Can APR BBC march to BAL success in debut season?

ARMÉE Patriotique Rwandaise Basketball Club, or APR BBC, is one of the newcomers in Season 4 of the Basketball Africa League (BAL). The Big Tip Off previews the team ahead of the BAL.

Team: APR BBC

Country: Rwanda

History: APR is Rwanda’s most decorated basketball team, with an impressive record of 14 Rwandan Basketball League (RBL) titles. With three FIBA Africa Champions Club appearances and a podium finish in 2009, APR has earned its place among the best in the country.

Despite a 14-year dry spell from 2009 onwards, APR made a stunning comeback in Game 4 of the RBL finals in September, clinching a remarkable 80-68 win over REG and sweeping the best-of-seven series.

APR secured automatic qualification to Season 4 of the BAL by winning the national championship in their country.

Coach: Mazen Trakh, a Jordanian-American coach, will lead APR in their debut in the BAL. Trakh has vast experience as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Detroit Pistons, and the Washington Wizards. Additionally, he worked as an advanced scout for the Golden State Warriors.

APR's Mazen Trakh
Mazen Trakh has been preparing APR for the BAL in Qatar. Picture: Supplied

Between 2003 and 2006, Coach Trakh led Fastlink, a Jordanian basketball team, to three consecutive Jordan League Championship titles. In 2006, he topped off his coaching tenure with the team by winning the FIBA Asia Club Championship.

Furthermore, Trakh has coached in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and the American Basketball Association (ABA).

In May, he joined APR and successfully led them out of their drought by implementing off-court and on-court changes. These changes ultimately paid off, helping them secure their BAL ticket.

Trakh will be assisted by Bill Bayno, a veteran coach he has worked with at the CBA and during his time with the Detroit Pistons. Bayno brings his vast experience as a coach in the National Basketball Association, National Collegiate Athletic Association, CBA, and the Philippine Basketball Association.

Star Player: Jean Jacques Wilson Nshobozwabyosenumukiza is one of the stars the army side has in its arsenal. Nshobozwabyosenumukiza was crowned the 2022/23 RBL Playoffs MVP. The point guard averaged 13.2 points per game, 2.1 steals per game and eight rebounds per game.

Nshobozwabyosenumukiza is going to make his third appearance in the BAL. The speedy point guard had played for Patriots BBC in the first season of the BAL. A year later, he joined three-time RBL champions REG and appeared in two BAL seasons. During his second appearance in the BAL, Nshobozwabyosenumukiza averaged an impressive 14.2 points per game, 3.5 assists per game, 1.7 steals per game, and 3.7 defensive rebounds per game. Those remarkable performances earned him a place in the All-Defensive Team.

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