Nigeria Basketball team head coach, Alex Nwora has named his 19-year-old son Jordan, who plays for University of Louisville, USA, captain Ike Diogu, Mbamalu Bryant, Uzoh Benjamin and eight other players in his final squad for the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers which tip on Friday in Lagos.
The coach announced his squad for the qualifiers shortly after the team’s last training session at the Indoor Sports of the National Stadium Thursday evening with Alade Aminu and Olaseni Lawal missing out.
Alex and Jordan have become the latest father-son/coach-player pair to represent a national team in African basketball in recent years.
Three years ago, former Egypt Olympian Ahmed Marei coached his son Assem at FIBA AfroBasket 2015 in Tunisia, in a tournament where the Egyptians claimed a Fifth-Place finish.
And, his performances in last week’s warm-up games against Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan, make him a significant addition to the Alex-coached Nigerian side, who will host the second-leg of Group B of the African Qualifiers from Friday, June 29 to Sunday, July 1 in Lagos.
“I am just looking forward to playing with these guys – they are all great players – playing for my dad, and winning games,” said the 6ft7in (2.00m) guard who has never been coached by his father before. “It’s really big, I never played over here, it’s really an honor to have a chance to play for my country and play for my dad. I am glad they gave the opportunity to play,” he added.
But, what does Jordan make of his new father-son relationship?
“Growing up, I never played for him, but I trained with him at the gym every day. If it wasn’t him, I wasn’t where I am. I wouldn’t be playing at Louisville, I wouldn’t be playing here. So, I am just really grateful he has been in my life and been able to help me. Without him, I don’t even know if I would be playing basketball. I probably would be somewhere in the [United] States just relaxing.”