Trail Mix: Aminu and Nigeria champions of Afrobasket, Rick Pitino doesn’t expect Moe Harkless for FIBA Americas


(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu and his Nigerian side won their first continental competition on Sunday, defeating Algeria in the final of Afrobasket 2015. Aminu and Nigeria have guaranteed their place in the 2016 Olympics.

Aminu averaged 12 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals, which earned him All-Tournament honors. Aminu led the Nigerians in free-throw attempts, with 38.

Here are the highlights from the Championship Game yesterday.


Aminu isn’t the only Blazer that’s dedicated his summer for a chance at Rio. As Mike Richman of The Oregonian notes, Blazers assistant Jay Triano is the head man for the Canadian National Team heading into FIBA Americas with the most hyped team they’ve ever had. Fellow Blazers assistant David Vanterpool has been assisting Triano this summer.

And it looks like Triano and Vanterpool will be the only Blazers to look for in Mexico City.

On a blog post on his website, Puerto Rico’s National Team head coach and Louisville head man, Rick Pitino said that he doesn’t expect to have Moe Harkless and he had come to admire his game. He considered the loss of Harkless one of the “lows” of his summer with the Boricuas, adding that once Portland had him, “he was not returning.”

3) Mo Harkless – I really became extremely fond of this young man. Long and talented with a great attitude. He could become a great defender. With him, I thought we were still highly competitive. A few days ago we received an email that Portland wanted to do their own MRI on his sprained ankle. Everyone said that he would meet us in Mexico City. I told them that we will not see him. Once Portland had him, he was not returning. He would get therapy and work at preparing to be a Trailblazer. All that time, hope, and energy gone. I wish him so much luck!

It makes sense that the Blazers won’t let Harkless do any more damage to his ankle for the national team. He was evidently going to be a major part of their team and would be relied upon heavily. The Blazers brass has had very little issue with players participating in USA Basketball, but have noted that NBA players for other countries carry quite the burden for national teams.

Luis Montero was slated to play for the Dominican Republic, but he decided to focus on his NBA career, according to a source. The source said that Montero was scheduled to fly back to Portland today.

Other notes





Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He's covered the NBA for four seasons. You can also occasionally find his work on's NBA section for their TrueCities series. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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