Mike Brown to stay with Warriors as Alex Nwora temporarily resumes Nigeria head coaching job

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown will not be available to lead the Nigeria national team at their AfroBasket qualifiers in February, and will be subbed by former D'Tigers coach Alex Nwora.

Almost a year exactly since Brown replaced Nwora as the Nigeria head coach, while retaining his job at Golden State, the NBBF are set to go back to their ex, so to speak.


With the Warriors back to full fitness, and Steph Curry draining three-pointers with his eyes closed, Brown will be sticking with the NBA side through February.

The coach told ESPN: "I will not come back in February for the second round of qualifiers because I have to be with the Golden State Warriors.

"But all the other guys will be there."

These "other guys" are a posse of coaches with NBA experience that Brown took with him to Rwanda for the first round of qualifiers late last year, and all are expected to return next month. And it is quite a formidable team.

"We got a nice staff who are all going to return to return in February," Brown said.

"We got a couple of G-League coaches, a coach that coaches in the first division in France, and then an ex-NBA head coach, John Kuester, who used to be the head coach of the Detroit Pistons.

"Darvin Ham, who is associate head coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jordi Fernandez, who is the second assistant for the Denver Nuggets, (Sammy Gelfand), the analytics coach from the Detroit Pistons, a lot of different NBA coaches from different staff were there to help us out and they will all return.

"And then, there is [Alex] Nwora, who has a lot of experience and knowledge coaching this team.

"All those guys are going to be able to come back in February, so that's going to help with the continuity going forward."


A top NBBF official told ESPN that Nwora has been lined up to take charge in February, although that would be dependent on the coach resolving unspecified 'family issues' that he is currently dealing with.

"The plans are already in place for Alex to lead the team to the final round of qualifiers and of course, we are confident in his abilities to see this team through," the official told ESPN.

"But at the same time, Alex is dealing with some family issues so we don't want to take away that away for this service.

"If he is available, and we hope he is, then yes, he will absolutely be the man to lead the team. If not, we will employ the services of one of the assistant coaches that came with us to Rwanda.

"Whatever happens, we are prepared but Alex is first choice and he will be the one to let us know whenever he can."

In Brown's first outing as head coach, he won three out of his three games in the AfroBasket qualifiers, putting D'Tiger's in a good place to secure qualification, and making the second part of the job a lot easier, especially as they will face the same teams.

Nwora is no stranger to these qualification battles. In 2019, he led the Tigers to World Cup qualification with a 9-0 record at the end of the fourth qualification window, thus making D'Tigers the very first team to qualify for the FIBA World Cup 2019.

Nwora was to eventually lead them to the World Cup, where Nigeria became the first African nation to qualify for the Olympic Games.

That body of work drew praise from his successor: "Alex has been here for the last couple of years.


"And so he knows most of the players extremely well, not just their game on the floor, but even how they are as people, what makes them tick, what makes them go.

"And so during the qualifiers, for me to be able to get that type of information from Alex on each individual, about what they can do on the floor to help us out, how to push, that was priceless.

"For him to download that information to me, helped me ease the transition for me taking over in coaching this team.

"You always want to try to have a guy from the previous staff to help with that transition process and Alex is the perfect guy for it because he did a heck of a job when he was the head coach.

"I'm looking at it as not necessarily, quote unquote, replacing him with being better than him, but just continuing to build on the foundation that he already laid."

Brown says none of this would have been possible without the backing of his US employers: "I got to give the Golden State Warriors a lot of credit.

"A lot of people always talk about 'we're a family'. But at the end of the day, when adversity hits or something that's not in the best benefit of the organization comes into play, usually they don't remember that family thing.

"But the Warriors to their credit, like I said, they've supported me hundred percent."

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