By Charles Mutebi
JOSEPH Ikong. What a mystery!
Many are still wondering how he made the 12-man Uganda Silverbacks roaster for the Afrobasket Championship (due in Tunisia August 19-30).
But when it comes to Ikong (inset), surprises are the norm. Just when you think Ikong is this, you realise he might be that. If you see him here, he’s probably over there.
A three-time national basketball league top-scorer and champion, Ikong can take your breath away when he applies his athletic powers and two-way skills.
But just as often as he impresses, Ikong confuses. Explosive bursts to the rim are accompanied by moments of erratic execution. It’s Joseph Ikong, the man of mystery.
How he ended up making the cut for the Afrobasket Championship is the stuff of legend in more ways than one.
Not only did it come at the expense of a real legend in the shape of Norman Blick, it came long after what appeared to be the end of Ikong’s run with the men’s national basketball team.
When Ikong was left out of the Uganda Silverbacks squad for last year’s Afrobasket qualifiers, it wasn’t simply a case of the selectors choosing among suitable alternatives.
Ikong seemed neither suitable nor an alternative.
Look, even Ikong himself started 2015 with two major targets and making the Afrobasket team wasn’t one of them. Probably because it seemed unrealistic.
“At the start of this season, my focus was to help my club (TigerHead Power) bounce back from being swept in last year’s Finals,” Ikong told New Vision.
“Secondly, I wanted to improve my discipline off court. I had to cut down on the partying out of respect for our club’s sponsors, who are doing everything for us.”
Obviously, Ikong wanted to go to Tunisia but when you’re Joseph Ikong and your competition is Norman Blick and Steven Omony, hope is your best strategy.
Still, if Ikong was somehow going to deprive arguably the two greatest players in the history of local hoops from the greatest moment of Ugandan hoops, he had to improve.
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How Ikong made it to the Afrobasket team