First Bank Elephant girls tutored by Coach Peter Favour Ahmedu will be without any foreign professional at this year’s FIBA Africa zone 3 club championship qualifiers billed for Lome, Togo come October 21-30, 2016.
Speaking ahead of the championship, Ahmedu told Freethrow that he was ready to risk his girls from home for the qualifiers because he had confidence in them.
“The First Bank Basketball Club will be in Lome for this year’s qualifiers without any professional. This is because I believe in the girls I have at my disposal. They can get the job done and then we can start thinking about the final phase in November/ December.”
Reminded that the other Nigerian team, Dolphins would be a strong force to deal with; Ahmedu said he was not underrating the team or any other team for that matter.
“Every team that has qualified to be part of the elimination in Lome is a potential winner but on our part, we’re not taking any of them for granted. We’ll respect all the teams but that is not to say that we’ll not give our best.
“We intend to retain the FIBA Africa Zone 3 title we won last year in Cotonou, Benin Republic. The task ahead is a tough one and we’ll give this our best shot knowing that we’re taking a risk depending on the home girls. But having worked with the crop of players I have winning the Zenith League championship, I have no doubt that the girls will deliver the final round ticket.”
NBA coaches deliberate on rule change
NBA’s head coaches annual meetings in Chicago have an international flavour.
During Wednesday’s session most of the day was dominated by a discussion of the league’s competition committee with the “royale with cheese” little differences of FIBA basketball fresh in everyone’s mind from the Rio Olympics, there was a great opportunity this week to query the men on the sidelines about some rule changes they’d like to see.
But first, Alvin Gentry wanted to talk about one already legislated into the 2016-17 NBA season: the “hack-a” fouls compromise.
To discourage intentional fouling of players, who struggle at the free throw line — primarily big men Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond, among current targets — the NBA will extend its protocols from the last two minutes of the fourth quarter to all four quarters. Now teams on the receiving end of those fouls “away from the ball” would be awarded one free throw and possession of the ball.
When the change was announced at the Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas in July, commissioner Adam Silver conceded that the new version was something of a compromise intended to serve both the strategic and the entertainment elements of the NBA game. Fans in the arenas and viewing at home, and thus the league’s broadcast partners as well, had voiced frustration over the stoppages of play and monotony of the tactic.
A number of coaches and basketball purists, however, felt any change to discourage or eradicate the strategy would unfairly reward players (and their teams) for a fundamental flaw in their skill sets: the inability to consistently make free throws. That’s where Gentry stood on the matter this week.
Toronto Raptors meet the media Sept 26
The Toronto Raptors will hold the team’s annual media day on Monday, September 26 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at BioSteel Centre. Players and coaches will be available for interviews and photos.
The Raptors will return to the Vancouver area for a third consecutive year to train at Fortius Sport and Health in Burnaby.
Only on September 2, 2016, the Toronto Raptors announced they had signed President Masai Ujiri to a multi-year contract extension and promoted Jeff Weltman to general manager and Bobby Webster to assistant general manager/vice-president basketball strategy.
Ujiri will continue to oversee basketball operations as president of the club. “I am grateful to the Board and Mr. Tanenbaum for the opportunity to continue our progress to build the Raptors into one of the top franchises in the NBA,” said Ujiri.
“I’m also excited that Jeff and Bobby are being rewarded for their hard work and valuable contributions to our program. My family thanks the NBA, Raptors players and coaches, staff, Raptors fans, the city of Toronto and Canada for this opportunity. Toronto is home for us.”
In their three seasons with the Raptors, Ujiri, Weltman and Webster had helped to build a team that had won three consecutive Atlantic Division titles, advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, posted three straight seasons with franchise-high victories, including 56 wins this past season, and compiled a 153-93 (.622) mark.