SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - The FIBA AfroBasket 20017 was fruitful and it disclosed some of the continent's finest basketball talents.
Although Nigerian Ike Diogu was undisputedly the tournament Most Valuable Player, a number of players have made the event worth watching.
With a tournament-high 22 points per game, Diogu headlined the All-Star team along with Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), Tunisian duo of Mourad El Mabrouk and Mohamed Hadidane and his fellow Nigerian Ikenna Iroegbu.
But, how about players who carried their teams to levels that few expected to?
There is only way to describe them: Unsung heroes.
And this is why.
1. Benoit Mbala (Cameroon)
However, Mbala - a versatile and highly-athletic 22-year-old forward - made his international basketball introduction in style, leading Cameroon in scoring (21.8 points) and rebounding (9.3) as they reached the Quarter-Finals for the first time since 2013.
While Cameroon fell to eventual runners-up Nigeria in the last eight, Mbala returned home with tournament-high 32 points under his belt.
2. Ikechukwu Nwamu (Nigeria)
Some of the most entertaining plays of the tournament came from Nwamu's hands. He dunked, hit three-pointers countless times, and even played tough defense.
It came as no surprise that he received the best three-pointer award.
3. Robinson Opong (Uganda)
4. Leandro Conceicao (Angola)
5. Herve Kabasele (DR Congo)
As the youngest player in the tournament, 20-year-old power forward-center Kabasele played like a veteran leading his country with a team-high 14.8 points.
6. Mohamed Choua (Morocco)
7. Lukusa Myck Kabongo (DR Congo)
Kabasele may have led the DR Congo in scoring, but Myck Kabongo's impact throughout the tournament was fundamental to put the Congolese basketball back on international map again.
In the process, Congo reached the Quarter-Finals after a decade-long absence.
8. Moustafa Elmekawi (Egypt)
9. Clevin Hannah (Senegal)
10. Ziyed Chennoufi (Tunisia)
In two months time, most of these players will be back action for the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers.
By Julio Chitunda for FIBA.com