World basketball map: Cabo Verde

World basketball map: Cabo Verde

We are recalling all foreign players that have ever played in the League, telling about foreign championships and National teams of different countries in World basketball map project. Today we’re going to talk about basketball in Cabo Verde.

Population: 544 thousand
Players in the history of League: 1
Full list of playersIvan Almeida

Ivan Almeida remains the only Cabo Verdean in VTB United League history. Born in Praia, he played in NCAA for Stonehill in 2009-2011, and later began his professional career. From 2011 to 2018, he played in Cabo Verde, Portugal, France and Poland; and in 2018, he signed with Kalev.

Ivan Almeida played 5 games in VTB League averaging 16.6 points and 4.2 rebounds. His first game for Kalev turned into a real highlight: 36 points and 9 rebounds against Nizhny Novgorod.

In 2009 and 2015, Ivan Almeida played for Cabo Verde national team in Afrobasket. In 2015, he became team’s leader in assists, steals and blocks.

Basketball in Cabo Verde

League: ACVB
Founded: 2016
Number of teams: 12 
League’s web-site

There are more than 60 clubs in Cabo Verde, but the main championship is held on the territory of the USA, in Brockton, Massachusetts. The League called ACVB was founded in 2016, and as of today has 12 teams.

In 2015, (before ACVB) AD Bairro, national champion, became the first club of Cabo Verde to participate in the African Basketball League, the most prestigious event of the continent. The team took 8th place. In 2012, 2013 ex-Kalev player Ivan Almeida played for AD Bairro.

Today, there are famous plyaers in ACVB (Michael Mendes, Mario Correia, Brian Rudolph, Tony Barros, Marques Houtman), the games are broadcasted by TV, they have the All-Star Game and dunk contest.

ACVB stays in tight communication with Cabo Verde-based teams, supports the development of local talents and does a lot of charity work.

Interesting fact

The most famous countrie’s player Walter Tavares hadn’t played basketball before he turned 17.

Tavares was born in the small island of Maio (population 8K), as a schoolboy he worked as a cashier in his mother’s shop after classes, and played beach football as a hobby. Nobody played basketball in Maio as there was the only court with broken rims. As told by Tavares himself, Michael Jordan was the only basketball player he’d heard of as a child, and he hadn’t even touched the ball.

Everything changed when a German tourist entered the shop. The German was shocked by the size of cashier Tavares and he asked the 17-year-old Walter if he’d been playing basketball. Tavares shook his head in disapproval, and the German continued with a strange request, “I absolutely need your photo with a normal-sized human, or any other object which would demonstrate the size of your body. A good friend of mine Raul Rodriguez works as a coach in Gran Canaria youth team. I really want to introduce you to him and set up a decent review.”

Tavares was puzzled, but the customer added that basketball could improve family’s financial situation, so he went out of the shop and made a photo by a door of his grandmother’s house. The German kept his promise and the photo arrived to Rodriguez’ desk. Youth team coaches and Gran Canaria scouts appointed a meeting with Walter at a playground of Cabo Verdean capital. This was the beginning of Tavares’ path in basketball.

Cabo Verde National team

FIBA rank: 97
FIBA members: since 1998
Achievements: Afrobasket bronze (2007)

Cabo Verde joined FIBA in 1988, and has made six Afrobasket appearances within 22 years.

The team’s main achievement is bronze of 2007 Afrobasket. Cabo Verde thanks to wins over Rwanda (71:62) and Morocco (85:80 OT) qualified to the playoffs where they’ve made a sensation beating Nigeria (62:53), one of the favourites. In the semifinal, the future champions Angola outplayed Cabo Verdeans (60:93) who later managed to hold back Egypt in the bronze medals game (53:51).

Their latest Afrobasket appearance was in 2015 and it ended with 10th place.

Today, Cabo Verde are ranked 97th in FIBA rating (15th of 38 African teams).

Most famous Cabo Verdean players in history

Walter Tavares. 2014 NBA draft #43, the only Cabo Verdean in the history of NBA (2 seasons, 13 games). Euroleague winner (2018), Spanish league winner (2018) and Euroleague’s Best defending player of 2018/19 season.

Ivan Almeida. 2-times Polish champion, Polish league MVP (2018), Polish league finals MVP (2019), champion and MVP of Polish supercup (2017). In the scope of 9 years of his professional career, Almeida played in Cabo Verde, Portugal, France, Poland, Estonia, Czech Republic, Italy and Israel.

Tony Barros. Cousin of Dana Barros, ex-NBA player and participant of 1995 NBA All-Star Game. In 2007, Tonny Barros won Afrobasket bronze with Cabo Verde national team. He was the one to make a game-winner in the 3rd place game against Egypt (53:51) which led to the first Afrobasket medals in Cabo Verdean history. Today, Tony Barros is one of the most famous and top scoring player of Cabo Verdean league.

Worth mentioning: Mario Correia, Rodrigo Mascarenhas, Marques Houtman.

Dmitriy Kolinov