American born coach Chantelle Anderson
By Olawale Ajimotokan
Nigeria has the potential to go all the way and become a force to reckon with in no distant time in basketball, provided it invests in facilities and harnesses its human resources.
This declaration was made by American-born coach Chantelle Anderson, during a recent chat with THISDAY Sports.
Anderson, who is an assistant coach at Virginia Tech University, is one of the coaches that supervised basketball clinics for kids at this year’s Mark D’ Ball Basketball Tournament in Otukpo.
The former WNBA Star, who is a naturalized Lebanese, observed that Nigeria is blessed with so many talented players who can become great players if they exposed to learning in the right way and in right environment.
“This is my first time in Africa and from what I saw in Nigeria, there is a lot of talent here and you can look at the number of African players who made the grade playing top flight basketball in the NBA and elsewhere. I think to continue to grow the game in Nigeria emphasis should be placed on training and making conversation more consistent for the participants. I think with that, you will get there” she said.
The 6.6 feet tall former centre of Sacramento Monarchs and San Antonia Silver Stars, lauded the Mark D’ Ball Tournament, noting that developmental initiatives of such nature are good way of helping the country to identify and unlock the potentials in its youth.
She said that the key for the rapid growth of basketball in Nigeria would be through provision of facilities and helping the youths understand the fundamentals of the game during training sessions.
“I have not been here for long but I think to grow the game in the community in general, training and working on fundamentals like passing and dribbling is necessary. You have to start growing the game from young ages. I think the prospect for growth is enormous,” she said.
Anderson, who is credited with working Mfom Udoka, who represented Nigeria at Athens 2004 Olympic Games, emphatically noted that the United States of America is the benchmark for global basketball because it “boasts of the right system.”
She defined the ‘right system’ to imply playing, training and getting better all the time as there are basket ball courts and facilities in virtually all parts of the country.
“Basket ball is available in almost every play ground in America which makes it easy to learn the game. And logically the more you play the better you get”.
Meanwhile, Delta Impressions buried the Demons that caused them a semi final loss to Lagos Peals to overhaul the hard fighting Plateau Rockers to win the third place match in the female event of the 12th Mark D’ Ball Basketball Tournament at the Otukpo Sports Arena.
Sunday’s showdown was a spectacle which burst to life in the final quarter which ended 23-21 in favour of Delta Impressions.
Assistant Guard, Uju Nweke was the architect of the Delta lasses’ revival as she took matters into her hands to tie the game at 21-21 with a three pointer, one minute left on the clock.
After the match, Delta coach Ken Mfom said he was delighted not to finish the tournament empty handed.
He said he was impressed with the overall team effort considering that the side was only assembled two weeks to the start of the tournament.