Africans have made their impact felt in the NBA with players like Akeem Olajuwon getting inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and others like Victor Oladipo and Serge Ibaka headed for similar honors. But until 2 years ago, the NBA didn’t have any Academy center in Africa. That changed when the association built the NBA Academy in Saly, Senegal, working with the sports development programme, Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED), to train young players from different African countries.
The academy has since provided opportunities for young African talents to be discovered by international scouts and increased their chances of being drafted into the NBA, with 24 young prospects given scholarships and training after scouting programs conducted across the continent and 10 former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa campers already drafted into the NBA.
However, the association is upping its efforts to make the platform useful for talents through the upgrade in the Academy’s facilities, opening an “Elite basketball training centre”. The new facility boasts of two indoor basketball courts, a weight room, a multidimensional activity centre, conference rooms as well as dormitories and educational facilities.
The centre has already hosted the second NBA Academy African Women’s camp and one of the participants was quoted saying, “This facility will provide aspiring players from across the continent with state-of-the-art courts and training equipment, under the tutelage of our NBA coaches, and our world-class academic staff. This facility, and the enabling environment around it will help uphold our commitment to a holistic approach to player development and providing our elite African student athletes with the tools to succeed on and off the court.”
The Academy’s 360-degree approach to player development, focusing on health, skill, education, leadership and all-around character development will go a long way in ensuring a steadfast growth for basketball as a mainstream sport in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Featured Image Credits: Instagram/nbaacademy
You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu