounding leader in the qualifying rounds with averages of 16.6 points and 10.6 rebounds, Diogu comes with high level fundamentals that is very hard to teach. He is versatile enough to play with his back to the basket, or face up and knock down the jump shot consistently. Although Injuries and age have taken a toll on the athleticism that he had in his
younger days, he is still able to use his body to get good position for the rebounds. Expect him to lead from the front during the Olympics. Ike is also one of the few players on the team with NBA experience, he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2005 after having a standout Collegiate career with Arizona State.
Ade Dagunduro - 6'5 - Shooting Guard: One of the most dependable players on the Nigerian team, Dagunduro is a guy that plays with major effort all the time. On defence, he is very hard to take off the dribble, and on offence he is a very strong finisher at the rim. He has not shown enough consistency with the jump shot to call him a shooter, but he did knock down some import shots for Nigeria in the Venezuela qualifiers. Dagunduro brings in stability to the team, and showed to be versatile enough to cover the point guard position when in need. He is one of those players that every coach would like to have on their side as you know he will give you 100% effort all the time. Dagunduro averaged 10 points and 3 rebounds in Venezuela.
Al Farouq Aminu - 6'9 - Small Forward:The youngest player on the squad at only 21, and the only player on the team that plays in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets, Farouq plays like a man on the court. He is a defensive specialist, be it in a one on one situation or on the help defence, the younger Aminu, had five big blocks in the do or die game against Dominican Republic. Farouq's verstality makes it easier for him to move around the floor and play in multiple positions. On offence, Aminu’s strength is getting to the basket. He has shown that he is capable of taking his man of the dribble with his quickness and uses his athleticsm to finish strong at the rim. Al Farouq has adapted very well to International play, cutting down on the jump shots and being more of a penetrator, Al Farouq has deifinitly played with maturity and expect him to be a future NBA star. He avearged 13 points and 5 rebounds in the qualifiers.
Tony Skinn - 6'1 - Point Guard: One of three players born in Nigeria, Skinn left to America at the age of two and has not been back ever since. The point guard of the team, and the main orchestrator of the offence, Anthony Oludewa Skinn comes with a reputation of having ice in his veins. He is the type of player you want with the ball in his hands when the game is on the line as he has a knack of hitting game winning shots. Although small in stature, Skinn makes up for that with his quickness and toughness on the court, he plays with a lot of confidence, and the team will be relying on him to play a grown mans game during the Olympics. Skinn averaged 10 points and 2.8 assists in the qualifiers.
Derrick Obasohan - 6'6 - Small Forward: Obasohan has been a memebr of the Senior team since 2006 is the kind of player that can get you 20 points in a game and you would not even know that he is on the court, when his game is on, he can be very deadly from range, of the dribble and can get his points in a variety of ways. Obasohan was the leading scorer in the last African Championship, and he provides a scoring option for Nigeria when the chips are down. He hit five threes in the victory over Lithuania in the qualifiers.
Alade Aminu - 6'10 - Power Forward: The older Aminu brother and the tallest player on the squad, Alade was the last player to join the team during the qualifiers as he was wrapping up the treble for his club Chalon in France. Aminu took time to blend into the team, often being benched by Coach Bakare for not following instructions, but all that change in the last three games of the qualifiers. Aminu started to understand his role better, and was one of the best players for Nigeria through the last stretch on defense and offence. He causes mismatch problems for defenders, as he is very quick for a big man, and he is a deceptively good jump shooter. Expect Aminu to play a very big role during the tournament.
Ejike Ugboaja - 6'9 - Power Forward: Ugboaja is a veteran of the Nigerian team having been playing for the Junior squad since 2003. He was the first and till date I believe the only player ever to be drafted by an NBA team straight from Nigeria after he was picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006 although he is yet to play a game for them, splitting his time in Europe and Asia. Ejike is a similar player to Oyedeji as he is a big body who specialises on defence. He likes to block shots and will proved good cover for our big men inside.
Chamberlain Oguchi - 6'6 - Shooting Guard: A member of the Nigerian squad since 2005, the former Oregon State standout is Nigeria’s three-point specialist, Oguchi on his day can shoot the lights out from range, he hit some important three pointers for Nigeria in Venezuela and I expect him to continue to do the same in London. Oguchi sat out the last game against Dominica Republic citing a shoulder injury, and the team will hope that he is fully recovered for the start of the Olympic games.
Ekene Ibekwe - 6'9 - Power Forward: Another member of the Nigerian team since 2005, Ibekwe rose into the limelight for Nigeria after a 22 point effort against Dirk Nowitzki Germany in the FIBA world championships in 2006. An athletic power forward with a knack of doing something spectacular on offence, Ibekwe is the kind of player that if you don’t box out will dunk on you. He is a high level athlete that will grab tons of rebound and finishes strong at the rim. He has also been working on his shooting which has improved over the years. He recently just played in the NBA summer league, and will need to be consistent in his performance to guide Nigeria to the later stages.
Koko Archibong - 6'9 - Power Forward: A University of Pennsylvania standout, Archibong is a similar player to Ibekwe. The Koko master (had to put that in) uses his athleticism to grab rebounds and finishes strong at the rim. He has been finding it hard to find his position on the court for Nigeria, but when he gets it together, he can prove to be a major value to the team.
Richard Oruche - 6'4 - Shooting Guard: Born in Chicago, Oruche is a dynamic scoring guard that has not seen much playing time for Nigeria due to the fact that he was one of the last additions to the squad. He got a chance against Dominican republic and did some good defensive work and also making a tough basket. He is a hard worker, and I expect him to get some more minutes or the team during the Olympics.
Hey, nice time for European fans to watch some ball ...btw does anybody know why Mahinmi isn't on the french team???
Since he was a FA this off-season he decided to skip the Olympics to focus on finding a new team & contract. Not sure this was a smart move on his part as it's pretty hard to qualify for the Olympics, so he might not get another opportunity...