Detlef Schrempf says Nigeria has potential to become one of greatest basketball playing nations

detlef_schrempfTwo former basketball players, Detlef Schrempf, who played in the NBA and WNBA’s Tamika Raymond say Nigeria has the potential of becoming one of the greatest basketball playing nations in the world, DailyTrust website reported.

The duo, who are in Abuja for a basketball clinic at the Old Parade Ground, Abuja under the auspices of on Sports United programs for youths, in collaboration with the Nigeria Basketball Federation, National Basketball Association (NBA), FCT Sports Council and Open Mic Society, said they were highly impressed with the potentials they have seen in the country.

Schrempf, who was the first to speak to reporters at the venue of the training programme, said besides Senegal, only Nigeria has the kids with the prospect of becoming great basketball players.

“This is something (basketball) we really want to push in Africa and Nigeria as a very good ground with abundant talents. Nigeria is the only country in the continent of Africa that has the greatest number of basketball players in the NBA, in the United States,” he said.

“Teaching the fundamentals of the basketball game it is only Nigeria and Senegal that has some of the brightest kids (prospects) in the game. But the brightest teenage players I have ever coached is Nigeria. Nigerian basketball players are very athletic, very strong and have good tall players but the fundamentals are lacking. That is why we are here to help teach this kids the basics and fundamentals,” Schrempf added.

“We are here to share our experiences with these kids and make sure they learn some basic things in basketball because people like is just fortunate to get to where I reached and achieved as a basketball player. We need to let these young and talented Nigerians know that they can achieve so much in the game,” he said.

Schrempf’s career in the NBA lasted for 16 seasons, with Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trailblazers.

A 3-time All-Star Schrempf averaged career-high 19.2 ppg for Seattle in 1994-95 season. He played a total of 1136 NBA games (starting 524), averaging 13.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 3.4 apg in 29.6 mpg.

For her part, Tamika, who was equally excited at the talents exhibited by the kids, said during the two day programmes, they would teach the players the fundamentals of the game and how to work and play together.

“Some of the players that play basketball in the US are Indians and Chinese players. Nigerian basketball players are very strong and like to make the most use of opportunity that comes their way unlike the Americans. That is why they are doing well in America,” she said.

“I am happy to be here because I think we have young basketball talents here in Nigeria. Although we have only two days to work with these young lads so we need to teach them the fundamentals of the game. We also need to teach them how to work together and play together as a team because basketball is all about team work,” she disclosed.

Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President commended the partners for the programme, saying it would afford the country an opportunity to provide a pool of talents from where the nation’s basketball would reap in years to come.


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