Basketball Africa League 2023 guide - Schedule, scores, and everything you need to know

Joakim Noah: Ulrich is our fighting spirit (0:29)

Former NBA center Joakim Noah brands REG's 17-year-old power forward Ulrich Chomche as the hope of Cameroonian basketball. (0:29)

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 ran from April 26-May 6, and the playoffs and finals will be in Kigali, Rwanda from May 20-27.

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) - Bolded teams advanced to playoffs

Playoffs in Kigali

AS Douanes' Boissy has BAL title, MVP, NBA Summer League in his sights

AS Douanes star Jean-Jacques Boissy has not had the best, if any, luck with getting American teams to pay attention to him, but he hopes driving his team to an unexpected Basketball Africa League final will change that. The team from Senegal defeated pre-tournament favourites Petro de Luanda in the BAL seminfinals this week, a shock result that sent the packed Kigali crowd into a frenzy. Boissy [23] was the key to that narrow win, hitting 16 of his 17 free throws and top-scoring with 28 points.

Al Ahly's veterans, like Oregon's Ehab Amin, will be the key to BAL victory

Saturday's Basketball Africa League (BAL) final between Egypt's Al Ahly and Senegal's AS Douanes in Kigali feels like a moment which Ahly guard Ehab Amin has been preparing for all of his basketball life. Amin started playing basketball in Alexandria at age 6, and grew up at club Sporting Alexandria, but he first became accustomed to true pressure when playing for the University of Oregon Ducks.

Dramane Camara's success with Al Ahly shows Mali basketball's growth

The Basketball Africa League semi-final on May 24 between Al Ahly and Stade Malien will be a win-win for Malian basketball, regardless of the result. If Ahly win, then one of Mali's brightest prospects in Dramane Camara will play in the BAL final. If Stade Malien cause an upset, then their very own team from Bamako will have a shot at being the most unlikely African champions.

Inside Egyptian basketball's quest to get players to the NBA and WNBA

Egypt has only ever had two NBA players, Alaa Abdelnaby and Abdel Nader, with neither of them home-raised, but there are signs to suggest change is on the horizon as the Basketball Africa League raises Egypt-based players' profiles. Egyptian club Zamalek were African champions in 2021 and Al Ahly have made the playoffs in Kigali this year, where they will face hosts Rwanda Energy Group (REG) in the quarterfinals on May 20.

The rise of Samkelo Cele, South Africa's best NBA hope since... Steve Nash

Cape Town Tigers forward Samkelo Cele is the reason his team reached the upcoming Basketball Africa League playoffs in Kigali, Rwanda, and aims to become only the second South Africa-born NBA player since Steve Nash. Cele, who scored 28 points in the Tigers' final Nile Conference game to send them to Kigali, is from Durban, while Nash was born in Johannesburg before his family moved to Canada when he was a child. (Thabo Sefolosha, while of South African heritage, was born in Switzerland.)

WSU's Rueben Chinyelu is using the BAL to chase his dream of becoming a doctor

Washington State Cougars' 6-foot-11 center Rueben Chinyelu, who is chasing a Basketball Africa League title with Stade Malien, has big dreams -- to complete a career double of reaching the NBA and becoming an MD. On the court, Chinyelu dreams of being a basketball star, a mixture of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Hakeem Olajuwon, the two Nigerian players from whom he says he has drawn the most inspiration.

Nile Conference

Zaire Wade has stopped trying to be universally liked

Zaire Wade is no longer concerned about what his critics think of him, nor does he care what anyone thinks about his decision to play for the Cape Town Tigers in this year's Basketball Africa League (BAL). He handles the constant (constant!) questions about, and comparisons to, his father with the grace and poise of a child raised in the spotlight, but gets more defensive than Anthony Davis when the BAL gets spoken about in negative terms.

Former Lakers coach Rasheed Hazzard on imparting Kobe Bryant's lessons to Cape Town Tigers

Cape Town Tigers head coach Rasheed Hazzard, who was an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers when Kobe Bryant was their star player, told ESPN that he learned more than 'Mamba Mentality' from Bryant and that working with him was a lesson in humility.

Is former Laker Ater Majok the final puzzle piece in Petro de Luanda's quest for BAL glory?

Pinterest Email print Angolan basketball giants Petro de Luanda are by far the favourites for this year's Basketball Africa League title, having finished third and then second in the previous two editions, but first they must make it through Cairo. In Petro's favour, they have signed former Los Angeles Lakers draftee Ater Majok, who has extensive experience in leagues around the world, including Australia, and last year won the BAL with Monastir.

Evans Ganapamo to transfer Milwaukee Bucks lessons to Cape Town Tigers at BAL

Cape Town Tigers forward Evans Ganapamo feels he is playing the best basketball of his career, after his NBA Summer League stint with the Milwaukee Bucks, and will take those lessons to the Basketball Africa League Nile Conference. Ganapamo is eager to apply what he learned, to help the Tigers succeed where he admits they failed last year: playing as a team.

Sahara Conference

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.

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.

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.