What will Rivers Hoopers’ impact be in BAL Season 4?

RIVERS Hoopers head into Season 4 of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) after last appearing in 2021. The Big Tip Off previews the King’s Men ahead of the continental tournament.

Team: Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club

Country: Nigeria

History: The Nigerian side returns to the BAL for their second appearance. They were founded in 2005 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, as Royal Hoopers. They became Rivers Hoopers in 2019 when the Government of River State took over the team. The team participates in the Nigerian Premier League (NPL) and has enjoyed great success. They have won the national championship five times. They bowed out of the BAL tournament in the group stages when they last participated in 2021.

Ogoh Oduadu with the Nigerian national team.
Ogoh Odaudu (pictured coaching Nigeria) and the Rivers Hoopers will return to the BAL. Pictures: FIBA.

Route to BAL: Nigeria is one of the six countries that do not have to qualify for the BAL through Road To BAL. Their national champion automatically qualifies. 

Coach: Former Nigerian national team player Ogoh Odaudu will lead the Hoopers in their second appearance at the BAL. The former point guard has been club coach since 2009 during which he has won the national championship five times. He is also part of the national team coaching staff. Odaudu was head coach at AfroCAN in 2019 and assistant at the Tokyo Olympics. The experienced coach will be looking to take his team further this time towards achieving the ultimate goal of winning the BAL.

Star player: Victor Anthony Koko is the star player. The Nigerian centre is the team captain and leader. He will be looking to lead his team to greater heights in the tournament after a poor campaign in 2021. He averaged 7 points and 8 rebounds per game in that season. Koko also represented Nigeria in the FIBA AfroCAN in 2019. Koko has since been named finals MVP in the NPL.

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