The Basketball Africa League (BAL) has unveiled the rosters of the six teams that will compete in the league’s Sahara Conference group phase at the Dakar Arena in Senegal, which tipped off yesterday and runs through Tuesday, March 15. The six teams collectively feature 78 players from 17 countries across Africa, Europe and the U.S.
In the season opener, Senegal’s Dakar Université Club (DUC) took on Guinea’s Seydou Legacy Athlétique Club (S.L.A.C) at 12:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. GMT on Canal+, ESPNews and TSN in the first of 38 games taking place across three cities over the next three months.
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Each of the Sahara Conference’s six teams, which come from six African countries, will have up to 13 players, at least eight of whom are citizens of their respective team’s home country and up to four of whom are from other countries, with no more than two players per team from outside of Africa. As part of the “BAL Elevate” program, each team’s 13th roster spot is reserved for one of 12 prospects from NBA Academy Africa, an elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal for the top high-school age prospects from across Africa.
Eight players competing in the Sahara Conference group phase previously played in the NBA G League. Majok was drafted 58th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011 NBA Draft.
|Team||Player||Country||Last G League Team|
|CFV (Mozambique)||Randy Ozoemena Onwuasur||Nigeria/USA||Salt Lake City Stars|
|DUC (Senegal)||Chadrack Lufile||Democratic Republic of the Congo||Sioux Falls Skyforce|
|REG (Rwanda)||Anthony Rashad Walker||USA||Stockton Kings|
|S.L.A.C (Guinea)||Marcus Christopher Crawford||USA||Iowa Energy|
|S.L.A.C (Guinea)||Dane Anthony Miller Jr.||USA||Oklahoma City Blue|
|S.L.A.C (Guinea)||Jawachi Josh Nzeakor||Nigeria||Memphis Hustle|
|S.L.A.C (Guinea)||Christopher Ewaoche Obekpa||Nigeria||Santa Cruz Warriors|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Ater James Majok||Sudan||Los Angeles D-Fenders|
The six teams feature nine former NCAA Division I players:
|AS Salé (Morocco)||Abdoulaye Harouna Amadou||Niger||Miami|
|AS Salé (Morocco)||Terrell De Von Stoglin||USA||Maryland|
|REG (Rwanda)||Javon Filer Adonis||Rwanda/USA||Florida Atlantic|
|REG (Rwanda)||Alex Olenga Mpoyo||Rwanda||Grambling State|
|REG (Rwanda)||Cleveland Thomas||USA||Western Kentucky|
|REG (Rwanda)||Anthony Rashad Walker||USA||Texas at Arlington|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Michael Andre Dixon||USA||Memphis|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Ater James Majok||Sudan||Connecticut|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Wassef Methnani||Tunisia||Fairfield|
The Sahara Conference also features 11 players who previously participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program for top prospects from across the continent that has seen 10 former campers drafted into the NBA, including Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012) and Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011):
|AS Salé (Morocco)||Badreddine Azouga||Morocco||BWB Africa 2012|
|AS Salé (Morocco)||Abdelmajid El Madini||Morocco||BWB Africa 2015|
|CFV (Mozambique)||Ermelino Orlando Novela||Mozambique||BWB Africa 2009|
|CFV (Mozambique)||Helton Sergio Jacinto Ubisse||Mozambique||BWB Africa 2012|
|DUC (Senegal)||Cheikh Bamba Diallo||Senegal||BWB Africa 2013|
|DUC (Senegal)||Thierno Niang||Senegal||BWB Africa 2008|
|S.L.A.C (Guinea)||Christopher Obekpa||Nigeria||BWB Africa 2009|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Firas Lahyani||Tunisia||BWB Africa 2009|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Oussama Marnaoui||Tunisia||BWB Africa 2016|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Wassef Methnani||Tunisia||BWB Africa 2015|
|US Monastir (Tunisia)||Mohamed Adam Rassil||Tunisia||BWB Africa 2016|
AS Salé head coach Liz Mills (Australia) will make history when she leads the Moroccan champions at the BAL, becoming the first woman to coach a BAL team and first woman to coach a Moroccan men’s team. REG is led by head coach and former NBA player Robert Pack. During his 13-year NBA career,
Pack played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Washington Bullets, New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Hornets.
The 12 BAL teams, which include defending BAL Champion Zamalek (Egypt), have been divided into two conferences – the Sahara Conference and the Nile Conference. Each conference will play a 15- game group phase during which each team will face the five other teams in its conference once. The Sahara Conference group phase will take place at the Dakar Arena from March 5-15, while the Nile Conference group phase will take place at Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo, Egypt from April 9-19. The top four teams from each conference will qualify for the BAL Playoffs, which will feature a single-elimination tournament and Finals at Kigali Arena in Rwanda from May 21-28.
Rosters for Nile Conference teams will be announced at a later date.