The inaugural Basketball Africa League came to an end on Sunday, with Zamalek of Egypt upsetting Tunisia’s US Monastir, who had been unbeaten till then, to be crowned champions in Kigali.
Thus ended two packed weeks of action in a shortened tournament, which had been postponed and re-organised in order to accommodate COVID-19 safety concerns.
Here are some numerical reminders of the tournament.
5 – The number of points which rapper J. Cole (Jermaine Cole) scored for hosts the Patriots in three group games. Cole also picked up three assists and five rebounds. The Patriots finished in fourth place, but Cole played no part in the playoffs.
13 – Champions Zamalek won every game at the BAL by a margin of at least 13 points. Their closest contest was the final, in which they beat Monastir 76-63. Monastir were billed by many as favourites to win the prize, but the Egyptian side emerged as the worthy winners, taking the first ever BAL trophy to the White Castle.
60 – The number of NBA regular season games played by Ben Uzoh of the Rivers Hoopers. The BAL was jointly organised by the NBA and FIBA, with Nigerian point guard Uzoh the player with the most NBA experience at the tournament.
13 – The total number of players which teams were allowed to choose in their final rosters. Of those, only four foreign players were allowed.
26 – The total number of games which took place at the inaugural BAL — all at one venue at the Kigali Arena. This stadium was initially scheduled to host the Final Four, and the regular season was set to be hosted in six venues across Africa. Plans were changed when the season was shortened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Players were housed in a bio-bubble aimed at alleviating safety concerns and the tournament ran smoothly for the most part.
18 – The youngest player at the BAL tournament, Zamalek’s Mohab Yasser Abdallatif, was only 18 years old.
After a turnover, Zamalek guard Mohab Yasser Abdallatif breaks away to the bucket for a one-handed jam.
40 – The most points scored by a player in a single game. This honour belongs to AS Salé’s Terrell Stoglin, who had helped Zamalek qualify for the BAL before it was postponed. Stoglin sparked mixed responses when he told ESPN that despite the benefits of the attention he drew to the BAL, J. Cole’s presence at the tournament was “disrespectful”. However, the outspoken former Maryland star did most of his talking on the court with an average of 30.8 points per game.
47 – The biggest winning margin in any game at the BAL. Tunisia’s US Monastir picked up a whopping 113-66 win over Madagascar’s GNBC in the group stage.
15.5 – The average points per game picked up by the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) Walter Hodge. He also averaged 5.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds. The former Florida Gators star was recognised as the MVP following Zamalek’s final win over Monastir.
12.0 – The average number of rebounds per game for AS Police’s Ibrahima Thomas — the most in the tournament. Thomas also had the joint-most rebounds in a single game — 17 against FAP. Petro de Luanda’s Jone Pedro ironically picked up 17 against Thomas’ AS Police.
12 – The most assists for an individual player in a single game. This honour belongs to the Congolese-Canadian Myck Kabongo, who picked up 12 in an 88-74 win for Ferroviário de Maputo over AS Douanes.
215 – The number of countries to which the Basketball Africa League was broadcast, in a total of 15 languages.