Los Angeles Clippers forward Ekpe Udoh and Olaseni 'Shane' Lawal could make their national team debut for Nigeria at AfroBasket 2015 as they were announced by Nigeria's head coach Will Voigt in his 26-player preliminary squad. 

This past season,  Lawal helped his Banco di Sardegna team win three major domestic trophies, including Cup of Italy, Supercup and Lega Basket Serie A title. Lawal averaged 9.5 points and 10 rebounds in 47 league games and has just signed a two-year with Spain's giants FC Barcelona.

Other debuntants that will be vying for a place in the final 12-man roster are Chinemelu Elonu, Michael Gbinije, Chris Obepka, Talib Zanna, Jason Ebie and Edo Karachi.

Deji Akindele, Michael Umeh, Akin Akingbala, Derick Obasohan and Ike Ofoegbu are also recalled after missing some periods out.

Others in the list are campaigners from Afrobasket 2013 including Stan Okoye, Jamal Olasewere, Ike Diogu, Olumide Oyedeji, Alade Aminu and Al Farouq Aminu.

The surprise ommission is Festus Ezeli who after winning the NBA title with the Golden State Warriors strongly hinted at the possibility of representing Nigeria at the 2015 Afrobasket in Tunisia.Ezeli’s delight on playing for Nigeria, if given the opportunity.

“It is a big honour to be playing for your country and I am looking forward to it.  “I have a lot of pride in my origins. I think that it is awesome that we have so many guys of Nigerian descent in the NBA.

The team is a blend of young, veterans, local as well as foreign-based players in a team that will take aim at winning its first-ever continental title at AfroBasket 2015, taking place from 19 to 30 August in Tunisia.

Nigeria, who have been drawn in Group-A alongside hosts Tunisia, Central African Republic (CAF) and debutants Uganda, are among the frontrunners to win this year's event, which serves as a qualifier tournament for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The D'Tigers are expected to resume their training camp in Paris, France, before traveling to Tunisia.

The initial list of 26 players invited to training camp for the D’Tigers includes: 

  • Deji Akindele – Metros (Dominican Republic)
  • Akin Akingbala – Rouen (France)
  • Al-Farouq Aminu – Portland Trailblazers (NBA)
  • Alade Aminu – TED Kolejliler (Turkey)
  • Ike Diogu – Ponce (Puerto Rico)
  • Jason Ebie – Lagos Islanders (Nigeria)
  • Chinemelu Elonu – Arecibo (Puerto Rico)
  • Micheal Eric – Enel Brindisi (Italy)
  • Michael Gbinije – Syracuse (NCAA)
  • Stanley Gumut – Marmentors (Nigeria)
  • Edo Karachi – Fresno State (NCAA)
  • Olaseni Lawal – Barcelona (Spain)
  • Derrick Obasohan – Monaco (France)
  • Chris Obepka – St John’s (NCAA) *Is transferring
  • Ikechukwu Ofoegbu – Arecibo (Puerto Rico)
  • Andy Ogide – Poitiers (France)
  • Chamberlain Oguchi – Unattached
  • Stanley Okoye – Varese (Italy)
  • Jamal Olasewere – Verviers-Prep (Belgium)
  • Olumide Oyedeji – London Lions (Great Britain)
  • Ekpe Udoh – Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
  • Michael Umeh – Tezenis Verona (Italy)
  • Abubakar Usman – Kano Pillars (Nigeria)
  • Ben Uzoh – Lagos Islanders (Nigeria)
  • Abdulwahab Yahaya – Markmentors (Nigeria)
  • Talib Zanna – Oklahoma City B (NBA D-League)

Article Images