Rave reviews and plaudits are trailing Nigerian basketball national team, D’Tigers’ former guard, Chamberlain Oguchi, after he was named the country’s best player in the last decade, with some top rated pundits of the game concluding that he truly deserved the honour, megasportsarena.com reports.
Although an initial bolt of disagreement hit the verdict when it was first announced late Monday by the continent’s basketball governing body, FIBA Africa, a school of connoisseurs and experts of the game, led by ace sports writer and broadcaster, Bode Oguntuyi took a closer look at some of Oguchi’s game-changing exploits with D’Tigers and concluded that he deserved the honour.
Born on April 28, 1986, Chamberlain “Champ” Emeka Oguchi last played for Boulazac Basket Dordogne in LNB Pro B, after cutting his teeth in college basketball with Oregon Ducks of USA from 2004 to 2007, then transferred to Illinois State University and played for Illinois Redbirds.
In 2009, Oguchi signed with STB Le Havre of the French Pro-A League; after which he starred for clubs in the NBA D-League, Philippine Basketball Association as well as Lebanese League, West Asian, Venezuelan and Russian Leagues, plus stints in Liga Endesa of Spain, Polish League, LNBP of Mexico, French Pro-B League and Liga Nacional de Básket of Argentina.
During his stint in Philippines, he played for Meralco Bolts, where he became a well known due to his efficiency in mid-range shots, high percentage from very far distances and deadly three-point shooting.
His biggest feats at national team level came during the London 2012 Olympic Games, where his performances saw him draw interest from a number of top American teams; but he eventually signed for NBA D-League side, Maine Red Claws on November 1, 2012.
Oguchi also played at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and the 2016 Olympics, before which he signed with Gran Canaria of Spain on May 13, 2013 and then joined Anwil Włocławek of Poland in August 2015.
At the 2015 FIBA Africa Championship, Oguchi led Nigeria to their first ever AfroBasket title, after defeating Angola 74-65 in the final; en route to which he led D’Tigers in scoring, averaging 16.6 points per game, which saw he named most valuable player and best 3-point shooter.
Oguchi was also named, along with D’Tigers’ colleague, Al-Farouq Aminu, into the All Star Five best players of the 2015 Afrobasket in Tunisia, as he anchored Nigeria in dominating style to their first-ever conquest of the continental championship.
He scored 19 points in the final against a star-studded Angolan team, but his best performance at the tournament was in the semi-final, against a resilient Senegalese side; against which he netted eight of his 13 three-point attempts of the entire competition.
The 34-year-old Oguchi proved to be a big-time player for the national team, netting 35 points at the 2012 Olympics in a 79-73 narrow loss to France, converting eight of 14 three-point attempts and grabbed headlines after burying seven of his 12 three-point attempts in a 96-87 loss to Spain at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
He has now emerged as Nigeria’s best basketball star over the recent ten years, after collations in the second part of FIBA Africa’s ranking of the continent’s top-10 best players of the decade; ahead of D’Tigers captain, Ike Diogu and Orlando Magic of USA power forward, Al-Farouk Aminu, who both also made the list.
They are joined on the content’s roll call by Morocco’s Abdelali Lahrichi, Senegal and Memphis Grizzlies’ Gorgui Dieng, Tunisian duo of Makram Ben Romdhane and Salah Mejri as well as the Angolan pair of Eduardo Mingas and Carlos Morais; from an initial list of 55 top African players based on their impact for club and country at FIBA competitions from 2010 to 2020.