Dikembe Mutombo: People are talking about Angola. Angola has some great facilities that we might use in the future. We are looking at some of the logistics of how we are going to build. We are looking at some of the testing in some of the area. I don’t think the game will continue to be played here in South Africa. We will seek another part. Maybe in Senegal or Nigeria one day.
“We got guys everywhere,” Nelson said. “We’re scouting third-graders in Nigeria. There’s millions of kids who play basketball around the world, outside of the U.S. that people question their competition and whether they can play. We keep on investing in our player development so we can take chances on those guys and take them to the next level. At some point, you have to say, OK, I may not be able to develop somebody into a star, but can I develop them into a rotation player or a starter?”
Many of Voigt’s players paid for their own flights (and most flew coach) and accommodations. Playing for Team Nigeria is a complete commitment, and Voigt, who is no longer under contract, is hoping that the country will invest more money into the basketball program. “It’s pretty well known we didn’t receive any support. We did this on our own,” Voigt said. “We’ve faced hardships as a team that other teams in our group couldn’t even fathom. The fact that they can get here and be as competitive as they were, I think it speaks volumes to them. “Just something as simple as having food for our players and having a flight to where they’re going and having insurance for our top players may be a huge swing in terms of what we do. I’m just trying to catch my breath, to be honest. We understand that’s not necessarily where the country is right now, but even the smallest level of support can reap huge rewards for what we can do.”
“He got hurt in our camp, but the only issue he has had down there (in Rio) is he got sick and he missed their second game,” Van Gundy said today. “He has come back and played in Games 3 and 4. He has played well. His numbers have been good in Games 3 and 4. He has one more today. They cannot move on, so today (Brazil) will be his last one. Overall, I think it has been good experience for him. “He has been playing off the ball at the two (shooting guard) and three (small forward). He hasn’t really played any point (guard). He has handled the ball some, but generally he’s out there with another guard.”
What’s next for Voigt? Nigeria assistant coach John Bryant says Voigt should be coaching in the NBA. Bryant knows what it takes – he’s an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers. “He can coach at any level. I say that without hesitation,” Bryant said. “He should be in the NBA right now of his work ethic and knowledge of the game.”
But those are a just a few interesting details among many of Will Voigt’s global journey from rural Vermont to the Rio Olympics. The son of a Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry and MacArthur genius (his mom Ellen) and founder of a culinary school (his dad Fran), Voigt has coached in Norway, Denver, Austin, Texas, Bakersfield, Calif., China, Nigeria and Barre, Vt., the one-time home of the minor-league Vermont Frost Heaves. “I’ve been fortunate to have had these opportunities,” Voigt said. “I didn’t set out with a blueprint of how do I get to China? How do I get to Norway? How do I get to Nigeria? It just presented itself. I certainly wasn’t afraid of going somewhere different. The way it’s played out, I don’t think I could have ever predicted.”