PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania will have another former athlete competing at this summer's Olympic Games in London, England. Former basketball standout Koko Archibong has made it to London as a member of the Nigeria basketball team.
Nigeria finished third at the Federation of International Basketball Associations (FIBA) Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which concluded Sunday in Caracas, Venezuela. As a result, they gained the final spot in the 12-team Olympic tournament. Nigeria upset heavily favored Greece in the quarterfinal round, 80-79 -- Nigeria entered the Qualifying Tournament ranked 21st in the world, while Greece was fourth -- and later knocked off the Dominican Republic in the third-place game, 88-73, to book their tickets to London. Archibong saw time in all five games Nigeria played at the OQT.
Nigeria was slotted into Group A at the Olympics and will be grouped with the USA as well as Lithuania, Tunisia, France and Argentina. (Group B will feature Australia, Brazil, China, Great Britain, Spain and Russia.) The Olympic Tournament will begin with group play from July 29 to August 6. From that, the top four teams in each group will advance to quarterfinal games on Wednesday, Aug. 8. The semifinals will take place Friday, Aug. 10, and the gold-medal game will be played Sunday, Aug. 12.
Archibong is believed to be the first Penn person to play basketball in the Olympic Games. He joins Susan Francia C'04 G'04 as an Olympic athlete in London, which allows the University to keep alive its unique streak of having someone affiliated with the University participate in every Olympic Summer Games since 1900.
Archibong was a four-year letterwinner in basketball at Penn, from 2000-03, and captained the 2002-03 team with Andy Toole. Penn went 22-6 that year, including a 14-0 Ivy League mark, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. Archibong ended his Penn career with 1,131 points, 504 rebounds, 110 assists, 76 steals and 59 blocked shots. In 2001-02, he set a school record (along with teammates Tim Begley, Ugonna Onyekwe and Jeff Schiffner) by starting all 32 games the Quakers played that season. Archibong made 99 starts in his career at Penn.