The third edition of the Basketball Africa League runs from March to May this year, with an array of bright and shiny names, like Zaire Wade for one, gracing the NBA and FIBA-affiliated tournament.
The Sahara Conference in Dakar, Senegal ran from March 11-21, the Nile Conference in Cairo, Egypt runs from April 26-May 6, and the playoffs and finals will be in Kigali, Rwanda from May 21-27.
Full schedule and scores HERE.
HOW TO WATCH: The BAL airs live on ESPN in Africa, on DStv channels 218 and 219.
ESPN's team-by-team guide to the 2023 BAL
Sahara Conference teams:
ABC Fighters (Ivory Coast), AS Douanes (Senegal), Kwara Falcons (Nigeria), REG (Rwanda), Stade Malien (Mali), US Monastir (Tunisia - Defending champions) - Bolded teams advanced to playoffs
Nile Conference teams:
Petro de Luanda (Angola), Al Ahly (Egypt), SLAC (Guinea), Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), City Oilers (Uganda), Ferroviario da Beira (Mozambique)
Defending champs US Monastir knocked out of BAL
Basketball Africa League defending champions US Monastir have failed to progress to the BAL playoffs, losing their final Sahara Conference game to hosts AS Douanes of Senegal. Monastir, who won their first three games of the Conference, held in Dakar over the past 10 days, lost their way in the second half of the fortnight and squandered their chance to defend their crown in Kigali, Rwanda, in May.
BAL Sahara Conference goes down to the final day as teams sit neck-and-neck
Heading into the final day of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) Sahara Conference in Dakar, there is still no team which can say beyond doubt that they have qualified for the playoffs. After ABC Fighters beat Kwara Falcons 79-76 and US Monastir beat REG 84-79 on Monday, there is still a possibility that after Tuesday's action, the top five teams will need to be separated on points difference.
Cameroon's best hope since Joel Embiid? Ulrich Chomche is Him
Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam are the NBA's current Cameroonian stars, but Chicago Bulls legend Joakim Noah, who also hails from the African nation, has tipped teenager Ulrich Chomche to be the country's next 'fighting spirit and hope'. Already courted by the University of Arizona Wildcats amongst others, Chomche, the 6'11" 17-year-old hot prospect was plucked from the NBA Academy in Senegal, and is lighting up the Basketball Africa League (BAL) for Rwanda Energy Group (REG).
Would players opt for the BAL ahead of Europe, or G League?
As the Basketball Africa League continues its third season, some players told ESPN that they chose to play in the BAL rather than stick with their teams in more established leagues, so is Africa becoming a preferred destination for younger players? While it's debatable whether the BAL can claim to be one of the best leagues in the world, given it only launched in 2021, it is succeeding in at least luring some top talent away from other leagues with global prestige -- a recent example being British-Nigerian Michael Ochereobia.
Mark Tatum thrilled with BAL's growth inside three years
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum is a familiar face at Basketball Africa League games, and is delighted by the growth of the league, which is a partnership between the NBA and FIBA, in just three years. Speaking to ESPN at the BAL's Sahara Conference in Senegal this week, Tatum said that the league, which started in 2021 after a COVID-19 delay, is becoming a magnet for young talent, whereas the first year featured journeyman veterans.
Former NBA center Joakim Noah brands REG's 17-year-old power forward Ulrich Chomche as the hope of Cameroonian basketball.
Mark Tatum: NBA All-Star Game needs minor tweaks
NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum acknowledged to ESPN that the All-Star Game needs minor tweaks following criticism of its intensity levels in Salt Lake City recently. In defence of the standard of the All-Star Game, which Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone called the "worst basketball game ever played" after leading Team LeBron this year, Tatum argued that management of injury risk should be prioritised alongside competitiveness.
Could US Monastir's Jerome Randle have had Isaiah Thomas's career?
When US Monastir point guard Jerome Randle watched his college rival, Isaiah Thomas, play in the NBA for a decade, he could not help but feel a little jealous. Not because they're both 5'9" and could have had similar careers, but because IT'd had the guidance of his dad.
Chudier Bile puts ABC Fighters on top with their third win securing a spot to the playoffs in Kigali.
Nigeria's Kwara Falcons know they're the underdogs
Kwara Falcons are hoping to prove they're worth their place at the Basketball Africa League when they travel to Dakar, Senegal in March to represent Nigeria at the third edition of the tournament. Nigeria were represented by Rivers Hoopers in the inaugural tournament in 2021, but did not have a team in 2022 after they were disqualified by FIBA. The country's basketball federation, the NBBF, was punished for breaching government interference rules and the Hoopers were left in the cold.
AS Douanes' Matthew Bryan-Amaning on the rise of UK hoops, and BAL dreams
When British-Ghanaian power forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning was a kid in London, he had to go far out of his way to find a game of hoops, but the former Washington Husky, who will be playing for AS Douanes in the Basketball Africa League, says the UK game is growing fast.
Zaire Wade on why he chose Cape Town Tigers
Zaire Wade, son of Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade, officially signed for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) with South African side Cape Town Tigers on Friday, the day before his 21st birthday. While the BAL may be seen by some as a step down from the lofty heights scaled by his father, a three-time NBA champion, the eldest of the Wade kids is simply relieved to have signed another professional contract.