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NBA Africa Junior programme grows beyond borders

Story from: CAJ News Africa

NBA legend, Jerome Williams with Gift Ndolwane

NBA legend, Jerome Williams with Gift Ndolwane

By GIFT NDOLWANE in RUSTENBURG , NORTH WEST
NORTH WEST, (CAJ News) – THE Royal Bafokeng Junior (Jr) National Basketball Association (NBA) programme has proven to be a major success.
The largest NBA’s youth initiative in Africa, over the past seven years, the programme has grown to 70 teams from 28 schools with a mass participation of close to 12 000 youngsters.
It has produced coaches and officials at national tournaments, a Head of the North West Basketball Coaching Commission as well as players equipped with skills to be part of the national Under-16 and U/20 senior teams as well as the North West provincial senior team.
Over the past seven years many NBA and Women’s NBA players, legends and coaches have visited the programme and provided mentorship to the youth.
These include Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Dikembe Mutombo (DRC), Cedric Ceballos (US), Sam Perkins (US), and Ronny Turiaf (France), Ruth Riley (US), Astou Ndiaye (Senegal), Ticha Penicheiro (Portugal).
Some current NBA players Luol Deng (South Sudan, Los Angeles Lakers), Thabo Sefolosha (Switzerland/South Africa, Utah Jazz) and Serge Ibaka (DRC, Toronto Raptors).
Recently, NBA legend, Jerome Williams, graced the event and expressed enthusiasm at the level of the game.
“I was happy to come up and share this day with them obviously there is lot of basketball being played,” he said.
“I hope this programme will continue to grow and thrive across Africa. I am just glad that I can come out and spend some time celebrating the event and all the excitement that this game brings to these kids.”
Williams urged the youngsters to be disciplined on field and academically.
Lethlogonolo Seema, the captain of Tumagaole High Schoolin Limpopo, embraced the advice and encouraged teamwork as another key to success.
“Cheering and picking each other up is the most important part of being a team. It goes such a long way,” Seema said.
The Royal Bafokeng Junior (Jr) Programme was named 2017 Development Programme of the Year at the Sports Industry Awards.
At the recently-concluded seventh finals in Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Kitsong were the biggest winners, clinching the High School Girls and Middle School Girls categories.
Other winners were Bafokeng (High School Boys), Luka Primary (School Girls), Bonwakgogo (Primary School Boys), and Charora (Middle School Boys).
CAJ News

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