Andy Ogide, soon-to-be Olympian.
Ogide, the former Colorado State Men’s Basketball star, helped his Nigerian National team to their first-ever Afrobasket Championship on Sunday as Nigeria beat Angola 74-65. The win means an automatic bid into the 2016 Olympics, which will be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year.
We caught up with Andy via email to share in his excitement.
“This was my second time playing with them,” Ogide said of the Nigerian National team. “I was hurt playing in the Afrobasket in 2013, so coming back this year and winning it was even sweeter.”
For those that don’t know, Ogide is full-blooded Nigerian, allowing him to represent his heritage through basketball. “Both of my parents were born and raised in Nigeria,” he said. “I was born in the U.S. So I have both passports.”
For Nigeria, the road was difficult through Afrobasket 2015. They went 2-1 in the group phase before advancing to the round of 16. There, they walked over Mozambique 83-47. In the next round, it was a comfortable 88-64 victory over Gabon. Senegal put up a tough test in the semi-final round, with the game going to overtime and Nigeria winning that period 12-3 for the 88-79 win. Which brought the final and championship for Nigeria over Angola Sunday.
“It’s one of, if not the proudest moment of my life,” Ogide said of winning the championship. “To see what it means for the people of Nigeria, and also it being the first Afrobasket Championship in Nigerian history; makes it that much sweeter. And also having the chance to say you could be an Olympian is an indescribable feeling.”
Ogide averaged 6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game during the 2015 Afrobasket, on 19.1 minutes per contest.
Those who have been Rams fans for years remember Ogide in 2009-10 and 2010-11 as Colorado State’s big man on campus. As a junior, the 6-foot-9 inch power forward was named second-team All-Mountain West with 11.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. That year, CSU Men’s Basketball went 19-13 overall, losing their first game in the MW Tournament and then losing to Fairfield 62-60 in the first round of the NIT.
Still, Ogide’s team laid the foundation for the winning and two NCAA Tournament appearances since. And the former Rams star still follows his college team closely, even from the other side of the world.
“Yeah of course, I keep up with the team every year,” he said in the interview. “Every year we made the tournament, I’d make sure my teams overseas fill out March Madness brackets. I love where the program is at and where I think it’s going. I think (Larry) Eustachy is a great coach and will only keep growing the program and getting us respect nationally. Hopefully the snub from the selection committee last year only makes us stronger.”
Ram fans remember the 27-7 record only to be snubbed by the NCAA Selection Committee last year and then lose in the first round of the NIT. As Ogide said, hopefully Rams basketball bounces back with that chip on their shoulder this season.