With the rescheduled 2020 Video games now simply 5 months away, the attracts for the basketball occasion — albeit incomplete for the boys — have gotten Nigeria’s basketball fraternity much more assured of engaging in huge issues in Japan.
Nigeria’s ladies are ranked 14 and discover themselves in a lethal group that features the top- ranked USA, quantity 5-ranked France, and Japan at quantity 10.
The boys will face off in opposition to quantity 3-ranked Australia, although they await the final two groups from the Olympic Qualifying Match in Croatia and Belgrade.
Males’s coach Mike Brown, an American who can be the affiliate coach on the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, is happy on the prospect of what can be a dream assembly with Staff USA, arguably the workforce to beat on the event regardless of their latest struggles on the FIBA World Cup.
“If we’re taking part in Staff USA, which means we’re doing fairly good on our Olympic run and so simply basically, I am excited for the chance,” he advised ESPN.
Earlier than that although, Brown is already within the thick of issues because the trash speaking has began within the Warriors constructing, the place his boss Steve Kerr is on the workers of Staff USA, and famous person guard Steph Curry can be prone to be on the roster.
Brown stated: “There’s little banter going backwards and forwards. You already know, Steve comes at me just a little bit, each from time to time, and I am going to shoot it again at him.
“So, there’s just a little little bit of trash speaking, nevertheless it’s all enjoyable and video games till the ball goes up, after which it will be nothing however enterprise.”
To get in entrance of the USA, nevertheless, Brown and his workforce will first must navigate their well past group play, the place Ben Simmons’ Australia are poised to be a significant examine on these ambitions. The Nigeria coach just isn’t dropping sight of that.
“The anticipation to get out of the pool play is extraordinarily excessive,” he admitted. “However I am certain it’s the identical for the remainder of the groups in our pool too.
“So, we now have to verify we perceive that we will not skip any steps on this journey and that first step after we get to the Olympics is getting ready to play all people inside our pool.
“And, on the finish of the day, hopefully, we’re in a position to get to a degree to the place we will play them [Team USA] as a result of they are not in our pool. And if that occurs, it means we’re doing fairly good at that time within the Olympics.”
Brown is very aware of the risks posed by the groups they would wish to battle by means of to get that far, even those but to qualify.
He added: “The competitors goes to be fierce. Staff Australia, they’re ranked third on the earth proper now and they also’re not going to be any pushover.
“And I am certain the groups that also must qualify for the Olympics are going to be good in their very own proper. And the factor that they will have that is advantageous over us is, they’re already going to be practising for the pre-qualifying event that they acquired to take part in.
“They will play video games through the pre-qualifying event, so they will be seasoned and able to go, come Olympic time, they will be in some form of a groove when it comes time to play video games within the Olympics and they will be actually good.”
In the meantime, Mfon Udoka, who led the ladies’s workforce to the 2004 Olympic Video games, says D’Tigress will rattle various cages.
“I do assume we are able to rattle some groups up in there,” she advised ESPN. “And I feel that due to the way in which Nigeria performed USA just lately, nobody goes to take Nigeria flippantly, they will be prepared and ready for us.
“However I additionally know we’ll be prepared too.”
Their final assembly in opposition to the USA resulted in a slim 76-71 factors margin in favor of the world primary, and the Nigerian workforce led for the higher a part of the sport.
Nonetheless, it was a marked enchancment from their earlier displaying, after they have been blown out 71-40 on the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup.
Udoka added: “In the event that they hadn’t performed the USA like they did just lately, I’d say there could be just a little reason for concern, however [Nigeria] challenged them, they have been forward for almost all of the sport. So what’s there to not be assured about now?”
That form of confidence is what Brown is passing on to his gamers, as he targets a medal from the Video games.
He stated: “We’re not glad simply being part of the Olympics. Strolling out from the opening ceremonies goes to be pleasing, it will be exhilarating. I’ll have goose bumps and the entire 9 yards, I’ll have my telephone in all probability strolling round filming stuff.
“However that is not why we will the Olympics. We will the Olympics to win and to attempt to get a podium end. That is our objective. And to ensure that us to try this, we acquired to be actually sharp on each ends of the ground every day regardless of who we play.
“There’s going to be some good groups which are in entrance of us. Now could be only a good time to go get it finished as tomorrow.”
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