Nigeria coach Mike Brown has said that he may be forced to pick two different teams in the coming two months, as the Olympics and Afrobasket tournaments are within two weeks of each other.
The Afrobasket tournament starts in Rwanda on August 24, two weeks after the Olympics end in early August in Tokyo, which would trigger an NBA rule prohibiting Nigeria’s players from too much international game time.
Brown, an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, “It is my understanding that NBA players that play in the Olympics won’t be able to play in the AfroBasket because they can only play a certain number of days of international competition in a year.
“For the days of training per year, I’m not sure there is a limit of days per year, but there is usually a limit of 28 practice days leading up to the Olympics and World Cup competitions”, told ESPN.
“If there are two significant competitions in one year, like the Olympics and AfroBasket, NBA players are often limited to participate in only one of those competitions.”
This means Brown could be forced to form two teams, of equal strength, to compete for two medals just weeks apart. D’Tigers are ranked 22 in the world by FIBA, so aren’t just making up the numbers in Tokyo, while they’re former Afrobasket champions and tanking there isn’t an option either.
Brown said: “Yes, there could be two teams. But we have not decided who will be on the roster yet so that decision is still some way off.”
As for which players could be affected by this rule, it’s an ever-increasing list as players eligible for Nigeria, by birth, parentage, or naturalisation, pick D’Tigers over other options.