TUNIS (FIBA AfroBasket 2017) – Ikechukwu Nwamu is confident Nigeria have the potential to retain the title won two years ago in Rades, Tunisia.
With a team-high performance of 22 points on the road to helping his team overcome Mali in a Group A tie, Nwamu is adamant that good things are to come.
“It’s a blessing and honor to be able to represent my country at this tournament – Nwamu
In a brief chat with FIBA.basketball shortly after the big win over Mali, the 24-year-old also revealed the pride of representing his country at the biggest stage of Africa basketball.
Although Ike Diogu is the only remaining player from the 2015 Nigerian team that took Tunis by a storm to clinch their first-ever continental title, Nwamu has a positive view on the subject.
“I believe this present squad has what it takes to defend the African title won two years ago,” he noted.
“We did not quite understand what it takes to play at FIBA AfroBasket which accounted for our narrow win over Cote d’Ivoire, but having reviewed the game, everybody decided to chip in his quota against Mali and the result is there for all to see,” Nwamu explained.
Nwamu was a one-man show in the Saturday’s 90-67 win over Mali.
While he made only one of his two free-throws, it was his six three-pointers that destroyed Mali’s attempt to stay in the game.
“It was a collective effort. Everybody chipped in offensively and defensively. I would say, it’s a great team win.”
Asked how Nigeria struggled to see off Cote d’Ivoire on Friday, the Sioux Falls Skyforce guard said: “We didn’t show much toughness yesterday [against Cote d’Ivoire], we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. Today, we cleared out the boards better and we were able to get a run as a result.
“It’s a blessing and honor to be able to represent my country at this tournament.”
“A lot of people were saying a bunch of different guys wouldn’t do it, but we have everything on the team to make another run. We’ll just take one game at a time, and we’ll go from there,” he concluded.