Jordin Mayes had his first experience of African basketball during last year’s FIBA Africa Zone V Qualifiers in Kampala, Uganda.
He lit up Lugogo Indoor Stadium in City Oilers jersey as the five-time Ugandan league champions waltzed to their second successive regional title, qualifying for the Champions Cup.
The 26-year-old was part of the City Oilers that played at the continental tournament where they finished fifth and if his performance for Oilers is anything to go by then will be a very important player for Uganda at the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers in Lagos, Nigeria from June 29 – July 1.
The American-born combo guard, who is currently with the Silverbacks in a training camp in Istanbul, Turkey is excited about the prospects that lie ahead for Uganda.
“It is going to be a great environment of basketball. I want to just go out there and compete at the highest level against three great teams and leave it all out there on the floor and leaving Nigeria qualified for the next round of play,” Mayes told FIBA.basketball.
It is an honor to be playing for the national team and having the support of Uganda and the team behind me and welcoming me to be apart of something special to come.
Mayes has familiar players in the team who he played with at City Oilers in Robinson Odoch Opong and Jimmy Enabu as well as James Okello and Stephen Omony.
Opong and Enabu are the leading points scorers across the four groups in the African Qualifiers and along with Mayes, Uganda has a high chance of advancing to the next round of qualifiers.
“Going out there and competing as long as we compete, we are going to have a great chance at winning all three games.
“We know the other teams are going to come out ready we have to maximise their intensity and make sure we execute the game plan the coach has for us each game.
“Everybody on the team knows what is at stake and we have to use that to fuel us and make sure we go out there and win some games.
“This is a great group of guys going to Nigeria from the management to the coaches and to the players. There is good chemistry flowing with the team right now and we cannot wait to get to Nigeria and fight!”
Uganda sit second in Group B with four points behind unbeaten table leaders Nigeria who amassed six points in the last window last February. Mali and Rwanda are third and fourth respectively behind on goal difference.