With the 19th edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup beginning on August 25th, there follows a look at the rosters for each of the 32 teams taking part. This instalment looks at the team from Angola, the highest-ranked team in the world from Africa.
- PG – 5’6 – Born 17th May 1998
- Petro de Luanda, Angola
Dundao was the joint-shortest player in the competition along with Japan’s Yuki Togashi, and there are a few things you have to be if you are that size and playing basketball at this high of a level. Incredibly fearless, for one. Relentless, for another. Quick, confident, a very good shooter, a very deft ball-handler, and willing to use that low centre of gravity to get into it on defence and blow up opponent’s dribbles – all that stuff, too. Helpfully, Dundao has that entire checklist. Of particular note is the shooting, where, despite his small stature, Earl Boykinho has no problem getting up looks from three-point range, shooting above 40% from three in consecutive Basketball Africa League seasons. He is strong, athletic and dynamic. Here’s hoping he grows another eight inches in his late twenties.
- PG – 5’10 – Born 16th April 1996
- Petro de Luanda, Angola
A comparative giant in the backcourt, the little lefty Domingos backs up the one spot here with the national team with Dundao just as he does with Petro de Luanda in the BAL. Unlike Dundao, though, the lack of size does seem to limit his shooting range. Last season, Gerson averaged 3.5 points and 1.1 assists per game in BAL play, and has some quickness to get into the lane, from where he likes to throw a lob pass. But the shooting holds him back, limits the range of things he can do off the dribble, and keeps his role a relief one.
Jose Dimitri Maconda
- PG/SG – 6’2 – Born 28th November 2001
- Sangalhos, Portugal
Sangalhos are only a second-tier team in Portugal, and Portugal is definitely not a first-tier league. Nevertheless, this 83-year old team – who play in a 700-seat arena that looks like a body shop with an excessively brown court located next to the most brutalist-looking café ever built – can proudly boast that they have not one, not two, but three players in the World Cup. One of them is Anderson Correia of Cape Verde, one of them is Leonel Paulo below, and the other is Maconda here, who finished up the season averaging 12.9 points and 5.7 assists per game with Sangalhos after beginning the campaign with Irauri in Spain’s second tier LEB Gold.
Maconda was born in Holland, has spent many years playing there and represented the country at junior levels, yet here he is now as a senior with Angola, another in their production line of young guards with a bit of flair about them. Punctuated by an extremely sharp crossover, Maconda is a very dynamic ball-handler, able to get to where he wants on the court, and very willing to pass the ball along the way. He is however distinctly below par as an outside shooter at this stage of his career, which inhibits the options that this dribbling ability would otherwise avail him. And the turnover rate is really, really, really high. So there remains plenty to do to hone these skills.
- SG – 6’4 – Born 29th March 1996
- Petro de Luanda, Angola
The second of the two Gersons in this World Cup, Goncalves is like so many others in the national team frame a mainstay of the Petro de Luanda team. In BAL play this past season, he recorded averages of 9.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game, shooting a very healthy 52.0% from the field and 37.5% from three-point range. On a very athletic Angolan roster, he is the slower guy, the steady driver who – on the national team at least – prefers to shoot his lefty spot-ups from the penetration of the Dundao types rather than barrel his way in like they do. This is not to say that he is completely without some burst when he has a running start, but with the ball in his hands, Goncalves is not the quickest. There is a driving game anyway, with good body control to take contact and a soft touch at the rim, all as long as he can get to his heavily-favoured left hand. Defensively, Goncalves is aggressive in his attempt to deflect the ball and has plenty of pick-sixes to his name. He has plenty to offer. He is just not the highlight guy.
- SF – 6’6 – Born 30th April 1986
- Sangalhos, Portugal
As above, Paulo also plays in Sangalhos, although while Maconda is still on the way up, Paulo – fifteen years his senior – is winding down. Retiring after this tournament, Paulo has been a stalwart for a decade, largely on account of his good defensive effort. For Sangalhos in 2022/23, Paulo averaged 9.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 328.5 minutes per game, still retaining most of his athleticism and burst even as he ages into what in basketball years is about 112 years old. Not more than an occasional jump shooter, a diet of straight-line drives, cuts, transition and bully ball make up Paulo’s offensive contribution, with his strength and agility combination playing better on defence. And he has still got it even in his twilight years. Ask Jordan Clarkson.
- SF/PF – 6’9 – Born 2nd April 1989
- Sporting Clube, Portugal
Monteiro’s game is easier to define than most. He shoots jumpers, almost always from three-point range. And he shoots them fairly well. Last season for Sporting, he averaged 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 15.8 minutes of 39 games in Portuguese league play, shooting 35.7% from three-point range. But it is also the majority of his game. Monteiro does not create these looks with the handle, and despite some good upper body strength, he does not much use it on either end. For the most part, he looks to spot up for jumpers. At 6’9, he can always get them away. But he is also not that good of a shooter, so a little diversification would be nice.
- SF/PF – 6’7 – Born 1st December 1992
- Sporting Clube, Portugal
A dual citizen who has spent his entire career to date in his other country of Portugal, Fernandes came into the World Cup after a 2022/23 season in which he had averaged only 3.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game, shooting only 2-25 from three-point range. Self-evidently not a shooter, then. To be brutally honest, it was a tough season all around for Fernandes, who had regular minutes off the bench but who did not make a regular impact, not being a shooter, handler, creator or even a defender for more than short bursts at a time. When he is at his best, Fernandes is a frontcourt defender and energy player in the mould of someone like Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Be advised however that that is a style of play comparison, not a level of play one.
- SF/PF – 6’7 – Born 5th November 2003
- Benfica, Portugal
Considering he has played only 131 minutes in his two seasons in Portugal’s two division – and remember that, with respect, the Portuguese LPB is not one of Europe’s best – it represented a massive step-up for Francisco to be called up to the Angolan World Cup roster. But what he does have in his favour is an excellent 2022/23 season of work in the second-tier competition, the Proliga, with Benfica’s B team. Francisco averaged a big double-double with 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game, and while the outside shooting has a long way to go, the frame, athleticism and strength is excellent for a high-level forward, especially for one so young. Francisco is scrappy around the basket, competes on the glass, cuts to the rim, runs the court and is an excellent run-and-jump athlete. The skills development has some ways to go, but the raw tools are there, and he is one to monitor going forward.
Silvio De Sousa
- PF/C – 6’9 – Born 7th October 1998
- Aris Thessaloniki, Greece
Kansas alum De Sousa’s disjointed college career finally finished with a 20-game stint with Chattanooga in the 2021/22 season, and he spent his first pro season in France with Chorale Roanne. Across 33 games – all but one of which came from the bench – he averaged 8.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in only 16.5 minutes per game, shooting 61.5% from the floor and basically making an impact whenever he stopped on it. Athletic with a long stride, De Sousa plays in the paint, taking deep catches for powerful finishes and creating some offence down in the post. He has good touch, uses fakes and is strong enough to establish position in the first place, a very intriguing player physically even if you know what is coming. De Sousa runs and dunks, catches and finishes, drops hooks and crashes glass, with a nice combination of length, strength and athleticism. More importantly, he plays with good effort and is an energiser, both in pursuit of the action defensively and on the offensive glass. The high foul rate is an acceptable by-product of this.
- C – 6’9 – Born 3rd September 2001
- Bourg, France
Kokila has opted to make his way through the French developmental systems, and in 2022/23, he got his first minutes in the country’s top domestic league, the Pro A. He was quite good in them, too, averaging 5.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 13.5 minutes per game, shooting 60.8% from the field and keeping the mistake level low. Another good athlete in the front court, Kokila sticks to a limited brief (at this point in his career, at least); he rolls, dunks, catches lobs, crashes the glass and tries to contest without fouling. Next year will be a big one for him, to see if he kick on and become a consistent ProA starter like Bodian Massa and Allan Dokossi have done recently. Improving the free throw stroke and foul rates will very much help with that.
- C – 6’10 – Born 6th January 1999
- Braunschweig, Germany
The player with one of the best names in this or any tournament has also become a good role player at the German BBL level. In his first season at that level, Bango averaged 9.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 22.5 minutes per game in 2022/23, despite the move representing a pretty big step-up in the nightly level of play from playing in his home land’s domestic league. But step up he did, and he did so very well. An athletic player with very long limbs, Bango can be seemingly everywhere, getting from the line to the rim in a couple of strides, and that ability to run and jump is instrumental to his game on both ends. There are a lot of dunks (as well there should be), few jumpers (because there do not need to be), many blocks and contests, some post touches, and a fairly high level of poise and patience for a player whose game is more based on athleticism than skill. Bango is a mismatch against lesser athletes, an important piece for his Angola team to be able to contend with the comparable ones they will face, and, – more simply put – he is good.
- C – 6’10 – Born 15th August 1998
- Atlanta Hawks, NBA
After being traded multiple times, Fernando actually wound up back with the Hawks last season on the same four-year deal that he signed with them after being drafted back in 2019. You don’t see that very often. You might not see him on the court for Atlanta much, or on the roster for much longer – despite being signed through 2026, he appeared in only eight games and 41 minutes in his second Atlantian stint, a forgotten and passed-over bench piece where so recently he was the prized rookie. Nonetheless, in the first half of the season with the Houston Rockets, Fernando averaged 11.7 minutes, 4.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 blocks in 31 games. His offensive game may not have improved much as a pro, but his defence has.
Group A: Italy, Angola, Philippines, Dominican Republic
Group B: China, Serbia, Puerto Rico, South Sudan
Group C: USA, Greece, Jordan, New Zealand
Group D: Egypt, Mexico, Lithuania, Montenegro
Group E: Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan
Group F: Slovenia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Venezuela
Group G: Iran, Spain, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire
Group H: Canada, Latvia, France, Lebanon