Nigeria has the potential to go all the way and become a force to be reckoned with in basketball in the nearest future, provided it invests in facilities and harness its human resources says American-born coach, Chantelle Anderson. He expressed this view while chatting with newsmen in Otukpo during the just concluded Mark D' Ball Basketball tournament.
Anderson, who is an assistant coach at the Virginia Tech University, is one of the coaches that supervised basketball clinics for kids at this year's Mark D' Ball Basketball Tournament in Otukpo. The former NBA Star, who is a naturalised Lebanese, said Nigeria is blessed with so many talented players who can become great players if they are exposed to the adequate environment. "This is my first time in Africa and from what I have seen in Nigeria, there are a lot of talents here and you can look at the number of African players who made the grade playing top flight basketball in the NBA and elsewhere. I think to continue to grow the game in Nigeria, emphasis must be placed on training. I think with that, you will get there" she said.
She lauded the Mark D' Ball Tournament sponsored by the senate president, Senator David Mark, noting that such developmental initiatives are good ways of helping the country identify and unveil the potentials in its youths.
She noted that the key for the rapid growth of basketball in Nigeria would be through provision of facilities and helping the youths understand the fundamentals of the game during training sessions. "I have not been here for long but I think to grow the game in the community in general, training and working on fundamentals like passing and dribbling are necessary. You have to start growing the game from the young ages. I think the prospect for growth is enormous", she said.
Anderson, who is credited with working with Mfom Udoka, who represented Nigeria at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, emphatically noted that the United States of America is the benchmark for global basketball because it boasts of the right system.
She defined the 'right system' to imply playing, training and getting better all the time as there are basketball courts and facilities in virtually all parts of the country. "Basket ball is available in almost every playing ground in America which makes it easy to learn the game. And logically the more you play the better you get".