The National Basketball Association (NBA) Monday announced the opening of a new elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal. The new facility, which features two indoor basketball courts, a multidimensional activity center, a weight room, conference rooms as well as dormitories and educational facilities, will be the primary training location for NBA Academy Africa prospects from across the continent.
The new basketball facility features an eco-friendly structure that utilizes safe, durable and repurposed shipping containers as well as large-span steel trusses and fabric roofing.
Today’s opening ceremony was attended by Senegalese Minister of Sport, Matar Ba; Mayor of Saly, Ousmane Gueye; NBA Deputy Commissioner, Mark Tatum; NBA Vice President and Managing Director for Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall; FIBA Africa President, Hamane Niang; Diambars President, Saer Seck, and former NBA and WNBA players, Astou Ndiaye (Senegal), Cheikh Samb (Senegal), Shareef-Abdur Rahim (U.S.), DeSagana Diop (Senegal) and Olumide Oyedeji (Nigeria).
The second NBA Academy Africa Women’s camp, which brought together 24 female prospects ages 17 and under from nine African countries, was held at the new facility from Oct. 25-28. 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame member Jennifer Azzi and former college coach Blair Hardiek – the global technical directors for women’s programming across the league’s seven academies – oversaw the camp.
“We are thrilled to open this world class new venue in Saly for NBA Academy Africa prospects,” said Fall. “This facility will provide aspiring players from across the continent with state-of-the-art courts and training equipment, under the tutelage of our NBA coaches, and our world class academic staff. This facility, and the enabling environment around it, will help uphold our commitment to a holistic approach to player development and providing our elite African student athletes with the tools to succeed on and off the court.”
The NBA Academy Africa is operated in partnership with the SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a non-profit organization that uses basketball as a platform to engage youth in academic, athletic and leadership programs. NBA Academies, which employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, health and wellness, character development and life skills, include educational development for top male and female prospects from outside the U.S. and mark a signature elite player development initiative for the NBA. The initiative exposes elite prospects to NBA-level coaching and facilities, while providing a global framework for them to maximize their success. As part of the program, the prospects compete against top competition throughout the year and have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that play in international tournaments and exhibition games.
Since October 2016, NBA Academies have been launched in Canberra, Australia; Jinan, Urumqi and Zhuji, China; Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), India; Mexico City, Mexico; and Saly, Senegal.
Since The NBA Academy Africa opened in May 2017, 24 elite male prospects ages 14-20 have received scholarships and training after scouting programs conducted with local federations across the continent. The NBA Academy Africa has participated in international tournaments and exhibition games in Australia, Europe and the United States. The first NBA Academy Africa Women’s camp was held in May in Dakar. Three NBA Academy Africa graduates have gone on to commit to NCAA Division 1 schools.
The NBA Academy Africa builds on the NBA’s existing basketball and youth development initiatives in Africa, including Jr. NBA programs for boys and girls ages 16 and under in Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal and South Africa. Basketball Without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program, has been held in Africa 16 times, with 10 former BWB Africa campers drafted into the NBA.