Denver Nuggets GM: African Basketball Has ‘Huge Potential’

by August 31, 2011

Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, born in Nigeria, says that the continent of Africa has an incredible amount of untapped hoops potential. From the Denver Post: “Africa is perhaps the game’s last great untapped resource. It has exported some notable stars, including Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo and Luol Deng, but from a continent of 1 billion people, the basketball exports to date are a drop in the ocean. ‘Being from here, you see the huge potential,’ Ujiri said this week by phone from Madagascar, site of the African Basketball Championship. ‘We lack coaching, we lack infrastructure and we lack a little bit organization. But we’re working hard with the national federations and FIBA (the International Basketball Federation) and the NBA to bring everything together and develop the young kids.’ Thursday through Sunday, Ujiri will co-direct the annual Basketball Without Borders camp for 60 elite players ages 16-18 from all over the continent. This year, it’s in Johannesburg, South Africa…’When you see the huge potential in the continent you wish that one day you could just open your eyes and every country has 10 gyms or 15 gyms and tons of outdoors courts where kids can just play anytime they want,’ Ujiri said. ‘But that’s not the case now. We hope to get it there one day.’ The Basketball Without Borders African camps, which Ujiri has been directing since 2003, have already begun sending players to the NBA.”