RADES (AfroBasket 2015) Mounir Benzegala’s AfroBasket debut couldn’t have been any better as he helped his country finish sixth at AfroBasket 2015.
The Algerians closed their AfroBasket campaign with a 69-63 defeat to Egypt.
But, the 1.80 point guard couldn’t gone unnoticed either.
However, what made the 28-year-old really relevant for Algeria was his impactful contribution on floor.
As the team’s primary point guard, the USA-born averaged a team-high 3.8 assists and 7.8 per game to help Algeria improve from continental record from two years ago.
Benzegala sat down with FIBA.com to explain how a team that missed out direct qualification for AfroBasket 2015, but were awarded a wild card invitation, ended up doing so well.
“It was definitely a success in terms of the objectives, which was to finish in the top-8,” he said.
“Now that we’ve played against Senegal and we beat Cameroon [Round of 16 triumph], I feel that guys are gaining some experience and confidence.”
“That was a team effort. We worked very hard. It was probably one of the best games that I have ever played in terms of atmosphere and excitement and the way we finished it,” he noted.
“We are excited because most people didn’t expect us to do as well .
“Maybe in the next two years we come with a totally different mindset and take it to next level.”
Benzegala, who played college basketball for NCAA Division 2 University of Tampa, feels that he could have done a lot better.
He also returns home with the feeling of accomplishment,” he noted.
I was happy with the way our guys responded - Benzegala
“In terms of leadership the most important thing was to be able to communicate with guys, and I’ll try to continue to do that.
Algeria concluded their campaign with a 4-3, and the Benzegala feels they should be better in a couple of years.
As for his performance, the GS Petroliers guard insists there is still something missing: “I just need to work on my mid-range game, and finishing at the basket. These are two of my key goals.”
Despite Algeria’s sixth-place, basketball in the country still faces barriers Benzegala says.
“One of the biggest issues we have [in Algeria] is that we don’t have a lot of competition.
“More than half of the national team is from GSP Petroliers, and the rest are foreign-based.
“It’s tough when you have a disparity in competition.”