Disappointment and heartbreak often lead to the decision to seek a fresh start, but this is not the case for Uganda’s Ishmail Wainright.
Many would simply call it quits at the end of Window 4 of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers in August in Abidjan, where Uganda suffered three defeats in as many games (including a 76-69 loss to Guinea).
“I REMAIN COMMITTED TO UGANDA REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME OF THE QUALIFIERS.”
A player of Wainright’s caliber who comes from the NBA and isn’t getting the results he wants may want to declare his retirement, given that his country’s chances of qualifying for the World Cup in 2023 have been severely harmed. That is not the case for the Phoenix Suns’ former Toronto Raptors player.
Rather, he says he will be ready to see the end of the qualifiers scheduled for February 2023 in order to improve his country’s performance for the sake of pride.
The 28-year-old forward told FIBA.basketball that his time in Uganda is far from over.
“Regardless of the outcome of the qualifiers,” Wainright defended, “I remain committed to Uganda.”
“It’s not just about playing; this team has become a family to me. I am proud to be a Ugandan and will always be ready to play. This is an opportunity for me to contribute to the growth of basketball in Uganda “He pointed to the Uganda inscription on his jersey.
Wainright noted that nothing should be taken away from a team that reached the AfroBasket Quarter-Finals for the first time in their history just a year earlier.
“We gave everything we had in every game. Yes, we could have done better and taken better care of the ball, and Coach George Galanopoulos actually put us in a position to win the game against Guinea, but it was up to the five players on the court to execute.”
He claimed that fatigue played a role in their games. “As a team, we will focus on our free throws and other aspects to improve the team,” he said in response to Guinea’s poor charity stripe shooting.
Since making his debut in November 2020, the 1.96m (6ft 5in) guard, who played 45 regular season games and seven playoff games in the NBA, has been an important member of the Ugandan team.
American-born Wainright made his Silverbacks debut during the AfroBasket Qualifiers in November 2020, contributing 36 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists in a crucial 101-98 victory over Cape Verde in Alexandria, Egypt.
He was an important player for Uganda in the 2021 AfroBasket, averaging 12.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game.
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