The NBA Academy Africa recently took its first trip ever to Europe for a series of competitive games intended to continue the development process of 14 players from Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin and Central African Republic.
After opening its doors in Senegal only seven months ago, the NBA Academy Africa, landed in Czech Republic Europe.
It was easy to see what makes Africa so tantalizing to the NBA:
“The leading scorer at the GBA Invitational was none other than 6-7 Congolese wing Patrick Mwamba, who averaged more than 20 points per game while shooting 55 percent from 2 and 29 percent for 3 over the course of four games. Mwamba, who just turned 18, was one of the first players to join the Africa Academy in May, along with Senegalese wing Cheikh Faye, who is enrolling in Florida-based Chipola Community College next month”.
Idou Dianko Badji of Senegal just turned 15 years old two months ago, but already stands 7-foot-1, with a chiseled and highly proportioned frame, an incredible 7-6 wingspan, exceptional mobility, good hands and a real competitive streak that shined through in every game”.
“The 14-year-old Abdoul Halil Barre from Benin stands 6-9 with long arms and huge feet that indicate he still has plenty more room to continue to grow and fill out. He already shows a strong feel on the defensive end”.
The Academy waits for a new practice facility to be completed in Saly, Senegal, a beach resort area where the players reside and attend school. For now, the SEED (Sports for Education and Economic Development) Academy is in Thies (Senegal). With this new facility, the NBA will be one step closer to increasing the capacity of the Africa Academy to 24, and having two separate teams developing side by side.
“The fact that the NBA is easily watched on television in Africa is a great sign for the future of the sport and will likely benefit the league’s efforts. Also, the success of African-born players such as Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Serge Ibaka (Republic of the Congo), Emmanuel Mudiay (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), Luol Deng (South Sudan), Bismack Biyombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Thon Maker (South Sudan) shows that it’s only a matter of having the right infrastructure and coaching in order to develop the ball skills and feel for the game needed to be successful in the NBA. Successful European-born players with African roots such as Giannis Antetokounmpo (Nigeria), Dennis Schroder (Gambia) and Frank Ntilikina (Rwanda) have further proven this”.