Denver Nuggets security guard Monte Morris has joined the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie to play internationally for Nigeria as a naturalized player, head coach Mike Brown told ESPN.
There were multiple reports in local media on Friday that Morris would play for the African nation in the Olympics. The reports were confirmed by the official social media accounts of the Nigeria Basketball Federation and the Nuggets.
Brown gave ESPN another confirmation, but said the process was far from complete and could well fall apart.
“He wants to play for us but there are still some technical details that we need to sort out,” said Mike Brown, the Golden State Warriors Associate coach.
“Technical details that the [NBBF] President Musa Kida has to find out before it can actually happen. So he’s trying to find out right now. “
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Morris succeeds Dinwiddie, whose decision stunned the Nigerian Basketball Brotherhood when it was announced almost a year ago. Brown said what appears to be a trickle now could turn into a faucet.
“The crazy part is that there are a lot more American players and coaches who have turned to me to be a part of the team, be it from the manager’s point of view or from the game’s point of view, and I see it as fantastic for the program. ” ” he added.
Babs Ogunade, vice president of NBBF, added that that number could go up to 16, but neither he nor Brown would name names, although Brown admitted that Dallas Mavericks Wes Iwundu and the center of Detroit Pistons, Jahlil Okafor, are two of the in Considered names are.
“I spoke to Wes, Jahlil, he was in Nigeria and spent some time there when he was 11, 12. He’s a guy I’m looking forward to. We should all be happy about a guy like Jahlil his talent and ability in this lowly post, “said Brown.
Morris’ acquisition echoes the broader picture of Brown’s oft-cited goal from the start as he attempted to return from the Olympics with a medal around his neck.
That goal seems to have sparked this flood of potential players who would add to an already formidable roster. That roster includes Al Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu, and former NBA stars Ekpe Udoh and Ike Diogu, but the manager would like to point out that this isn’t free for everyone.
“Now all these American NBA players are coming up to me to play. As the coach of the team, you take every player who wants to play into consideration and evaluate them based on what they may or may not need or want,” said he said. “At the end of the day, when you look at a player like Spencer Dinwiddie, you look at his height, you look at his ability to play the point guard position, you look at what he’s accomplished in the league so far And look at his age too. You look at all of these things and try to consider how he could possibly help the rest of the players as well.
“It’s no different from a player like Monte Morris. He’s a young man, his assist to turnover ratio is one of the best in the league, he’s small but he’s tough physically, he’s a real point guard that he will.” Get the ball to others.
“So you look at these things and rate them. Does that make sense for your team based on the players you have or not? And a guy like Monte I think makes sense for our team if everything works out. “
At the moment, Dinwiddie and Morris are the only ones who have publicly affirmed their commitment to Nigeria. Will competition for places lead to resentment among those who have been there from the start? Brown focused on competing for seats and the good problems he will have with it: “The competition is getting serious, it is going to be tough. You want it to be like this. To me, when you talk about how fierce and how hard it can be, I guess will form the team, contribute to the team, I do not know if you want anything else.
“You want your best team to have the opportunity to attract the best players. That means the best players will compete for places and that is what matters.”
However, both men were quick to address a backlash from the country’s basketball community over the use of naturalized players with no real ties to the nation. The FIBA rules allow a quota for a naturalized player, regardless of that [lack of] Connections to a country, but there are purists who believe that only players with parental connections should represent the national team.
“The Olympics are not an internal sports meeting,” said Ogunade. “People come to us with all these stories about how there must be local players in the national team. It’s a ridiculous argument for one [domestic] League that has not been played in three years.
“We look at the players that are approaching us and select them based on the best to strengthen our team and the FIBA rules allow us to do that.”
Brown took on a more forgiving tone: “I understand why people would get upset about Spencer or Monte. But it’s no different than the Nigerian national soccer team, which has a foreign coach, or Shane Larkin, the former NBA player who works for Turkey is playing, or Becky Hammond and JR Holden were playing for Russia back then, and there are other examples of that.
“If coaches and players have a particular interest in helping a country progress and it is reciprocated, why not? One of the greatest players to ever come from Nigeria is Hakeem Olajuwon and he has for team USA played. “
“What people need to understand is that American NBA players want to play for Nigeria. Whether it happens or not, that should be positive. For people who want to be a part of the country, to help the country in any way possible It means people know the team is special. I understand people’s feelings about it, but I would want to see it as positive rather than negative.
“Ten years ago – even less – nobody wanted to be a part of it, even some Nigerian-born players didn’t want to be a part of it, but under Kida’s leadership everyone wants to come and I thank Kida for raising the profile. He was the one who convinced me to be a part of it and listen to his vision, spend time with him and work with him. He is not only committed to improving the level of Nigerian basketball on the international stage, but also locally, he has big plans and I hope people can understand that.
“If you bring home that Olympic medal, few will question the process.”