Daily Trust (Abuja)

30 December 2012

Nigeria: 'Mark D Ball' to Produce Nigeria's Future Basketball Stars - Mark

The Initiator of 'Mark D Ball' basketball championship, Hon. Igoche Mark has said the core aim of the championship was to groom future stars for the country.

No fewer than 300 kids from all over the country are presently undergoing a one-week basic training in the game of basketball at the Otukpo sporting arena.

"The main point of the 'Mark D Ball' tournament is the clinic for the kids where they are taught the basketball basics.

"That's why we took our time and efforts and energy to bring in coaches from the United States and one from Europe to help with the clinic to teach the children with the aim of catching them young."

Well known international coaches; Alex Nwora (Head coach of Herie community college, New York and Head coach of Cape Verde National team), Shantelle Anderson (Coach of Virginia Tech University, USA), Oliver Johnson (Nigeria's first National coach), Joe Tombo (New York based coach), and Funke Adeniji from the United Kingdom are on ground to drill the kids.

Also renown local coaches like; Col Sam Ahmedu (rtd), Adoka Daudu and former internationals are part of the training programme.

Hon. Igoche noted that they brought in International stars and celebrities to come play in order to encourage the kids to pick up a career in the game.

"We want the kids to pick up a career in basketball. That is why we brought in so many players from US and Europe to play. The aim was not to compete to win but to impact into the younger ones, the game of basketball."

Hon Igoche, the brain behind the competition, stressed that apart from encouraging the kids to take to basketball, it's also targeted at building good character in them.

"Its a game to rub on your everyday life. Just as the say goes that 'Golf is for gentlemen', so does basketball to life. How you behave in the court, that is how you behave outside.

"If you are indiscipline in the court, you are going to be very rude too when you are outside the court", he maintained.

The kids are good

Coach of Virginia Tech University, USA, Shantelle Anderson who is one of the clinic instructors said the kids could do great in the game.

"They have been really enthusiastic and very excited to be out here. They are listening, they are working hard and they are trying to get better. I think that is all you can ask for in clinics.

"At this young age, they still have to keep working on it...keep working on their skills and its fun. Its hot to be out here with the heat but they are working and I think they can be very good.

"Its a great event. Its a wonderful opportunity for everybody to come together and celebrate basketball and celebrate community. I'm so excited for the girls to be a part of this and learn how to be strong in the court and the fundamentals. Its very great' the US-based coach noted.

Also, Head Coach of DSTv league side, Dondan Warriors, Adoka Daudu said he was pleased with the initiative of having kids learn the game.

He added that the kids were doing well, nothing that he will recommend some of the players in the competition to his team board at the end of the competition.

"We picked three players from here last year and we hope to do the same this year. We have identified one or two of them so far but we are still watching", he revealed.

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