How Phoenix Suns players, Uganda’s Ish Wainright, Nigeria’s Josh Okogie fared on day one of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers

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By Morris Rawal

During the offseason, a few Phoenix Suns players are keeping themselves occupied by playing FIBA matches for their respective nations.

Josh Okogie of Nigeria and Ish Wainright of Uganda are now taking part in that for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers, which recommenced on Friday.

The African region of qualifiers began over a 15-month period, starting in November of last year and continuing through February of this year. August saw the commencement of the second round of qualifying, which will reduce 12 teams to the top five that will advance to the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023.

Some of these qualifying periods, like the final stretch of games in February, fall in the middle of the NBA season, making it impossible for players like Okogie and Wainright to participate.

However, they are able to support their nation in the off-season, which is what both of them are doing right now as Okogie’s Nigeria and Wainright’s Uganda battle it out for one of the three spots available out of the six teams in Group E.

Okogie recorded a total of 23 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, five steals, and a block in a defeat to the Ivory Coast on Friday. 

As a result, Nigeria is now 2-3 overall and in the group, making Sunday’s game versus third-place Angola crucial.

In contrast, Wainright had 16 points, eight rebounds, and two assists in Uganda’s defeat of Angola. With a fifth-place finish in the group, Uganda is outside the running for qualification.

Wainright has now participated in three qualification games, but this was Okogie’s first. He scores 18.3 points, pulls down 8.0 rebounds, assists 3.3 times, and steals 1.3 times a game.

Okogie, a free agent that the Suns signed in July, played for Nigeria in international competition and attended the Tokyo Olympics.

In contrast, Wainright had 16 points, eight rebounds, and two assists in Uganda’s defeat of Angola. With a fifth-place finish in the group, Uganda is outside the running for qualification.

Wainright has now participated in three qualification games, but this was Okogie’s first. He scores 18.3 points, pulls down 8.0 rebounds, assists 3.3 times, and steals 1.3 times a game.

Okogie, a free agent that the Suns signed in July, played for Nigeria in international competition and attended the Tokyo Olympics.

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