While most college basketball players around the country were completing summer courses and offseason workouts on their respective campuses, Drexel’s Mohamed Bah was representing the Malian national team in the 2015 AfroBasket tournament.
The AfroBasket tournament, which was once known as “The African Championship of Nations”, takes place every two years and brings together some of the best African players from around the globe. The tournament serves as a qualifier for the Olympics. The winning team will get an automatic bid into the games.
The 28th edition of the AfroBasket tournament was held in Tunisia, which had previously hosted the event in 1965 and 1987. This year’s festivities kicked off on August 19th and will conclude on August 30th, when the final will be played.
Bah, who started in all 30 games last year for the Dragons and shot a team best 54% from the floor, tried out for a spot on Les Aigles (the nickname of the Malian National Team) during the offseason. Although he had to wait a month for the announcement, Bah earned a spot on his national team.
Mali, who was placed in Group C with Cameroon, Egypt and Gabon, started group play against Cameroon on the opening day. Although they lost 70-56, Bah played 8 minutes and grabbed 3 boards.
They would respond two days later with a win over Gabon 78-54 and Bah contributed 5 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and 4 fouls. However, their win streak would not last for long. Mali lost their next game against Egypt 55-49. Bah played 15 minutes and added 3 points and 2 rebounds, but yet again had 4 fouls.
Mali went on to advance to the Round of 16, where they would beat Cote d’Ivoire 76-57. Bah played for 6 minutes and recorded 2 rebounds.
In the quarterfinals, the big man played for 13 minutes, while totaling 6 points and 3 rebounds, but, unfortunately, it was not enough to push Mali into the semifinals. They were eliminated by Tunisia 67-60.
Even though Bah did not play a tremendous role for Les Aigles or win the 2015 AfroBasket tournament, the experience that he gained from playing for his national team and against some of the best African basketball players in the world is invaluable.
However, Bah is not the only person who will benefit from his opportunity to play international basketball. Hopefully, his Drexel teammates can hear about what the experience was like and learn some things.
In addition, the Malian national team and Drexel basketball now have a young and blooming big man, who has gotten the chance to play in a major tournament against grown men before even becoming a pro. What a treat.
Photo courtesy of FIBA.com
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