Jamal Olasewere and Team Nigeria finish the 2013 FIBA AfroBasket in disappointing 7th place

Jamal Olasewere completes his first international tournament with Nigeria at 2013 AfroBasket (Photo Credit: teamnigeriabasketball.com)

This morning, Nigeria completed their 2013 FIBA African Championships with a win vs Morocco in the seventh-place game but will leave the Ivory Coast very much disappointed as they failed to qualify to next summer’s FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain. They needed a top three finish in this tournament to qualify. Nigeria finished 5-2 in the 2013 AfroBasket but the loss to Senegal in the quarterfinals, a 64-63 loss, is what destroyed their hopes for qualifying for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

LIU alum and 2013 NEC Player of the Year Jamal Olasewere wrapped up his first international tournament experience with Team Nigeria. Here were his stat lines from all seven AfroBasket games:

Opponents Result Mins Pts FGs 3FGs FTs Rebs (Off.) Asts Steals Blks TO Fouls
Mali W, 74-59 22 6 2/6 1/3 1/2 3 (1) 3 0 1 2 1
Congo W, 93-75 19 5 2/6 0/2 1/3 3 (3) 2 0 0 4 1
Cameroon W, 91-84 22 6 2/8 0/1 2/4 1 (0) 1 0 0 2 3
Cent. Afr. Rep. (Rd16) W, 112-75 14 14 5/9 0/1 4/4 5 (2) 1 0 1 1 1
Senegal (QF) L, 64-63 18 4 1/3 1/2 1/2 2 (2) 0 0 0 5 1
Cape Verde (5-8 SF) L, 79-76 11 6 2/5 2/3 0/0 1 (1) 2 0 0 0 4
Morocco (7th Pl. Gm) W, 105-87 19 0 0/2 0/2 0/0 0 (0) 2 1 0 1 2

Olasewere finished the 2013 AfroBasket averaging 5.8 ppg/2.1 rpg/1.5 apg in 17.8 minutes per game through the seven games, all coming off the bench. He shot 14 of 39 (35.8%) from the field, 4 of 14 from three (28.5%), and 9 of 15 from the charity stripe (60%).

His best game statistically came in the blow out win against Central African Republic in which he had a tournament-high 14 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes and was perfect from the free throw line (4/4) and was above 50% shooting from the floor.

You have to imagine this was a great learning experience for Olasewere. He got to play with some bigger and more experienced players on his team including some current and former NBA players and got to see first-hand what international competition is all about. This experience allowed him to see what are his strengths and what he needs to work on to have a great first year in professional basketball and have a long pro career for himself.

Olasewere can now look forward to the start of his professional career as he begins his journey in Italy in the Italian Serie A basketball league as his new club, Vanoli Cermona, starts their 2013-14 season on October 13.

LIU Brooklyn officially releases 2013-14 Men’s Basketball roster

This afternoon, the LIU Brooklyn Athletics Department officially announce the signings of the last four newcomers to the LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball problem and thus finalizing the 2013-14 roster.

This upcoming season’s LIU Brooklyn roster will include seven returnees and six newcomers. The returnees are sixth-year senior forward and 2012 NEC Player of the Year Julian Boyd, senior point guard Jason Brickman, junior guard/forward Troy Joseph, junior shooting guard Gerrell Martin, redshirt junior guard/forward Gilbert Parga, sophomore forward E.J. Reed, and sophomore point guard D.J. Griggs. Parga is the only returnee not to play last season as he had to sit out the season after transferring to LIU late last summer from Iona College via junior college.

Of the six newcomers, four of them are true freshman with the other two coming from junior college with two years of eligibility remaining. Freshman forward Nura Zanna and juco transfer Chris Carter, both signed to LIU last November and had been officially announced. Freshman guard Iverson Fleming, freshman guard Joel Hernandez, freshman forward Glenn Feidanga and juco transfer Landon Atterberry were officially announced today.

With the finalized roster now released, we now learn that junior forward Khalil Murphy has transferred from LIU Brooklyn after one season in Brooklyn. Remember, Murphy received a waiver from the NCAA to play at LIU last season after transferring the from University of San Francisco last summer.

Here is the official 2013-14 LIU Brooklyn roster.

We now await the official release of the 2013-14 LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball schedule as we are now under thirty days until the official start of practice for the new season on Friday, September 27 . Hopefully, we will see the official release between now and sometime next week after Labor Day.

LIU Brooklyn MBB reportedly hires Yusuf Abdul-Ali as new Director of Basketball Operations

LIU Brooklyn MBB has reportedly hired Yusef Abdul-Ali as their new Director of Basketball Operations (Photo Credit: http://www.spfldcol.edu)

The search seems to be finally over for LIU Brooklyn head men’s basketball coach Jack Perri and his coaching staff. After a rather lengthy search, LIU Brooklyn has reportedly hired a new Director of Basketball Operations.

The Springfield Republican last week reported that LIU Brooklyn has hired the East Longmeadow High School head varsity coach, Yusef Abdul-Ali, as their next Director of Basketball Operations for the men’s basketball program. He is replacing Josh Pelletier who left LIU after one season to take the Director of Administration position with former LIU head coach Jim Ferry at Duquesne.

Official announcement of the Abdul-Ali’s hiring should be forthcoming in the near future by the LIU Brooklyn Athletics Department.

Abdul-Ali is a Springfield, Massachusetts native who spent this past season as the head varsity coach at East Longmeadow High School in East Longmeadown, Massachusetts. His team went 12-9 under his guidance which was a nice improvement for the 6-14 record the team had the season prior. Abdul-Ali prior coaching experience also includes a season as an assistant coach at Division III Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts in 2011-12 and two seasons as a coach at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield, Massachusetts, his high school alma mater.

Abdul-Ali played four years (2004-08) at Division II Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts playing the point guard position. In his junior and senior years as the starting point guard, Bentley went an incredible 67-2 including two straight undefeated regular seasons. Bentley played in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight both seasons.

This hiring now completes the 2013-14 LIU Brooklyn men’s basketball coaching staff as associate head coach Mark Calzonetti returns for his second season, assistant coach Jason Harris returns for his sixth season and assistant coach Charles Bridge returns for his second season and fourth season overall under second-year head coach Jack Perri who enters his ninth season with LIU Brooklyn.

Welcome Yusef Abdul-Ali to LIU Brooklyn!

Jamal Olasewere and Nigeria complete the 2013 AfroBasket Group Stage Undefeated

Jamal Olasewere representing LIU Brooklyn and the NEC at the 2013 AfroBasket (Photo Credit: fiba.com)

Jamal Olasewere representing LIU Brooklyn and the NEC at the 2013 AfroBasket (Photo Credit: fiba.com)

It was a good first week for Jamal Olasewere and his Nigerian men’s basketball teammates as Team Nigeria completed the group stage of the 2013 FIBA African Championship aka AfroBasket undefeated with three wins over Mali, Congo and Cameroon to capture first place in their group, Group D. Nigeria defeated Mali 74-59 last Monday. Two days later, they defeated Congo 93-75. Yesterday, in one of the best games thus far in the 2013 AfroBasket, Nigeria overcome a ten-point third quarter deficit to beat previously undefeated Cameroon 91-84 in a battle for first place in Group D.

Here is Jamal Olasewere’s stat line for all three group stage games:

Opponents Mins Pts  FGs  3FGs FTs Rebs (Off.) Asts Steals Blks TO Fouls
Mali 22 6 2/6 1/3 1/2 3 (1) 3 0 1 2 1
Congo 19 5 2/6 0/2 1/3 3 (3) 2 0 0 4 1
Cameroon 22 6 2/8 0/1 2/4 1 (0) 1 0 0 2 3

Olasewere came off the bench for all three games thus far for Nigeria. He is averaging 5.6 ppg and 2.3 rpg.

What I have noticed through these first three games is the position Olasewere has been playing for Nigeria. At LIU, Olasewere played primarily the 4 position as a forward but in this tournament, he has played pretty much at the shooting guard spot. Obviously, he is competing against bigger players so you wouldn’t expect him to play the 4 with Nigeria but I just find it interesting that he nearly all of his playing time is at the shooting guard position.

Nigeria has already lost two players to injury and another has yet to be cleared to play so they are down to nine available players. Stan Okoye, Nigeria’s current starting shooting guard, has had issues with cramps the last two games giving Olasewere a few more extra minutes of playing time on the court.

I believe though Olasewere hasn’t been able to play his type of game having to play in the backcourt and playing along several bigger teammates who eat up a bunch of space in the lane like Ike Diogu, who has had a great tournament thus far, Alade Aminu, and Gani Lawal and then having to guard other two-guards. He hasn’t has much opportunity to slash to the basket and when he has, he been taking some off-balanced shots which have been falling short.

Thus far, he is struggling with his shot going 6 of 20 from the field and just 1 for 6 from three. Fouls hasn’t been much of an issue until the Cameroon game in which he got hit with three first half fouls but stayed foul free in the second half.

Olasewere is the youngest player on the Nigerian roster and he is playing in his first international tournament of his career so all in all, he is playing as well as you might expect.

We’ll see how things go for Olasewere and Nigeria as they now move on to the knockout stage of the 2013 AfroBasket and they will first play the Central African Republic who finished 4th in Group C on Tuesday. If they get by C.A.R. they will face the winner of Senegal-Rwanda in the quarterfinals. The top 3 finishers in this tournament will qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain happening next summer.

I will have one last update whenever Nigeria completes it run in the AfroBasket and give you all of Olasewere final stats for the tournament. You can also follow me on Twitter @NelCastBHJ for continuous game information and updates.

Kyle Johnson Team GB Pre-EuroBasket Update

Kyle Johnson setting his sights on the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket in Slovenia (Photo Credit: TeamGB.com)

Kyle Johnson setting his sights on the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket in Slovenia (Photo Credit: TeamGB.com)

Jamal Olasewere isn’t the only former LIU Brooklyn Blackbird participation in a major international competition this summer. 2011 LIU Brooklyn graduate Kyle Johnson is currently with the Great Britain men’s national team as they prepare for the 2013 FIBA European Championships or the EuroBasket as its better known starting on September 4th in Slovenia.

This is Johnson’s second summer with Team GB as he was a member of Great Britain’s Olympic team last summer in London.

Team GB is getting ready for the 2013 EuroBasket by playing in seven exhibition games throughout Europe before they take on Israel on Wednesday, September 5th to begin their tournament.

So far, Team GB has played three of the seven exhibition games. They defeated Puerto Rico 61-55 in their game held in London back on August 11th. They next took on Finland in Helsinki, Finland and lost to the Finns 88-66 on August 15th. This past Sunday, they were in Greece to take on the Greeks and were throughly handled 95-62.

Here is Johnson’s stat lines through the first three exhibition games on this pre-EuroBasket tour:

Opponents Mins Pts  FGs  3FGs FTs Rebs (Off.) Asts Steals Blks TO Fouls
Puerto Rico 21:52 11 5/11 1/3 0/0 4 (2) 1 1 0 1 0
Finland 24:39 12 3/8 1/4 5/6 3 (3) 1 0 0 6 1
Greece 26:27 2 1/6 0/1 0/0 2 (0) 0 0 0 2 2

Johnson has started in each of the first three games of the pre-EuroBasket tour. He had a solid game against Puerto Rico with 11 points and 4 rebounds and making 5 of 11 shots. Against Finland, he was able to get to the free throw line making 5 of 6 but committed six turnovers in the game in otherwise second-straight solid performance. But against Greece, he had a rough game, scoring just two points on six shots and committing a couple of turnovers in a team-high 26-plus minutes.

Johnson will surely look to rebound from his performance in Greece when Team GB take on Sweden on Friday, August 23 in Poland. Tip-off is schedule for 9:30am eastern time. On Saturday, August 24, Johnson and Team GB will take on Poland in their home country with the tip scheduled for noon eastern time.  They then wrap up their preparation tour by taking on mighty Spain in back-to-back games in Spain on Wednesday and Thursday, August 28 and 29 before heading to Slovenia to begin the 2013 EuroBasket.

We will have another update next week to see how Johnson fared in these last four preparation games.

Jamal Olasewere makes his 2013 AfroBasket debut in Nigeria’s win

Jamal Olasewere made his major international tournament debut for Nigeria. (Photo Credit: fiba.com)

Box Score

Game Highlights

On Day 2 of the 2013 FIBA African Championships better known as the AfroBasket, the Nigerian men’s national team took to the court for their first game of the tournament against Mali. Former LIU Blackbird Jamal Olasewere made his major international tournament debut for Team Nigeria. Olasewere wore jersey number 8 and came off the bench in this opening game.

Nigeria defeated Mali 74-59 to start the tournament 1-0.

Here was Jamal Olasewere’s stat line in today’s game:

FG 2pts 3pts FT Rbds
G Min M/A % M/A % M/A % M/A % O D Tot As PF To St BS Pts
1 22 2/6 33.3 1/3 33.3 1/3 33.3 1/2 50 2 1 3 3 1 2 0 1 6

Olasewere took half his shots from beyond the three-point arc which is not necessarily his game. He did have three assists and a nice block which started a Nigeria fast break and ended up in two free-throw attempts for his team. He also slammed one home for his only two-pointer of the game.

All in all, it was a decent debut for LIU Brooklyn’s all-time leading points scorer. Olasewere will be back on the court with Team Nigeria on Friday, August 23 when they take on Congo who lost today to Cameroon 74-43.

Jamal Olasewere signs first pro contract with Italian club Vanoli Cremona

Olasewere shooting a twisting left-handed jumper

Reigning NEC Player of the Year signs his first pro contract (Photo Credit: Bob Dea)

On the eve of the 2013 FIBA African Championships in the Ivory Coast, rumors regarding where former LIU star and graduate Jamal Olasewere will play professionally for the 2013-14 season after the 2013 AfroBasket are over.

This morning, those rumors have turned into confirmations. Multiple reports out of Europe are reporting that Olasewere has signed a deal to play for the Italian club Vanoli Cremona for this upcoming season. His signing has been officially announced by the club (Italian site) on their website.

Olasewere also tweeted out the announcement this morning.

Vanoli Cermona is a team that plays in the Italian Serie A, which is the country’s top basketball league. The team is based out of Cermona, Italy and play their games in an arena called PalaRadi with a capacity of 3,519 seats. The club finished in 11th place last season out of 16 teams with a record of 13-17.

Some of the early lineup projections shows Olasewere will be plugged into the starting lineup immediately in one of the front court positions. He will be playing along side several Americans who are veteran European pros such as Brian Chase (played college at Virginia Tech), Jason RIch (Florida State), Jarrius Jackson (Texas Tech), Ben Woodside (North Dakota State), and Travis Watson (Virginia).

Vanoli Cermona will start their 30-game season on Sunday, October 13 in a game against Montepaschi Siena.

Before Olasewere heads to Italy, he will playing in the 2013 AfroBasket for the Nigerian national team. Nigeria will take on Mali in their first game of the tournament on Wednesday, August 21. They will then take on Congo (Aug. 23) and Cameroon (Aug. 25) in their Group D. Blackbirds Hoops Journal will be following his performance after every game of the AfroBasket and try and bring you as much information as possible coming out of the 2013 AfroBasket.

Congratulations to Jamal Olasewere on signing his first professional contract and good luck to him and Nigeria in the 2013 AfroBasket.