D’Tigers General Manager, Musa Adamu has stated that NBA stars of Nigerian descent could field a complete roster of current D Tigers players at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo.
Musa, who highlighted these to newsmen said, the improved player quality in the team was the result of a deliberate policy by the current board of the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) which involved setting up a longrunning scouting program to identify and tap up players of Nigerian descent playing in the NBA and other elite leagues.
However, the appointment is undoubtedly an upgrade on the current technical set up, it feeds into the Federation’s broader strategy to get American-born NBA players of Nigerian descent to switch to D’Tigers.
“This started about two years ago when the new federation came. We started the process of scouting; we scouted over 200 Nigerians playing basketball professionally, and in schools outside Nigeria.
“We have been working so hard that we were able to bring up 44 out of them. So, out of the 44 we have over 15 NBA players that have Nigerian origin that we have talked to [and] that we have been trying to convince.
“About two or three of them just came into the NBA, others are going through a year of renewing their contracts. The ones we have here are the ones that have already signed their contracts, let me assure you that all the 15 are ready to come to play for Nigeria.”
Musa said that the six NBA affiliated players D’Tigers fielded in China could conceivably be doubled with the possibility that Nigeria could field a roster made up completely of current NBA players next year in Tokyo.
And he assured that the players aren’t being swayed to turn out for Nigeria ahead of the USA because of pecuniary considerations.
“They are NBA players so it’s not about money,” he said.
Nigeria has also reportedly made serious efforts to secure Miami Heat revelation Bam Adebayo for the D’Tigers with reports suggesting the US-born breakout star of last season’s NBA playoffs is seriously considering playing for the country at next year’s Olympics.