The Nigerian national team, having originally invited more than 40 players to its training camp, has trimmed its roster to 15 players, according to an announcement earlier in the week (Twitter link).
Three more cuts will be required to set the official roster for the Tokyo Olympics, but it appears there will be no shortage of NBA players on the 12-man squad. Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, Miye Oni, Josh Okogie, Jordan Nwora, Chimezie Metu, Jahlil Okafor, and Gabe Vincent remain in the mix for the final roster.
One notable player missing from that list is Monte Morris. According to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link), the Nuggets guard has been bothered by a nagging knee injury and wants to focus on getting fully healthy for the 2021/22 season. He’s sitting out of the Olympics for precautionary reasons.
Nuggets forward Zeke Nnaji received consideration for Team Nigeria as well, according to Singer (Twitter link), but the 2020 first-rounder decided to focus on individual development this season. Nnaji has interest in representing Nigeria in future international competitions, Singer notes.
Here’s more on the Tokyo games:
- Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said on Wednesday that he has yet to decide on a captain for the U.S. squad (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press). Given his résumé, his veteran status, and his previous international experience, Kevin Durant seems like the most obvious choice, though Draymond Green and Damian Lillard could also be candidates.
- Asked how likely it is that members of the U.S. Olympic squad will talk during the next month about teaming up in the NBA, Bradley Beal acknowledged that “probably a lot” of those conversations will take place. “Depends on who’s a free agent or not,” Beal said (Twitter link via Fred Katz of The Athletic). “But for the most part, we can’t mix that in right now. We’re focused on one goal at hand, and that’s bringing back a gold medal. Granted, we all have our respective, individual goals and talents once this is done. We can address those issues then.”
- Organizers confirmed on Thursday that the Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases in the area. Ayano Shimizu of Kyodo News has the full story.
8 thoughts on “Olympic Notes: Nigeria, Morris, Nnaji, Team USA”
What are the qualifications for a national team or do they vary? I’m pretty certain Jahlil is American but assume he has pretty close family from Nigeria
I’m not sure
They just need to prove some sort of family blood line to the country and typically obtain citizenship that way. The player could also be a naturalized citizen, not as frequent on the men’s side as opposed to the women.
I think if a grandparent is of a certain nationality other than your own you can claim citizenship/represent that country.
Some countries have naturalisation for national sports teams too where a limited number of foreign born players can play in international competition.
My memory is vague but I’ve definitely seen that in rugby (Pacific islanders representing Lichtenstein!) and probably basketball – teams like the ‘stans, certain South East Asian teams I think.
let’s keep posting what we think the citizenship rules are and just go off of that
It seems like no one really knows this year
The FIBA rules used to be pretty clear. A country gets ONE (1) naturalized citizen, per event. Others need to be citizens from lineage as evidenced by a passport by a certain age (I think 16). Keep in mind countries have different citizenship rules (which was the reason for the passport by 16 rule), but they are almost all based on lineage. The US, alone, grants citizenship to anyone born here.
These FIBA rules may still be in effect, IDK. But it seems like a lot of Americans (born here, went to HS and college here, etc.) are on the Nigerian team. But all but 1 might have had dual citizenship based on parents’ citizenship.