SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - Every FIBA AfroBasket, national teams bring new talents looking to give them an international basketball experience.
Players as young as 16 have featured at FIBA Africa's flagship tournament over the past decade, and today's column offers you a look into how some of them have progressed in their playing careers.
More than 20 players under the age of 20 have played at FIBA AfroBasket since 2007. Below are some examples:
Anas Mahmoud (Egypt)
At 2.13m of height, Mahmoud made his FIBA AfroBasket debut as an 18-year-old in 2013 in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.
Although he had limited playing time in Abidjan, the Giza native called the attention of University of Louisville's head coach Rick Pitino - one of the most respectable coaches in the USA collegiate ranks. In 2014 Mahmoud joined the Louisville Cardinales.
Reda Harras (Morocco)
A super athletic small forward, Harras was 17 when he made his first appearance for Morocco men's national team at FIBA AfroBasket 2011 in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
His 21 minutes of action in four games in Madagascar made him one of Morocco's biggest promises. So much, that he saw his playing time tripled four years later in Tunisia, where he averaged 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds.
Abouo was a Brigham Young University star in the USA college ranks when he received a call to represent his native Cote d'Ivoire at FIBA AfroBasket 2009 in Tripoli, Lybia.
He almost became one of the youngest players to win the African championship, however, an 82-72 defeat to Angola ended Abouo's dream.
Meanwhile, the 19-year-old went on to help his country qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2010.
Jimmy Djimrabaye (Central African Republic)
Djimrabaye made his FIBA AfroBasket debut at the age of 17 in Libya in 2009 and has since featured at 2 more editions (2011 and 2015) of the African continent basketball biggest showpiece.
A versatile forward, the 25-year-old is currently making waves for BCM Gravelines in France's Pro-A.
Christian Eyenga (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Eyenga started to show his basketball talent early in his career. And as a 17-year-old, Eyenga made his FIBA AfroBasket debut in style in 2007, before embarking on a successful professional career.
Although he currently plays for Italian side Pallacanestro Varese, it's his NBA spell with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers that marked the highest moment of his playing career so far.
The list of African teenagers who made their transition from the FIBA AfroBasket to the to the basketball world is almost endless. Here some examples of players who featured at AfroBasket before the age of 20: Johan Grebongo (CAF) was 19 in 2013; Egypt's Assem Marei was 18 in 2011; Mali's Waly Coulibaly, 19 in 2007 and Nigeria's Ibrahim Yusuf was 19 in 2007.
This year's FIBA AfroBasket in August will surely offer more talents in the making.
By Julio Chitunda for FIBA.com