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NBA trains local basketball players - Jan 11, 2006

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American National Basketball Association (NBA) has picked 18-year-old Chimwemwe Jeremiah from Mzuzu as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for further observation after he was noticed from 50 other participating youths during a one-day clinic organised by Coca-Cola Africa Foundation at the African Bible College gymnasium in Lilongwe.

He would participate in further training in South Africa in August next year while 15- year-old Tanaka Chikhosi from Lilongwe came second.

Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) identified players from all the country's regions.

Basmal general secretary James Gwaza said the national association identified the talent through regional coaches.

“I think if you look back even in basketball, we have gone into oblivion for the past five years,” Gwaza said. “If we can nurture these 50 youths in a camp, train them for one year or two, we should have very good players of basketball in the country.”

Masai Ujiri and Jarim Akana from the Denver Nuggets, NBA's international scouts, conducted the clinic.

“I think by organising more events like this the coaches would learn more,” Akana said. “We came here not only to coach the players but to train and encourage the coaches.

“They have to keep on working with the kids and do more camps and clinics, that way, basketball will continue to progress at the grassroots,” he said.

The NBA scout said basketball in the country lacked coaching and facilities but said there was enthusiasm from youths to learn the sport.

The coaching clinics are an extension of Sprite Top 100 camp, an annual event that takes place in South Africa.

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