The Organised Basketball Network (OBN) has said that it planned to revive grassroots basketball development by initiating a catch-them-young summer secondary school league.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of OBN Academy, Obinna Ekezie, disclosed this in an interview with the newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.
Newsmen report that OBN Academy, is a Lagos-based privately-owned institution, with the scope of discovery and training of young adults in basketball, alongside providing them education.
Ekezie said that programmes such as grassroots’ development, from an early age, was the future of the sport in Nigeria.
“Developing the game of basketball in the country means that we have to start as early as possible. What other countries do is to have scholarships for talented kids so as to have education alongside.
“We know that sports has a very short lifespan, but education for the kids remains the enduring tenure which they can fall back on after retirement from sports.
“There are other aspects of sports, people can fall back on after active service, such as coaching, sports management and administration, sports physiotherapy, sports commentaries and so on.
“These are what they can do after active playing, which education can help build in terms of curriculum vitae, “he said.
Ekezie said that the American model of infusion of sports, with education through scholarships for indigent students, was a good template to copy which his academy would strive to achieve.
“In the American system, which I am a graduate of, scholarships are awarded to brilliant students and there are competitions by the colleges, which we call Amateur Athletic Union tournament.
“The competition affords us to travel all over America for competitions and for those that are good, they eventually make it to the National Basketball Association (NBA) league, which is the peak of any career.
“Right here in Nigeria, we also want to adopt the same template, so as to give our young ones the opportunity to showcase their talents and therewith get scholarships through our partners.
“The Summer Camp we are organising is an open one where youth teams from different ages can compete and from there we will discover the outstanding ones which is sort of grassroots development, he said.
Ekezie said that Nigeria was not in short of talents, but lacked the infrastructure to grow the talents, which the academy sought to provide.
“We know that we are not short of talents in Nigeria, but we lack adequate infrastructure and good developmental programmes for the sport to grow.
“We need to have sustainable developmental programmes, we also want our kids to compete with their peers in the U.S. competitions at the right age.
“Our facility is world-class basketball pitch that can sit 700 spectators with other facilities such as a Gym centre, High Definition Camera, locker rooms and weightlifting room.
“The Summer School programme starts from June to August, for ages six to 18 and there will be three teams in two categories, U-14 males and U-18 male and female,” he said.