Kenyan Youngster Chasing NBA Dream in Senegal

Even as Kenya basks in the glory of the history-making national men basketball team in the Fiba AfroCan Championship, a basketball prodigy from Kisumu is carrying the national flag high in Senegal.

Ricky Omondi Okello, 17, who turns out for Kisumu Lakeside basketball team is the only Kenyan featuring in the 17th edition of Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp.

The camp has brought together top 60 boys and girls aged 17 and below from 29 African countries.

"This is a great exposure to one of our players and a great honour to Kenya to have such an instrumental player amongst the best talented basketball players in the continent," said Kisumu Lakeside coach George Onassis.

The former Kisumu Boys Secondary School basketball player could be headed to topflight basketball in US if he impresses the NBA coaches.

"I attribute his rising star to discipline, hard work and being focused. This is a good example that basketball can take you places," said Onassis.

Just before he left the country, Omondi said being coached by top notch NBA coaches was a dream come true.

"It was one of the biggest surprises of my short career in basketball. I promise to give my best," said the small forward.

Coach Onassis revealed that Omondi though twice about going to Senegal as he was still hoping to represent his side in Premier League matches.

"That is the kind of a team player he is to our team. Even with such an offer he was still thinking about his club duties," said Onassis.

The four days camp which runs from July 28-31 is being held at Dakar Arena.

It is jointly organized by Basketball Without Borders, the National Basketball Association (NBA) of America, the International Basketball Federation global basketball development and outreach program and the Senegalese Basketball Federation.

Omondi will have a lifetime interaction and coaching experience by former and current NBA players.

The players include two time NBA All Star Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), two time NBA champion Chris Bosh, 2017 NBA Rookie of Year Malcolm Borgdon (Indiana Pacers), two time NBA All Star Luol Deng from South Sudan and formerly of Minnesota Timberwolves.

Other top NBA players in the camp include Ed Davis formerly of Brooklyn Nets, Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves), Luc Mbah-a-Moute (LA Clippers), Tacko Fall (Boston Celtics), Makhtar Ndiaye, Boniface Ndong and NBA global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of Congo).

NBA head coaches Kenney Atkinson (Nets), Doc Rivers (Clippers) and David Fizdale (New York Knicks) and current NBA assistant coaches DeSagana Diop (Utah Jazz), BJ Johnson (Houston Rockets), Vince Legarza (Jazz), Patrick Mutombo (Toronto Raptors) and Miles Simon (LA Lakers) will serve as Basketball Without Borders Africa 2019 coaches.

The NBA players and coaches will take the campers through a variety of activities including movement efficiency, positioning skill development, shooting and skills competitions as well as daily life skills focusing on health, leadership and communication.

One boy and one girl will be named Basketball Without Borders Africa Camp Most Valuable Player at the end of the camp.

The best performing players in the camp stand a high chance to win scholarships and be drafted into the NBA.

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