After dropping Ben Uzoh and Ike Diogu in the 15-player provisional list, D’Tigers of Nigeria head coach Mike Brown has heaped plaudits on the guys who ‘laid the foundation’ for Nigerian Basketball.
37 year old Ike Diogu will not be at the Olympics this year, after representing Nigeria in two consecutive Olympics 2012 and 2016, he also clinched the 2015 AfroBasket title, plus been named 2017 AfroBasket MVP, where he averaged 22 Points per game. Coach Brown who also doubles as the assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors was full of praise for his contributions to the history of the national team alongside Al-Farouq Aminu and Ben Uzoh.
The aforementioned, former Cavs coach, assures Nigerians that they will pick the torch from where they all left it.
“We have to appreciate the people that laid the foundation down in 2012 and 2016, the Ike Diogu now Al-Farouq Aminu. Those types of guys laid a strong foundation for this program back in the day when they didn’t have as much attention or resources or anything like that. They played when it was extremely hard. And so we’re more than appreciative of what they’ve laid down in terms of foundation and we want to just continue to build on that. So we don’t want to banish anything, we want to showcase that. We want to let those guys know, we were proud of what they did back there, just getting to the olympics and we hope to be able to take that torch and continue moving up so that the next generation that comes after these players and myself can continue to just rise up.”Coach Mike Brown
Al-Farouq Aminu is a household name in the Nigerian Basketball Community, his contributions will be missed surely. Unlike Diogu and Uzoh, Aminu pulled out of the list days before Mike Brown named his 15-player provisional list. He competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics. On August 30, 2015, Aminu with the D’Tigers of Nigeria won the 2015 FIBA Africa Championship (AfroBasket) in Tunisia by defeating Angola 74–65. He was also named in the All-Star Five of the 2015 Afrobasket.
Ben Uzoh was with Rivers Hoopers Basket Club at the Basketball Africa League, where finished as a top former for the Kingsmen. He also played for the Nigerian national basketball team at the 2013, 2015, and 2017 FIBA Men’s African Championships. He was also a member of the Nigerian team that participated at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
With the likes of Precious Achiuwa, Jordan Nwora Ike Iroegbu and others in camp, it further suggests that the future of Nigerian Basketball is in safe hands.