6th December, 2010
The second quarter of 2010 can be best described as a very busy period in theÂ country and rest of the world, with clubs competing for honours in the league, whileÂ the national teams that qualified for the FIBA World Cup stepped upÂ preparationsÂ for the global championships.
The quarter under review began with Onigbongbo Local Development Area, LCDA,Â commissioning a basketball court in the premises of Oregun High School, Oregun.
Chairman of the LCDA, Honourable Idowu Obasa, stated during the commissioning thatÂ all efforts was being made to take the sport to the nooks and crannies of the LCDA.
Nigerian American Basketball Association, NABA, also held a youth camp inÂ conjunction with the Lagos State Basketball Association, LSBA, at the Rowe ParkÂ Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos State during the period.
Coordinator of the five-day programme, Beneofori George, was satisfied with theÂ turnout of over 5,000 kids across the state in attendance. The kids were tutored theÂ rudimentÂ of the sport by top coaches like Adeka Daudu, the former National TeamÂ head coach; Alabi Adelanwa, a former Chairman of Lagos State Sports Council, LSSCÂ and another former National team head coach, Agboola Pinheiro.
In the Womenâ€™s Premier League sponsored by Zenith Bank, First Bank, that planned toÂ retain their title after finishing third at the end of the second phase of theÂ league in Asaba, Delta State, were dethroned by the First Deepwater Basketball ClubÂ of Lagos. Thus, First Deepwater defeated them 66-49 points and halted their reign ofÂ about 7 years.
Ijeoma Uchendu, who emerged the Best Rebounder of the season and Nkechi Akashili,Â the Most Valuable Player, MVP, of the season were the heroines of the finals. BothÂ players worked together to undo the Aderemi Adewunmi-tutored Elephants Girls, as theÂ First Bank team are popularly known.
Before the commencement of the Menâ€™s League, sponsored by Multichoice/ DSTV, whichÂ began in April after several postponements, the Nigeria Basketball Federation NBBFÂ met with club owners in both the Atlantic and Savannah conferences and inauguratedÂ several committees for effective management of the game in the country.
Some of the committees set up during the quarter under review were the AdvisoryÂ council, known as Elders committee, Media and Publicity, Medical and Anti-Doping,Â Mini and Youth basketball and Facility and Capacity Building committees.
Others included the Women Development, Adjudication and Disciplinary, Technical andÂ Marketing sponsorship committees, while the League Board was also inaugurated duringÂ the period.
The second quarter also saw Chariot Basketball Club of Lagos and NigeriaÂ Immigrations Basketball Club of Kano gaining promotion to the Premier League afterÂ the conclusion of Division 1 League in Kaduna State.
However, three weeks into the league, an ugly incident occurred between a player ofÂ Â Dadon Warriors Basketball Club of Lagos, Ewaoche Obekpa and a referee. The playerÂ attacked the referee during their league match against Lagos Islanders Basketball atÂ the Indoor Sports Hall of National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. The unruly attitude ledÂ to his suspension from the league during the period.
In the schools basketball, the International School, University of Lagos, ISL andÂ Ilupeju Grammar School picked the tickets to represent Lagos State in the NestleÂ Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship. While ISL qualified for the NationalÂ finals in Lagos, Ilupeju Grammar School lost out at the zonal level in the WesternÂ conference finals.
In their bid to develop the sport, NBBF, organised an All Stars Game, which saw theÂ best in the Atlantic conference and Savannah conference taking on eachother.
The federation however called for bids to host the event including the final-8Â Play-offs. The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and LagosÂ presented bids and hosted the events.
On the international scene, FIBA, the world basketball governing body also unveiledÂ the official mascot for the 2010 FIBA World cup, which came up in Turkey. The mascotÂ Bascat beat other mascots, Onecat and Micho, to become the official mascot.
Also in the second quarter, FIBA confirmed the city of Barcelona, Spain, as theÂ sixth city and one of the venues to host the games of the 2014 FIBA World cup. In aÂ related development, the FIBA Europe General Assembly nominated the FrenchÂ Basketball Federation President, Yvan Mainini, as its candidate for the FIBA WorldÂ Presidency election.
While Joakim Noah of Chicago Bulls became a rebounding machine averaging 16 boardsÂ with three games to the end of the regular season, the date for the dunking off ofÂ the National Basketball Association, NBA, final play-offs was also confirmed.
The quarter however ended on a sad note for lovers of the sport, as John Wooden, theÂ peerless United States college basketball coach, died at theÂ age of 99 on 28 May,Â 2010.Â The legend won a record 10 National Championship at the University College ofÂ Los Angeles, UCLA, and was known as the â€œwizard of the Westwoodâ€.