No fewer than 20 players in the Nigerian Basketball league were nurtured from Mark d’Ball Children’s Basketball Clinic, instructor of the programme, Adeka Daudu, has said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Children’s Basketball Clinic which will run until Dec. 30 is part of activities lined up for Mark d’Ball every year, aimed at introducing the kids to the rudiments of the game.
Daudu who has been part of the programme for about seven years told NAN on Thursday at the ongoing event that more players would be discovered as the clinic progresses.
He said the 2017 edition had turned out to be the most attended in the history of the Mark d’Ball Basketball Clinic, with over 800 kids in attendance.
“We are close to having 1000 kids here and I know that before the end of the event it will get to that.
“My joy in this clinic is that it has produced big players in the Nigerian league and you know that getting 1000 kids within our constituency here in Benue is an awesome thing.
“I must tell you that some of the players we started with in the clinic are now big players; I have a players Friday; he was with us at Mark Mentos but he has moved to Hoopers basketball club in Port Harcourt.
“We have them both male and female who were trained here. I have a player by name Veronica who was nurtured in this programme that has just been called to the national under-16 camp.
“We are happy that they have used this programme to get to the level they are now,” Daudu said.
According to him, Nigeria will have more big names in basketball in the next five years when some of the talented players in the University will graduate.
“Some are in the University because we combine basketball with Education; so, it is our pride and I am happy most of the kids we trained here are now playing for clubs sides.
“That is what this programme is all about—developing the young ones especially those that do not have the privilege of being trained in the hinterland,” he said.
A participant at the clinic, 13-year-old Asimi Taoawed, said he love to play basketball because of his desire to be rich and to inspire others in the game the way Ejike Ugboajah had done through his Basketball Foundation.
Taoawed who is a student of United Secondary School Ohimini, Otukpo in Benue State, said his two years experience in Mark d’Ball had exposed him to few players whom he now see as role models.
“I chose to play basketball because I want to make money out it. I admire the players in National Basketball Association in U.S., especially Stephen Curry
“Basketball is not only about catching fun, it is about playing to be rich; I have a strategy to ensure I make that money in this game,” Taoawed said.
Mercy Ogar, a female participant and a student of Federal University Agriculture of Markurdi said her understanding of the game changed overnight in spite being a first timer.
“I am tired of doing the same thing all the time with my colleagues in school and I believe Mark d’Ball is the right place to develop myself.
“I want to attach myself to a professional team; I know that once I step higher I will get experience and more knowledge.
“I actually want to combine basketball with other things, though I want to stand out in all I do,” Ogar said.