Ogundiran started in seven of the eight games in the tournament. (Courtesy of Jordan Ogundiran)

Ogundiran debuts for Nigerian National Team

Men’s basketball senior guard Jordan Ogundiran represented the Nigerian national team this summer in an international tournament held in China, helping his team place second.

Nigeria competed in the PEAK International Invitational and lost in the final of the tournament to the United States.

“It was just an amazing experience being able to go to a different country, experience different cultures all because of basketball,” Ogundiran said.

Ogundiran started in seven of the eight games in the tournament. (Courtesy of Jordan Ogundiran)

Ogundiran is from Chatsworth, California, but his parents are from Nigeria and moved to the United States when they were in their mid-20s.

Coach Alex Nwora first contacted Ogundiran about representing Nigeria in two tournaments in the spring, but because of school Ogundiran waited until the summer to make his national team debut.

“I’ve always had strong relations with the country. I’ve visited a couple of times,” Ogundiran said. “Being able to get that opportunity it’s just an amazing feeling.”

Nigeria played eight games in 11 days with Ogundiran starting all but the first game and contributing between 25-30 minutes a game. Nigeria played against other national teams comprised of professional players. The team performed well despite having little practice time due to the team coming together on short notice according to Ogundiran.

Playing against professional players for the first time, the basketball IQ of the opponents stood out most to Ogundiran.

“They read things a little bit different,” Ogundiran said. “They’ve been playing a little bit longer, some a lot longer. They’ve been playing against pros, a lot of them since they were 16.”

Nigeria played hosts China during the tournament in an atmosphere that Ogundiran described as “surreal” and something he’s never experienced being asked for photos and autographs from fans.

Ogundiran returns to Cal Poly Pomona as one of three seniors on this year’s team. Last season, the Broncos won the regular season California Collegiate Athletic Association title and reached the NCAA tournament before falling to Saint Martin’s University in the first round.

Ogundiran started 29 games for a team that finished 23-7 overall. He led the team in scoring with 14.2 points per game and averaged four assists per game. Playing with and against professional players this summer is something Ogundiran is looking to take advantage of this year with Cal Poly Pomona.

“The way I prepare for games, just take a more professional approach to things,” Ogundiran said. “Improving my leadership as well because I learned a lot from guys on the team about just the little things like encouraging teammates more when bad things happen, when good things happen.”

Ogundiran hopes to play for Nigeria again, but has not been in contact with Nwora much since the tournament finished.

His goal is to play professionally either in the United States or abroad once he graduates, but right now he’s more concerned with the upcoming basketball season.

“I’m just going with the flow, I’m just living in the moment, enjoying this last season coming up with the team,” Ogundiran said. “We got a lot of goals on our plate and after that, maybe I’ll start thinking about the future and what’s ahead.”

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