Joe Vardon: Pretty remarkable: Tokyo Olympic officials would not allow Nigeria’s assistant coaches into the Olympic Village when the team arrived Friday. As a result, the team had to hold a players only practice Saturday.
When was the first time you got in contact with the Nigerian basketball federation to wear the D’Tigers’ jersey? Miye Oni: We have been in contact and talks with them since I was like 17-years-old. I have a great relationship with the federation, and I have always expressed my goal of playing for the national team and represent Nigeria at the highest level. I am proud of being a Nigerian basketball player, and it’s a dream come true to be called to represent my country. This is one of the goals I have in my career, and I am happy to be able to do so. I am going to show the staff that I can help. I will do everything to bring Nigeria to the highest level and put it between the powerhouses of basketball.
Precious Achiuwa, Gabe Vincent, Jordan Nwora, Josh Okogie and many more. The young guns are taking over the D’Tigers! Miye Oni: (Laughs). Every guy is going to be very important for the team, and we will play as one, we will defend as one, no matter what. We have a lot of talent, and it’s just the beginning of something great if you want my opinion. We have talents in every position, guys that played in international competitions before and have been doing very well so I am so excited about what’s coming next. We are building a fantastic team. We are ambitious and we want to write great pages on Nigeria’s basketball history.
Miye Oni: The goal is to have a great tournament and the dream is to win a gold medal. Many teams can get to the medals spot, and we want to be part of the discussion too. We are young, but we have a lot of ambition. We are eager to make our compatriots proud and to show the world that Nigeria is a very competitive team. They did well in China at the previous FIBA Basketball World Cup, and we want to keep showing that we are a team that counts on the main stage, and that will count from now on at the highest level.
Nigeria’s Olympic men’s basketball team made headlines when it upset Team USA in an exhibition game on July 10. While the majority of the players on Nigeria’s roster are American-born or immigrated to the United States as young children, there is one major exception: Miami Heat forward Precious Achiuwa. “It’s big for me to have ‘Nigeria’ on my jersey,” Achiuwa, 21, recently told The Undefeated. “I’m the only NBA player on this team that was actually not only born in Nigeria, but grew up in Nigeria.”
Dane Moore: Josh Okogie when asked what medaling in the Olympics would mean to him: “That would mean the world to me. That would mean the world to me. And then Pablo, Juancho and Ricky wouldn’t be able to say s— to me.”