ANKARA (FIBA) - The basketball fans in Gabon are in the clouds following their national team's qualification for AfroBasket 2015.
News ID: 11944
Date: 11 March 2015 - 21:24
The Gabonese will take part in the event for the first time in a decade. The last time they made an appearance in Africa's flagship event was a decade ago in Algeria, and in that team was a tremendous athletic talent named Stephane Lasme, a player at the University of Massachusetts in American college basketball. Just 22 years old at the time, Lasme showed everyone in that tournament that he had a bright future, averaging 11.7 points and 10. 1 rebounds. He would not have anticipated at the time that he would have to wait 10 years to play in the AfroBasket again, but such was the case. Lasme has been a real force in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague in recent times, playing in the competition for Panathinaikos and now Anadolu Efes. A 2.03m forward, he protects the rim on defense, grabs plenty of rebounds and also scores. In 2013, he was named the Euroleague Defender of the Year while on the books of Pana. He had 52 blocks that season in Europe's elite club competition. There have been many Lasme dunks over the years to get the fans off their seats. With the 32-year-old Lasme saying he wants to play, Gabon will have a tremendous player to rely on in the low post. They will also have someone with a lot of experience that should prove vital in the tough moments of games. When he reflected on AfroBasket experience in an interview with FIBA.com earlier this year, Lasme had great recollections. "Playing [in the 2005 edition of the tournament] gave me a lot of confidence going back the following year [to the University of Massachusetts]," he said. Lasme is now trying to help Anadolu Efes reach the Quarter-Finals of the Euroleague. They are fourth in their Top 16 Group F with four wins and five defeats - the same record as Laboral Kutxa. Once his Euroleague season is over with Anadolu Efes, he will try to help create even more lasting memories. The winners of AfroBasket 2015 will qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.