Brooklyn Nets assistant coach and South Sudan Bright Stars head coach Royal Ivey has the South Sudan Basketball Federation on their way to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup after defeating the Senegal Lions, 83-75, in their African Qualifiers matchup.
In the match, power forward Nuni Omot set the tone for South Sudan with a team-high 26 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Meanwhile, shooting guard Bul Kuol (12 points) and center Koch Deng Aguer Bar (11 points) both scored in double-digits for the Bright Stars.
South Sudan becomes the second African nation to qualify for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, joining the Ivory Coast Elephants. However, they but were the first African team to qualify in their initial try. Historically and geographically, South Sudan is also the world’s youngest nation, having achieved independence in July 2011.
Following the news that Ivey had led the Bright Stars to the FIBA World Cup, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn gave the former NBA guard a major shoutout following Brooklyn’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
Vaughn, a former NBA guard himself, had this to say of the accomplishment (h/t Brian Lewis of the New York Post):
“And even better news is our assistant coach Royal Ivey, South Sudan. Are you kidding me? Qualified. He put in the work, great team behind him. So excited for him. I’m going to have to make my way, wherever region he’s in, and go take a look at him as a head coach.”
Ivey, now 41-years-old, has been an assistant coach for the Nets since 2020. He has been the head coach of the Bright Stars since 2001, alternating the role with South Sudan Basketball Federation president and former NBA star luol deng.