Nigeria’s representative in the 2023 Basketball Africa League (BAL), which dunks off on March 11 at the Dakar Arena, Kwara Falcons, has recruited Senegalese star, Khadim Rassoul Mboup, to help their cause in the competition.

The 12 teams in this year’s competition were allowed to recruit 12 NBA Academy Africa prospects from seven countries during the second Elevate Draft on February 24.

The 2023 BAL season will feature a total of 38 games in Dakar, Cairo and Kigali over three months.

BAL Elevate, which was launched prior to the 2022 season, provides opportunity for top prospects from NBA Academy Africa, an elite basketball training centre in Saly, Senegal, to showcase their talent on a global stage and help their respective teams compete for the BAL Championship.

Among the new drafts are four Nigerians, two Congolese, two South Sudanese, one Egyptian, one Camerounian, one Senegalese and one Malian.

The Nigerians in the competition are Joy Ighovodjia, who will play for ABC Fighters of Cote d’Ivoire; Reuben Abuchi Chinyelu, recruited by Stade Malien of Mali; Churchill Abass, who will play for AS Monastir of Tunisia and Segun Ezekiel Obe, who will play for Uganda’s City Oilers.

Speaking on the new recruits, BAL President, Amadou Gallo Fall, said: “The inaugural group of BAL Elevate players, who joined our league from NBA Academy Africa last season, not only showcased their talent and potential, but also contributed greatly to the improved play in season two.

“We have received terrific feedback from the teams and coaches who worked with the players, some of whom went on to sign with NBA G League Ignite or commit to NCAA Division I schools in the U.S. We look forward to watching this year’s class contribute to their respective teams and continue their development on a global stage.”

He explained that the BAL Elevate player pool was made up of prospects, who currently attend NBA Academy Africa, adding that the draft order was determined by a random draw of the 12 BAL teams. Fall also explained that the BAL Elevate players would not share in the prize money awarded to the top teams at the end of the season to preserve their amateur status.

He disclosed that several players that featured in the inaugural BAL Elevate programme last year went on to sign with professional teams or commit to NCAA Division I schools in the U.S.

Among these players are Babacar Sane (Dakar University Club; Senegal) signed with NBA G League Ignite, Rueben Chinyelu (Mozambique’s CFV Beira; Nigeria) committed to Washington State University; Joy Ighovodjia (Rwanda Energy Group; Nigeria) committed to the Oral Roberts University; and Emmanuel Okoroafor (Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Espoir Fukash; Nigeria) committed to the University of Louisville.

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