Nigeria pulled off a stunning upset of USA Basketball on Saturday to become the first African country to defeat the United States, and the group received a huge contribution from Miami Heat center Precious Achiuwa.
Achiuwa, who was born in Port Harcourt, hauled in a key rebound late to seal the 90-87 win over the U.S. He also hit a 3-pointer in the third quarter and had perhaps the highlight of the game when he blocked Kevin Durant at the rim.
Despite the contest being just an exhibition, the win for Nigeria was monumental and among the greatest upsets in the sport. The U.S. had gone 39-0 over its last three Olympic runs, including exhibition games, en route to gold medals.
He is extremely important to this program. There is no ceiling to how good he can be. As a young guy, you see the talent, you see the determination, you see the intelligence, you see the physical and mental toughness, you see the athleticism, the length, the quickness. You see all those things, and when he puts them all together, he is dynamite on the floor, even as a young guy.
Achiuwa is one of eight active NBA players on the Nigerian roster and has a strong chance to be named to the final 12-man Olympic roster. He offers the team a strong presence inside and often does the dirty work on the court, something that Brown said was similar to how Draymond Green plays.
Precious Achiuwa with the big block for Nigeria!
— NBA (@NBA) July 11, 2021
The performance by Nigeria against the U.S. likely just put the world on notice as it is clear the squad is not afraid of anyone heading into the Olympics and that could be a scary thought for all of those teams.
Nigeria plays its second exhibition game on Monday versus Argentina.