Players Who Lit up AfroBasket 2021

16 November 2021
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AllAfrica InfoWire (Washington, DC)

AfroBasket 2021 was an unmitigated success, as African nations from all over the continent came together to do battle in Rwanda, a country that was hosting the event for the very first time in its history.

In the end it was Tunisia who ran out champions, claiming an impressive third AfroBasket title overall, having downed the Ivory Coast in the showcase final.

Here we take peek at just some of the former and current NBA stars who were involved in the AfroBasket action, as well as mentioning a few names who could possibly pop up in the NBA sooner rather than later.

Edy Tavares - Cape Verdean B-ball Wizard

At the age of 29 Edy Tavares has just about done everything there is to do in the sport of basketball, having represented the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, before arriving in Europe to win the EuroLeague with Real Madrid in 2018. He still plies his trade in the Spanish capital to this day and has many records to his name such as the most blocks in a Spanish cup game, when he made seven of them against a stunned Fuenlabrada side.

When Tavares’ Cape Verde side turned up at AfroBasket they were not expected to achieve much by the betting tipsters and online odds makers, but that only seemed to spur on the giant 7 ft 3 in center. In the end he dragged his national teammates all the way to a highly respectable fourth place, ranking joint third when it came to scoring and topping the tournaments stats charts for blocks, rebounds, and efficiency. No doubt there were some NBA scouts watching and wondering why he still is not helping the likes of the Hawks and Cavaliers rise through the NBA betting odds, such is his presence on a basketball court. Aged just 29, there is still time for another NBA franchise to take him back stateside.

Gorgui Dieng – AfroBasket All-Star

Joining Tavares in the AfroBasket All-Star selection was Gorgui Dieng, who led the entire tournament when it came to scoring and was second overall for rebounds. Perhaps this comes as no surprise because the Senegalese center has been plying his trade in the NBA for the best part of a decade, first with the Minnesota Timberwolves before then representing the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs. He is now on the roster at the Atlanta Hawks. Many would argue that the 31-year-old’s best days are behind him, with regular game time being difficult for him to come by in the NBA these days, but his showing at AfroBasket 2021 made everyone aware that he still has plenty left in the tank.

Makrem Ben Romdhane – the MVP

All of the names so far on this list have been centers, but it was ultimately Makrem Ben Romdhane of Tunisia who had the last laugh, as he went on to lead his country to AfroBasket title glory. He is one of the most decorated players the African continent has ever seen, and this latest victory further cements his legacy as one of the best to ever do it. To put the cherry on his AfroBasket cake, he was also awarded the competition’s MVP award. At the age of 32 it is unlikely that an NBA franchise will come calling, but few in Tunisia doubt that he would hold his own across the Atlantic if called upon to do so. He has certainly been strutting his stuff for Benfica of late.

Omar Abada – Tunisia’s Young Buck

Tunisia winning AfroBasket 2021 was not all just about Makrem Ben Romdhane, because he had a perfect foil in the form of Omar Abada. The guard added an AfroBasket All-Star pick to the accolade he received at the inaugural Basketball Africa League where he was also selected as an All-Star. At 28 there could still be time for an NBA franchise to take a punt on him.

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