20 May 2009

NIGERIA : Felton turns Nigeria down

Former Georgia men‘s basketball coach Dennis Felton said he reluctantly declined an offer to coach Nigeria‘s national team in this summer‘s African Basketball Championship.

“As excited as I was about it, and as much an honor as it was, I just decided now is not a good time,” Felton said.

Fired by Georgia in January, Felton said he was “certainly interested in continuing coaching at some level.” He said he was concerned the Nigeria job would get in the way of more permanent opportunities. He’ll help various NBA teams with summer activities and minicamps, he said.
“I‘m very excited about all the possibilities, looking forward to the next thing that I do,” Felton said.

He recently visited Nigeria and came home enthusiastic about the nation‘s basketball potential.

“Nigeria probably enjoys the most talent of any country in Africa, yet has never been able to win the African men‘s championship,” Felton said.
“They have a brand new commitment to lift the level of their national team, so they wanted me to coach it with an eye on the African Championship in Libya and next summer‘s World Championships and ultimately the 2012 Olympics.”

Felton and Myke Scholl were the finalists to coach the D‘Tigers for the African Basketball Championship in August in Libya.

Felton and Scholl were part of the Big Man Camp Africa project in Nigeria last month and were interviewed in Abuja, on April 23. Scholl was tipped as Felton‘s assistant before Felton backed out of the job.

Other applicants for the job included the team‘s former handler, Sam Vincent, and Todd Bozeman.

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