George Galanopoulos Credit: FIBA
[/media-credit] George Galanopoulos Credit: FIBA

When Uganda national men’s basketball team to play at the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers was named earlier last week, three players were recieving their first ever call for national duty.

Guards, Jordin Mayes and Emmanuel Mugenga as well as center/forward John Deng Geu recieved their first summons to the National Team.

JKL Dolphins center Ivan Lumanyika was also recalled to the team but he is a first timer under head coach George Galanopoulos, having not been part of the team since 2014.

With the team currently camped in Turkey where they are taking part in the Molten Istanbul Cup, Galanopoulos along with his assistants Mandy Juruni and Omar Barajab have taken a proper look at the new players.

“I like the idea of playing these many exhibition games because I think it is the preparations for us to practice and get better moving forward,” Galanopoulos said in an interview.

On the new players on the team, the American coach of Greek decent said: “So, we have three new players on the team… Jordin Mayes, Emmanuel Mugenga and Deng Geu.

“Mayes is a combo guard, he can play a little bit of point guard, he can shoot, he can drive i, he is good defender and he is particularly a good scorer so he will be a good addition for us.

“We tried to get Mugenga involved today (vs. Saudi Arabia), he is a bigger guard who can post up, he can drive in, he can pass, he can play defense so we are looking forward to integrating him into our offense and defense.

“Deng Geu is 6’8” center from North Dakota State University. He can shoot it, he is quick on his feet, he can drive to the basket, he has got a nice post game and he can pass the ball as well. He is a big addition to us, somebody in the big position we have not had yet as far as the skill set he has.

“Lumanyika is big, strong and physical. He can pass the ball, he can drive. He is the guy we are looking at for energy off the bench, set screens, play around the basket, rebound the basketball and do whatever he can to bring energy to the game in the second unit.”

The team has so far played four games in the Molten Istanbul Cup winning two and losing as many.

After the camp, the team will head to West Africa for the first round (second leg) of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers scheduled for June 29 to July 1 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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