Busy Schedule, As Tournaments Light Up Period


The second quarter of 2010 can be best described as a very busy period in the  country and rest of the world, with clubs competing for honours in the league, while  the national teams that qualified for the FIBA World Cup stepped up  preparations  for the global championships.

The quarter under review began with Onigbongbo Local Development Area, LCDA,  commissioning a basketball court in the premises of Oregun High School, Oregun.

Chairman of the LCDA, Honourable Idowu Obasa, stated during the commissioning that  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 in  conjunction with the Lagos State Basketball Association, LSBA, at the Rowe Park  Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos State during the period.

Coordinator of the five-day programme, Beneofori George, was satisfied with the  turnout of over 5,000 kids across the state in attendance. The kids were tutored the  rudiment  of the sport by top coaches like Adeka Daudu, the former National Team  head coach; Alabi Adelanwa, a former Chairman of Lagos State Sports Council, LSSC  and another former National team head coach, Agboola Pinheiro.

In the Women’s Premier League sponsored by Zenith Bank, First Bank, that planned to  retain their title after finishing third at the end of the second phase of the  league in Asaba, Delta State, were dethroned by the First Deepwater Basketball Club  of Lagos. Thus, First Deepwater defeated them 66-49 points and halted their reign of  about 7 years.

Ijeoma Uchendu, who emerged the Best Rebounder of the season and Nkechi Akashili,  the Most Valuable Player, MVP, of the season were the heroines of the finals. Both  players worked together to undo the Aderemi Adewunmi-tutored Elephants Girls, as the  First Bank team are popularly known.

Before the commencement of the Men’s League, sponsored by Multichoice/ DSTV, which  began in April after several postponements, the Nigeria Basketball Federation NBBF  met with club owners in both the Atlantic and Savannah conferences and inaugurated  several committees for effective management of the game in the country.

Some of the committees set up during the quarter under review were the Advisory  council, known as Elders committee, Media and Publicity, Medical and Anti-Doping,  Mini and Youth basketball and Facility and Capacity Building committees.

Others included the Women Development, Adjudication and Disciplinary, Technical and  Marketing sponsorship committees, while the League Board was also inaugurated during  the period.

The second quarter also saw Chariot Basketball Club of Lagos and Nigeria  Immigrations Basketball Club of Kano gaining promotion to the Premier League after  the conclusion of Division 1 League in Kaduna State.

However, three weeks into the league, an ugly incident occurred between a player of   Dadon Warriors Basketball Club of Lagos, Ewaoche Obekpa and a referee. The player  attacked the referee during their league match against Lagos Islanders Basketball at  the Indoor Sports Hall of National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. The unruly attitude led  to his suspension from the league during the period.

In the schools basketball, the International School, University of Lagos, ISL and  Ilupeju Grammar School picked the tickets to represent Lagos State in the Nestle  Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship. While ISL qualified for the National  finals in Lagos, Ilupeju Grammar School lost out at the zonal level in the Western  conference finals.

In their bid to develop the sport, NBBF, organised an All Stars Game, which saw the  best in the Atlantic conference and Savannah conference taking on eachother.

The federation however called for bids to host the event including the final-8  Play-offs. The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Lagos  presented bids and hosted the events.

On the international scene, FIBA, the world basketball governing body also unveiled  the official mascot for the 2010 FIBA World cup, which came up in Turkey. The mascot  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 the  sixth city and one of the venues to host the games of the 2014 FIBA World cup. In a  related development, the FIBA Europe General Assembly nominated the French  Basketball Federation President, Yvan Mainini, as its candidate for the FIBA World  Presidency election.

While Joakim Noah of Chicago Bulls became a rebounding machine averaging 16 boards  with three games to the end of the regular season, the date for the dunking off of  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, the  peerless United States college basketball coach, died at the  age of 99 on 28 May,  2010.  The legend won a record 10 National Championship at the University College of  Los Angeles, UCLA, and was known as the “wizard of the Westwood”.

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