Last Friday at the National Stadium in Abuja, the board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) headed by Musa Kida was inaugurated by the Minister of Sport Solomon Dalung along with other 30 elected sports federation boards to steer the administration of sports in the country for the next four years.The Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), conducted elections into the boards on June 13.A day before the election in Abuja, immediate past President of the NBBF, Tijani Umar, was returned for another term at another election in Kano. Some stakeholders in Nigerian basketball were opposed to the guidelines released by the Sports Ministry.But Kida who is determined to give the game a new face in the country hit ground running as soon as his board was inaugurated. He directed the Secretary General of the federation, Chimezie Asiegbu to invite players to camp.Interestingly, as early as Thursday, July 20, Umarâ€™s faction had sent out invitation letters to the same players asking their various clubs to release them for camping. One Emmanuel Enejoh signed the letter in his capacity as Administrative Secretary.However, to stem the tide of discordant tunes from the same basketball family, Kidaâ€™s NBBF yesterday issued a disclaimer on the so-called Administrative Secretary of the Umar board, insisting that such a position does not exist. Clubs were warned not to transact any business with him on behalf of Nigerian basketball.NBBFâ€™s Technical Committee of the Kida board yesterday released the list of 29 players called to camp in Nigeria and United States ahead of the Africa Women’s Championship.The team is to be coached by Vincent James Samuel, appointed as the new Head Coach of the women senior national team in place of Scott Nnaji who is with Umar.According to the release, signed by the NBBF scribe, the foreign-based players will converge on Orlando, Florida while the home-based players alongside with some of their foreign-based counterparts such as Sarah Ogoke, Uju Ugoka and Adaora Elonu holidaying in Nigeria will converge on Lagos for the preparations for the continental outing.The Orlando camp will be led by Dâ€™Tigress Captain, Helen Ogunjimi alongside Ezinne Kalu, Promise Amukamara, Adaeze Alaeze, Ayoleka Sodade, Ndidi Madu, Cecilia Okoye, Aisha Mohammed, Patience Okpe, Sarah Imovbioh, Ugo Nwaigwe, Balogun Elizabeth, Joyce Ekworomadu and Evelyn Akhator.In Lagos, the 11 invited players will sweat it out under the watchful eyes of Peter Ahmedu and Okworogu Ochuko who were also named as part of the new technical crew.National team regulars, Chioma Udeaja (First Bank), Nkechi Akashili (First Bank), Upe Atosu (First Bank) will have a tough battle in their hands with Akaraiwe Nkem (First Bank), Elawure Tina Odion â€“ First Bank, Ukato Igere Magdalene â€“ First Bank, Nwamaka Deborah Chidinma â€“ First Bank, Ulabo Queen Roseline â€“ Dolphins, Olaosebikan Tokunbo â€“ Dolphins, Ume Nwamaka Gloria â€“ Plateau Rocks, Okonkwo Grace â€“ IGP Queens and Isaac Christiana â€“ IGP Queens all battle ready to book tickets to the tournament starting on August 18 in Bamako.However, a basketball aficionado who would not want his name in print due to his position in Nigerian sports told THISDAY last night that the country was on the path of being banned by the world governing body of the game-FIBA.â€œWhat is going on in NBBF is a shame. What we are witnessing in basketball is almost a repeat of what happened in NFF when there were elections in Warri and Abuja respectively. We all saw how Nigeria narrowly escaped being banned. But as things stand now, unless well-meaning personalities in the countryâ€™s sport intervene and get all the parties involved in the dispute to reach an agreement, Nigeria is going to throw into the waste basket all the gains made in the sport in the last four years,â€ observed the former sports administrator.The Umar led board spearheaded the turnaround in the fortunes of Nigeriaâ€™s basketball as the national team broke the jinx of never qualifying for Olympic menâ€™s basketball event with the Dâ€™Tigers debuting at the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as an encore at 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Dâ€™Tigers also won the Afrobasket for the first time in Tunisia in 2015 after several heart breaking failures in the past.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram *Kida and Umar factions claim legitimacy over playersOlawale Ajimotokan in AbujaThe battle for the control of the national basketball teams has began as the two factions claiming legitimacy have invited players to camp ahead of the Africa Women’s Basketball Championship scheduled to hold in Mali later in the year.
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It is a lazy Sunday afternoon, and Jordan McLaughlin is alone on the practice courts of the Galen Center. Travis Scott’s latest album pumps through the speakers as McLaughlin launches jumper after jumper. The only interruption of the smooth sounds of the swish of the net, the shooting machine returning the ball with a “pop” back into his hands is the rare clank of a shot off the rim.He’s been at it for quite some time. The number on the machine reads 400 shots taken — and counting.“Let me know when you want to talk,” he said, “because I’ll be here awhile.”It may be an off day for the team — they had practiced on Friday and had a scrimmage on Saturday — but not for McLaughlin, the junior point guard and de facto leader of the men’s basketball team as it looks to build upon its first appearance in the NCAA tournament in five years. The season begins on Friday with a home game against Montana.If there was any doubt last season, this is Jordan McLaughlin’s team now, for better or for worse. Following a 21-win campaign that generated genuine excitement about USC basketball for the first time since DeMar DeRozan roamed the Galen Center floor, the Trojans went into the offseason on a downbeat with two key starters departing.Gone is Julian Jacobs, the athletic, defensive stalwart who shared a leadership role with McLaughlin last season. Gone is Nikola Jovanovic, the skilled 6-foot-11 power forward who could score from inside and outside. Both declared for the NBA draft as juniors, surprising McLaughlin by forgoing their final year of college eligibility. Now, it’s on McLaughlin to be the leader.Jordan McLaughlin is ready to take the Trojans to new heights – Brian Chin | Daily Trojan“It puts a lot of pressure on me,” McLaughlin said. “But that’s one of the reasons I came here. With them departing, it was saddening, but you’ve got to move on. I’ve got to be more vocal either on or off the court, and make sure I’m leading the young guys and everybody else.”Pressure is something McLaughlin has grown accustomed to, considering USC more or less built its program around him.Born in Pasadena, McLaughlin came from an athletic family and played basketball, baseball and football as a kid. One theme was common among the sports — as a point guard in basketball, a pitcher in baseball and a quarterback in football, he always had the ball in his hands.But choosing basketball was an easy decision. He was a huge Michael Jordan fan growing up, and would try to imitate the Bulls’ legend in the movie Space Jam. “My parents would call me from the kitchen to the living room. They’d yell my name — ‘Jordan McLaughlin’ — as a little kid, and I’d try to make a layup,” he said.McLaughlin also liked the fast pace of basketball. So up the ranks he went, through recreational league, middle school, high school and travel teams. He made the varsity team as a freshman at local prep basketball powerhouse Etiwanda High School, and was a four-star recruit by his senior season (a mixtape of McLaughlin’s senior season featuring the point guard’s shooting, dribbling and passing prowess has more than 1.5 million views on YouTube.) Big-time collegiate programs came after him hard, pinging his phone daily.When decision-making time came, he was down to offers from four schools: Indiana, Kansas, UCLA and USC. The first three were traditional national powerhouses, the latter a fledgling program and a clear afterthought to football on campus.But there was something about head coach Andy Enfield’s pitch that clicked with McLaughlin.“He said I had the opportunity to come and lead the program and change it,” McLaughlin said. “USC had been struggling the past couple of years. He said I would have the opportunity to change the program around.”McLaughlin, who had chosen basketball for its fast pace, was also enthralled with how Enfield envisioned the offense would look with McLaughlin running the point — playing fast, smart and unselfish.“I fell in love with his style of play,” McLaughlin said. “He wants to play fast. He wants to score in the first eight seconds [of the shot clock], set a lot of ball screens, just play good team basketball.” And there was one more thing. Just a few days before Bill Sharman — the Boston Celtics Hall of Famer who played his college ball at USC — passed away in 2013, he agreed to have his No. 11 unretired from the Galen Center rafters for McLaughlin to wear.During McLaughlin’s recruiting visit to USC, coaches told him that he could have the number he wore throughout high school. It signified the program’s investment in McLaughlin and the future they envisioned with him leading it.So he jumped on board to USC, accepting the challenge to be the centerpiece of the rebuilding process as opposed to just another recruit elsewhere. Two years later and the ship is on course. McLaughlin’s freshman season was a struggle. Though he made the Pac-12 All-Freshman team, USC won just three conference games and lacked a veteran presence.“We lost a lot of games down the stretch due to our inexperience,” McLaughlin said. “We didn’t have anybody to control us and teach us the ways of how to win down the stretch.”With experience came wisdom. McLaughlin and his teammates turned the close losses into wins in his sophomore season, with the point guard leading the Trojans with eight 20-point games. The renaissance season culminated in a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but it ended in heartbreaking fashion when the Trojans blew a fourth quarter lead to Providence, allowing a wide-open game-winning layup at the buzzer.“Everybody was feeling it in the locker room,” McLaughlin said. “There were a few tears. It was just hardening. You don’t want your season to end like that after you haven’t gotten that far in a while for USC.”Now, expectations will be for the Trojans to make it back to March Madness — and go further. And it will be McLaughlin running the show, no longer sharing ball-handling duties with Jacobs or having the reliable Jovanovic in the post. Instead, he’ll lean on fellow junior guard Elijah Stewart in the backcourt, sophomore forwards Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu in the frontcourt and a slew of freshmen and transfers to round out the roster.Stewart, who played against McLaughlin in high school at Westchester, said there hasn’t been a year in which the point guard hasn’t improved.“Every year, he comes back and his moves get crisper, his shooting gets better, his decision-making gets better,” Stewart said. “He always adds something extra to his game. He’s just constantly evolving.”Stewart said that as a leader, McLaughlin doesn’t talk a whole lot on the court, but his words are prudent.“When he tells you something, he’s right most of the time,” Stewart said.McLaughlin’s life outside basketball ranges from maintaining his large sneaker collection (he says he has between 80-85 pairs), listening to Kendrick Lamar (“His meanings behind his verses are just ridiculous”) and working on his degree in sociology. He plans on minoring in communications and wants to be a sports commentator after his career.But first, he wants to make it to the NBA, and the next stepping-stone is a breakout junior season. McLaughlin signed onto USC with hefty expectations, as the core piece of Enfield’s first recruiting class and wearing the jersey number of a legend. Now, it’s his team, and it’s his time.“I feel a lot of pressure,” McLaughlin said. “Life is all about pressure. The game is about pressure. If you don’t accept the pressure, there’s no point in playing. You have to live up to the hype.”
He also went further to thank Coach Gehnot Rohr and the management for the opportunity of being part of the initial team, whilst wishing them the best at the World Cup.The Benue-born footballer has seen an upturn in his career over the past couple of seasons, thus earning a move to Bulgarian first division side, Lokomotiv Plovdiv.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Super Eagles’ defender, Stephen Eze is not giving up on the national team after missing out on the final cut for Russia 2018.The former Lobi Stars player, who was named in the 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup after impressing for Nigeria at the 2018 CHAN, has come out to share his disappointment at not making the final list“The past few days at the Super Eagles’ training camp have been some of the most enlightening days in my football career. There was so much I learnt from the talent that drives our team. But sadly, my journey to the World Cup ends here. I am very disappointed at not to make the final squad,” he stated on an Instagram post shortly after his exclusion.