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8 - Benjamin Eze


Benjamin Ndubuisi Eze was born in Lagos, Nigeria on February 8, 1981.

Eze begins playing basketball in Nigeria in the early 90’s (1994) atthe Bishop Aggey Memorial School and soon becomes one of Africa’s top prospects. In 1998, at only 17, Benjamin is called to play Saratov, Russia. It’s a short but character-building experience – one that fuels his move into the world of U.S. college basketball. Eze chooses Louisville but never gets to play during the 1999/2000 due to eligibility problems. His U.S. debut doesn’t happen until the 2000/2001 season at Southern Idaho University (7.5ppg, 5.2rpg), a small college in Twin Falls. The 2001/2002 season brings his return to Europe to play for Lubiana’s Geoplin Slovan, a team competing in Slovenia’s highest league. His entrance into the Italian Championship comes later with the Viola Reggio Calabria jersey. It’s the club for which he plays the next two seasons, gaining attention from the experts not only for the indisputable quality of his verticals but also for his noteworthy technical-tactical progress.

In July of 2004, a call from Siena’s Italian champions gives Eze the chance to measure himself up against Italian and international basketball’s best. Eze starts off immediately playing in the green-and-white Euroleague jersey and, once having obtained Italian citizenship, even becomes a precious addition to the national championship. Thus, he guarantees himself a spot with them for the following two seasons. Benjamin “explodes” in the 2006/2007 tournament when he proves himself one of Montepaschi’s strong points by helping them reach the top with his excellent performance in the paint. He is once again able to demonstrate all he’s worth on court, making his mark on the 2007 Supercoppa victory: Montepaschi’s top scorer with 14 points and 5 rebounds. He makes his presence known under the backboards of Europe and Italy, and with Montepaschi takes third place at the Final Four in Madrid and wins the 2007/2008 Italian National Title. The following season, he’s one of the Italian grand slam stars that helps Montepaschi win the 2008 Supercoppa Italiana, the Coppa Italia and the 2008/2009 Italian National Title.  At the end of the season, he leaves Montepaschi and goes to Khimki Moscow, where he remains until the end of April before playing the end of the season at Olimpia Milano, who’s eliminated by Pallacanestro Cantù in the title semifinals. His contract with Milano is also for the following season, rather, 2011/2012, but the Nigerian center was never part of Milano’s roster and, despite the contract, is never utilized. So, Big Ben is just off a season of inactivity. In 2012/2013 season he came back to Siena and with Montepaschi he won the Italian Cup in February 2013.

EZE AND THE NATIONALS - Benjamin Eze has worn the Nigerian Youth Nationals jersey several times and has also participated in the 1999 Juniores World Championship which resulted in a 11th place finish.

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