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.

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