20 July 2012

NIGERIA : Dagunduro: 'We'll have same approach in London"

8. Ade DAGUNDURO (Nigeria)
Ade DAGUNDURO (Nigeria). Greece v Nigeria. 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men, Quarter-Finals. 6 July 2012
NGR - Dagunduro: 'We'll have same approach in London"
GUILFORD (Olympics) - Two weeks have passed since Ade Dagunduro calmly converted two free-throws with less than five seconds remaining to help his Nigeria team upset Greece 80-79 in the Quarter-Finals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
The result against the No. 4 team in the FIBA Rankings was a real shock, and praise from all over was showered on the Africans.
Now Dagunduro is trying to get over one of the most famous moments in his country's sporting history and focus on the Olympics.
The 26-year-old averaged 10 points per game in Caracas and provide many a thrill, with transition buckets, three-pointers and great defense
The plan is for the Nigerians to carry on with the same approach and determination at the London Games, where they will face Argentina, France, Lithuania, USA and Tunisia in Group A.
Nigeria will make their Olympic debut against Afrobasket champions Tunisia on 29 July while on Day 3, they will square off against the USA.
After watching Team USA trounce Great Britain 118-78 from his hotel room in Guilford, near London, on Thursday night, he says of the Americans to FIBA.com: “It is an extreme honor to play against a well coached and talented team, and we will keep playing as we have been playing so far."
Where Nigeria will finish at the Olympics is anybody's gue
Dagunduro says he and his teammates will take it “step by step” and that right now, they just need to be focused and to put their “game together.” 
It was sure together in Caracas, Venezuela.
Nigeria not only beat Greece but also stunned Lithuania.
Dagunduro says it's time to move, but that's very difficult.
He is about to play at the Olympics.
"I can’t describe what I'm living right now," he says.
“This is simply amazing.
“That win against Greece was the biggest win in African basketball. This is a big thing for African basketball.”

Being Nigerian

California-born, Dagunduro is one of nine players in the 12-man Nigeria team who grew up in the United Sates.
Tony Skinn, Ejike Ugboaja and Olumide Oyedeji were born in Nigeria, but played college basketball and professionally in the USA.
Critics say Nigeria are playing with American players rather than Nigerians.
“We are all of Nigeria descent and all of us have family in Nigeria," Dagunduro says.
“It makes no sense to say we are not Nigerians.
“We feel Nigerian, and we are proud to represent the country.
“Of course we have a real sense of the reality in Nigeria.
“When we are on court and think of our relatives back in Nigeria it gives us an extra boost to play for the country.”

Future of the national team
Nigeria's national team is experiencing the highest moment in its basketball history.
They were able to put a talented team together and then qualified for their first Olympics.
Asked about his future with the national team, Dagunduro says he leaves it in “God’s hands.”
The reason for some missing players, he says, “is because, sometimes we are stuck with contracts and family issues. That’s why it is difficult to put this team together regularly.
“I am not sure whether I will make it to the team (at Afrobasket 2013), but I would love to.
“There are more than 200 million people of Nigeria origin who could be picked for the team.
“In African basketball we are now in a very strong position as coach Bakare did a good job.”
As the Nigeria team arrived in London on Tuesday, 17 July for the remainder of their preparations on the outskirts of London, Ekene Ibekwe and Tony Skinn are expected to join the team over the weekend.
Ibekwe, who just turned 27 on Thursday, 19 July, is showing his skills in the NBA Summer League with the Portland Trailblazers.

USA on Nigeria

Nigeria’s qualification to the Olympics has raised some eyebrows.
While in Manchester, England, Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski said to FIBA.com: “African basketball has grown immensely. It has to do with how many young players have come to the United States.
“For Nigeria to get an Olympic bid, through that qualifier, was one of the amazing things for FIBA basketball to have two African nations among 12 teams.
“I haven’t seen Tunisia play. I saw Nigeria because we were watching the qualifier [Olympic Qualifying Tournament].”

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