Talent can not be overlooked.
Recently, Benjamin Inetanbor who currently resides at North Carolina, USA, got into his niche of painting.
Born in Nyanya, Abuja, Nigeria, Benjamin lived in a small town called Jikwoyi, with his parents and five siblings. He grew up in an artistic home.
"My father was a welder, and my mom a choir member at the AG ministry. My brother Imonitie is an architect and my sister a make up artist/fashion designer."
Benjamin's family lineage hail from the Benin Kingdom, Edo state, Nigeria.
"I guess you could say we got this gene from our ancestors, who were known for their great works of art throughout history. Everyone in my family, before moving to a different thing did something related to fine art."
For a very long time, it seemed Benjamin took a leave on his art side, for sports.
"As for me, I never took interest in any of the fine or visual art. I was always interested in sports like; Basketball, track & field, and Soccer, but for some reason, I knew I was so much more than just sports."
Few years into the learning the game of basketball under the guidance of Andre Achebe (Head coach of Titans Basketball Academy), Benjamin got a student-athlete scholarship to study in the USA.
"For a while back home in Nigeria, I was not academically sound, but for the love of the game of basketball, I had to step up my grades, else my coach wouldn't let me on the court. This helped me a lot; I train my mind and body daily."
Benjamin's awakening manifested, after his change of environment.
"Reaching the USA, I began developing interest in art; mostly visual art. It was as if everything I missed out on my childhood days were all piled up into one. The feeling, peacefulness, history, and expression all had me mesmerized."
"I only started painting for six months, and I have painted two portraits; one of which I sold to my teacher for $100, one landscape and three abstract expressions in only three months."
In all, Benjamin seeks opportunity to fulfill his dream in getting degrees in art and anatomy.
"I want to finish my education in the USA. I would like to get a degree in Anatomy and also Bachelor's degree in art and design. This is my goal."
The Nigeria Basketball Federation has congratulated Kingsley Ojeaburu over his recent nomination by the Federation of International Basketball Federation ahead of the 2019 Men’s World Cup in China and the U-19 WC in Greece.
The federation through its President, Engr. Musa Kida said the recent recognition to officiate on the biggest global basketball stage bears witness to the growing stature of the game in Nigeria.
“It’s going to be an exciting World Cup affair with Nigeria technically presenting 2 teams. Apart from the D’Tigers competing at the world stage for a chance to win the coveted trophy, all eyes will also be on Kingsley Ojeaburu who will be officiating at the World Cup for the first time”, Kida said
Kida described the opportunity as a perfect window for Ojeaburu to make a case for Nigerian referees by being a good ambassador.
“Ojeaburu will not just be going to the World Cup as a FIBA referee, he will also be representing and making a case for the referees back home. As one of the best referees we have in Nigeria, we trust that he will maintain his high level of professionalism which has continued to see him grow.
The NBBF President said with the constant training and refresher courses being put in place for Nigerian referees, more referees will soon take centre stage on the international stage.
Ojeaburu began his referee career in 1994 and became a FIBA certified referee in 2005 in Abidjan.
Since then, he has gone to officiate at the 2014 Afrobasket Championship in Cote d’Ivoire where he got nominated for his first ever FIBA World Cup in Spain before featuring at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
2019 FIBA World Cup preparation:
In its quest to adequately prepare the D’Tigers for the 2019 FIBA Men’s World Cup, the Nigeria Basketball Federation has lined up multiple grade A friendlies against Dominican Republic and Canada ahead of the World Cup.
D’Tigers two legged encounter against Dominican Republic will take place in Santo Domingo between July 19th and 25th before playing Canada in Quebec and Ontario between August 5th and 11th 2019.
According to arrangements put in place for the team, D’Tigers will open camp in the United States of America before moving to Canada.
Lagos, Nigeria will be venue of the final phase of preparation with NBBF already in advanced talks with a yet to be named World Cup bound team for a 2-legged friendly.
NBBF President, Engr. Musa Kida disclosed that the federation is determined to give the team the best preparation that it can afford to ensure that the team does the nation proud in China when the World cup starts on the 31st of August.
“We have locked down 2 grade A games with Dominican Republic and Canada who will both be at the World Cup. These games alongside those we are still planning to organize when the team comes to Lagos, we believe, will provide quality tests for the team.”
Kida revealed that though the choices of camp sites in the USA and Canada have not been made due to factors such as quality of facilities, playing personnel and most importantly funds, agreements have been concluded with the Canadian and Dominican Republic Basketball Federations for the games.
Meanwhile, the team is also billed to participate in a friendly tournament featuring some teams that will take part in the mundial in China between 21st and 26th of August.
The team coached by Alex Nwora is drawn in Group B alongside Argentina, Russia and Korea with all its group games to be played in Wuhan. The 2019 FIBA World Cup will take place between August 30th of and 16th of September 2019
The "double trouble" sisters get another chance to forge alliance at the WNBA.
Chiney Ogwumike is officially moving from the Connecticut Suns to LA Lakers.
She gave this exciting announcement over her Instagram account.
Chiney would be joining her elder sister Nneka.
"I want to say a huge thanks to the Connecticut Suns, my teammates, the staff and our fans. You have all been my home for the last five years; through the ups and downs, I would forever be grateful." said Chiney.
Chiney has always been an active sports analyst at ESPN, and would still be on the job, shuttling from the studio to the basketball court.
Both sisters played together at Stanford University, and the opportunity to play at the biggest female league in the world is mind blowing.
"Double trouble is back!"
Right at the heart of Maryland, two Nigerian girls may have no clue of themselves being a part of history at their high school, New Hope Academy.
Adaeze (Jennifer) Ezeh and Agnes Paul, who both featured at the Nigeria Under 16 female Championship in 2015, Madagascar, did greater exploits in their new school.
New Hope Academy International School made history in their second year of owning a basketball team, to be ranked number 1 in the United States of America, at the Geico National Championships.
Been the underdogs of the tournament, they took everyone by surprise, defeating teams one after another, including the defending champions, Miami County Day at the semifinals.
Winding back to last year, Adaeze remembered the painful defeat her team got, when they met team Miami County Day at the Nike Tournament of Champions. Team Miami who were down by three points in overtime, came from behind with a four-point play.
However, despite the narrow escape, the defending champions seemed not to have learnt their lesson, and they were cut short at the semifinals. The game ended 60-52 in favour to New Hope.
At the finals, the underdogs also shut down the first runner up of the tournament, St. John's, 45-34.
Few weeks after, New Hope organized a banquet and awarded a customized ball for Adaeze, for her record of having over 500 rebounds within two years.
"I am super excited, and this is a dream come through for me and my teammates" Adaeze exclaimed.
"We put in a lot of hard work. All the ups and downs; injuries; and now we are the national champions." She added
"Thanks to our coaches for believing in us"
During the tournament, she was also listed amongst the All-tournemnet team, and to cap it up: Adaeze also highlighted the fact that her team, was listed into New Hope's hall of Fame, for making a stunning record of a basketball team with just two years since inception, are the top in the whole nation.
At the Women's National Junior College Athlete Association, team Baltimore City Community College led by Nigerian rookie Vivian Chigbu, popularly known as Paloma back home, had a great season.
Although the female Basketball team lost to Hartford Community College at the finals, 61-90; Baltimore awarded Vivian the MVP trophy, for being very outstanding throughout the season.
"I never knew I would be the MVP in my team, but one thing I have in mind anytime I step on the court, is to win and help my team in every way I can, defensively and offensively and go hard on the court!"
"I might not be the perfect teammate, but I made sure to help my team and be a good leader"
"I am so excited winning the MVP as this showed my effort and hard work during the season, and I am grateful to God who made it possible and my teammates and coaches who believed in me"
Other awards she got was for cross country; Rookie of the Year Award and Unsung Hero Award and Top five All-Tournament Team Award.
Last season she hit a career high and double-double (28 points and 21 rebounds) against Riverhawks, which led to her team victory of 104-38.
Vivian looks forward to be a better season come next season.
The girls basketball boot-camp is a three month camp titled "Girls speak up".
This is targeted towards the young girls in the Gonin Gora community characterized with high rate of sexual harassment, rape, gender discrimination, child trafficking, child abuse and child labour.
The aim of this camp is to empower the girl child to speak up on sensitive issues in their lives and also equip them with basketball skills, entrepreneurship skills and life skills to enable them fulfill their potential.
This project is organized by Onewin Basketball Foundation in conjunction with the US Embassy.
Speaking with founder of Onewin Basketball Foundation Christy Mark Nnorom, she said she gives God Almighty, all the thanks and praise for coming this far. "It was all a dream. After all the suffering, in basketball circle in Nigeria. It was really an experience. To be be the all the glory."
After few weeks of Jordan Nwora taking a path towards trying the NBA Draft, another Nigerian athlete: Charles Bassey, aka Big Ticket showed similar interest.
Bassey who currently plays for Western Kentucky Hillitoppers of the Conference USA is 18 years old, and towers with a height of six feet, 11 inches. He is known for his versatility over his height and stature, and can confidently play all five positions.
With ridiculous ball handling, and shooting way beyond the three-point arc, Bassey shows great prospect to make it to the NBA next season.
This season he was named Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the year, while leading the league in double-doubles (14.6 points and 10 rebounds).
Bassey shoots at least 60% from the field, 45% from the arc and 75% from the free-throw line.
To top it up, Bassey will not sign with any agent, in order for him to maintain eligibility to return to school.
For a very long time, a lot of sports enthusiasts seldom talk about one of the core players in sporting events. The referees play a very important role, to ensure a match is being governed as fair as square, as possible.
Most of these officials have come a long way, and maintained their credibility as being amongst the top in Africa; which gives them the opportunity to practice their profession outside the shores of Nigeria.
In the light of this, the names below, are the active official FIBA referees, who have the license to officiate in FIBA organized tournaments, both local and international.
Name, Liecense ID
1. BABA MUDA, James, 506799
2. MUSA, Gambo, 506804
3. OGUNLEYE, Opeyemi Oluwaseun, 29285
4. OJEABURU, Kingsley Stephen, 17058
5. OLADEJI, Ayodeji Olayeni, 506801
6. RASAQ, Okedeyi, 506800
7. SHOFOLUWE, Samuel Abiodun, 28773
You can find the list here:
The most popular amongst them would be Ogunleye Opeyemi, and Ojeoaburu Kingsley; both of which have officiated in Continental games and World Cup respectively.
In our discretion, Ogunleye Opeyemi have been very active, in the local scene. He is one of the pioneers of the ongoing Abuja City League, which has been running for over four years, with the number of teams and fans increasing at a phenomenal rate.
In addition, most of these referees spend time to share their experiences with others at home, for them to apply more reasonable judgement, during high school games and league matches.
There is a purposeful move, by the Nigerian referees to ensure games are well officiated, in a free and fair manner for all to enjoy.
Kudos to the Nigerian Referees. More power to your elbows.
The much anticipated match of the Nigerian team, Defenders, against the defending champions of Morocco, AS Sale is done and dusted.
Defenders lost to AS Sale 96-77, after a breath-taking second leg.
Both teams had a total of 165-147 points, accumulated from both legs played.
The 10-man rotation orchestrated by coach Gombwer did not favour the overall performance of the team, to secure the ticket to the semis, playing at the home court of the opponents.
"This series really exposed the Moroccans inconsistent offense, poor/lazy defense & serious lack of depth. I imagine the Tunisian club who makes it through to the semi final will do a better job of taking advantage of these areas than Defenders." said Coach Liz Mills, an Australian coach, and sports manager expressed on Twitter.
Coach Liz, over the years, has been showing core statistical facts and breakdown of teams overall performance and what to expect in the future.
She gave credit to team Defenders for pushing the defending champions to their limits.
"Defenders did a good job of playing to their strengths, but playing at that intensity and tempo for 40 minutes, without a half court offense to fall back on is difficult."
Meanwhile, the most consistent players in scoring are:
#11 Ocheibi Okpe 19 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist
#7 Ibe Abuchi Agu 16 points and 1 steal.
The experience is what would be remembered for both teams at the defending champions vs the Rookies at the quarter finals game.