What we learnt from week one of NBL action

JKL's Rita Imanishimwe dribbles past a KCCA Leopards player | FUBA image

BASKETBALL What we learnt from week one of NBL action

Ian Asabo • 10:56 - 27.03.2023

The National Basketball League returned for its 2023 season last week, with several games played across the league.

Upsets and convincing wins were all on offer, and here is what we learned in week one of the basketball season.

City Oilers: In a league of their own

After clinching an eighth straight championship last season, eyes were on a ninth straight as this season began. 

The Oilers won three straight games against KIU Titans, who were looked at as title challengers, by a score of 79-51. 

Dmark Power was put to the sword by an offensive masterclass by the Oilers, as they got past a century in points, winning 106-49 and humbling their old rivals in the process.

 KCCA Leopards provided a stern test of the champions, defeating them in a quarter for the first time this season, 24-16 in the third.

 But a fourth-quarter gear change enabled them to win, limiting their opponents to seven points in the quarter to win 72-54 and begin their season.

 The manner of their victories should send shivers down the spine of all the remaining league teams as preparations for the Basketball Africa League are in full gear.

The new signings, Titus Lual and Fayed Bbaale, have seamlessly integrated into the team, averaging 14 and 13 points per game, respectively.

Turnovers are a problem for all teams

All teams that played had problems with turning the ball over and paying on the other end, as teams took advantage. 

An average of 30 turnovers per game was recorded during the week, as most games had teams profiting in double digits off turnovers.

 City Oilers lead the way with points gained from turnovers with more than 50 points.

 However, KIU Titans recorded the least turnovers (14) in both leagues across Week One, just signalling how crucial it affected games.

The defence was the theme of the week

All the teams in week one of the National Basketball League treated us to superb defence. 

Every team has averaged more than 10 steals per game, with the Ndejje Angels leading the way in blocks with 16.

 A big reason for the turnover problem has been how well the teams have played on the defensive end, with the intensity a testament to how the teams have prepared in the off-season.

 Bolton Rujumba and Joseph Kumbai of the Ndejje Angels led the league with six each.

Magic Stormers: The purprise Package in the Opening Week

Magic Stormers came out of the week perfect after back-to-back wins to start their season.

 Wins over Miracle Ravens and a comeback 69-63 win over JT Lady Jaguars have built a good foundation for the team to push on in what looks like an open Women's league this year.

 Last year's finalists JKL Dolphins and UCU Lady Canons, have already dropped games this year.

 KCCA Panthers played exceptionally well in their first game under Miller Fitzgerald when they beat the JKL Dolphins. 

The KIU Rangers and the JT Lady Jaguars are still catching up regarding the quality produced on the court. As a result, expect a more competitive women's league this year.