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Why don’t we hear much about gifted basketball players in Ghana?


It appears basketball has now become the second most robust sport after football amongst Ghanaian youth especially males and most recently fast growing among females.

Despite its increasing popularity, the chances of making it to the professional level are almost impossible.
This makes it look like a waste of time even if you get into it with passion. Just a few of the players that are privileged to have relatives living abroad are able to make it to the professional level in countries such as the United States, Spain and Australia. Even with that, by the time most of them get there, age would have caught up with them looking at how the game is structured before getting to the professional level.

Ghana is not ranked on the continent in the Basketball discipline even though there is an Association in the country.

Why don't we hear much about gifted basketball players in Ghana?

After months of engagements with coaches, academic technical individuals and players of the game. The factors hindering the emergence of basketball prospects have been linked to the following:

Infrastructure

Unlike the easiness that comes with finding a football pitch to start playing, that’s not the case in basketball. Most of the technically gifted active players either stayed at military Barracks, close to a secondary school or a technical university or stayed close to communities with courts such as Adenta court, Tema AB Court, Hoops Court and Tudu. The bitter truth is that most of these courts are not even the best constructed when compared to international standards.

Currently, Ghana does not have a single international standard arena that is purposely made for basketball games. The only venue that the nation can boast of in hosting foreigners is the Bukom multi-purpose facility.

Skill Practice

Majority of the Basketball players with great technical abilities at the 2022 GUSA games in an interview revealed that they started playing for the love of it and then put into practice what they see in the NBA without the guidance of any qualified coach or technical person. Also, the norm has been such that the only period that these players play under the supervision of professionals to officiate the games is at Senior High School, where the overall games are not up to 10. This tends to have an impact on most of the players with respect to getting a real test about the rules of the game. Wrap all of that up with the number of games played under proper supervision and it doesn’t help in having a proper assessment of basketball players in Ghana. This hinders the proper development of players.

Why don't we hear much about gifted basketball players in Ghana?

Coaching (Skill Impacted)

Coach Meme and Samori are the most academically/technically recognized basketball coaches in Ghana. Coach Thomas Elorm, the current reigning champion coach in GUSA games and national basketball championships played and understudied coach Meme. The rest of the coaches are into it not because they have gone through the coaching drills but rather because they were once players themselves and are still passionate about the game. During the 2022 GUSA games, out of the eight (8) referees who handled the basketball discipline who were interviewed, six (6) of them observed that many of the players lacked knowledge about the rules that involved technical knowledge.

Majority of these same individuals are still the ones taking part in the National basketball championship and will be recruited into the national team. Talking of the recruitment, 6 of the 20-man squad that was recruited into the current national team all competed in the immediate past GUSA games and 8 of the 20 members of the female team also did likewise.

Statistics and comparison

In the immediate past University games, University of Cape Coast (UCC) basketball team emerged as champions. They played all their matches without tasting a defeat. To give us a fair idea of how our performances have been lately as compared to the university version of NBA in the United States, University of Kansas are currently the champions of National Collegiate Athletics Association.

In all, University of Cape Coast (UCC) played six matches, so, to make a fair juxtaposition of both the last six matches,  results of Kansas university is used in this analysis.

Why don't we hear much about gifted basketball players in Ghana?

Note that Kansas played 35 matches justifying the fact that our teams don’t play enough games to harness their technical abilities.

Interestingly, the UCC team was able to do better than the Kansas team in terms of points accumulation. (UCC-91 UMAT-27, UCC-92 UNER-23, UCC-72 UDS-36 .UCC-76 GIMPA- 38, UCC-74 KNUST-60 ,UCC-70  UG-51)
(Kansas – 83 TX Southern – 56 , Kansas – 79 Creighton -72 , Kansas – 66 Providence – 61, Kansas -76 Miami – 50 , Kansas 81 Villanova – 65 , Kansas -72 North Carolina- 69).

Per both teams’ scores, its clearly seen that UCC had an average score of 79 points, highest score of 92 points and least score of 70 points and conceding most at 60 points as compared to Knasas’ 76 points averagely 81points highest and 66 points least score and conceding most at 72 points. This in normal terms means the UCC team was good offensively and defensively than Kansas but the doubt lies in the credibility in standards of UCC’s opponents. Statistics such as steals, rebounds and highest points made by individual players were captured by officials which are highly prone to errors as compared to being captured by a machine. Another factor that raises eyebrows is about the fact that the system in Ghana is not as decentralized as in the United States in that, the top three universities in Ghana stand a chance of getting better players than the others.

The NBA G-league is the last category or developmental stage that you compete in before you can be selected to play professional basketball in the states. Recently the leadership of Ghana Basketball Association are on a course of revamping professional basketball in Ghana, hence they have organized a national championship from which they will scout players to form the national team. This means that the G-league version of Basketball and at a glance you could see about 80% of players that played at the University games partaking, meaning transitionally its good. Does that mean they are ripe technically and all round?

Comparing the points that are being made at the G-league and that of the ongoing championship is not encouraging. However, the roadmap to getting the nation in a situation whereby we can be ranked on the continent is to provide the opportunity for gifted players to get the opportunity to play professional basketball league in Africa or in the states.

So, what is currently being done to ensure gifted Ghanaians who do not have the chance of traveling abroad are able to make it while being in Ghana?

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