In an Olympic basketball tune-up scrimmage in Las Vegas, Nigeria upset Team USA 90-87, sinking 20 three-pointers.
This was Team USA’s first ever loss to an African nation.
Miami Heat’s Gabe Vincent was Nigeria’s leading scorer with 21 points, shooting 6-of-8 from three-point.
Caleb Agada, who last played for Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Israeli Premier League, scored 17 points (3-of-3 from three-point) for Nigeria, and his strong performance got the attention from people around the NBA.
The 26-year-old is now planning to play in the summer league with the Denver Nuggets after the Olympics.
Nigeria has seven current NBA players and is coached by Mike Brown, who is the associate head coach of the Golden State Warriors.
“Mike’s done a great job with us so far,” Vincent said. “We’ve had a great camp so far. We had to build a new culture, start from the ground up, new plays, new everything. We’ve got a lot of new guys in. It’s different when you’re playing for a country. Right now we’re representing the continent. It means the world to us and I hope we showed it here tonight.”
Nigeria has come a long way since the 2012 Olympics when Team USA blew them out by 83 points (156-73).
From Team USA’s point of view, this was a wake up call.
“In a way I’m kind of glad it happened,” Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said. “It means nothing if we don’t learn from it. It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us. To learn lessons from this.”
Team USA plays their next scrimmage on July 12 against Australia, while Nigeria scrimmages Argentina on the same day.
In the Olympics, Team USA will compete in Group A against Iran, France and Czech Republic.
Nigeria is in Group B with Australia, Germany and Italy.
Group play begins on July 25 for both teams.