Seeking the Next Chapter: Theresa Azibaye Mac-Dangosu’s Quest for Basketball Greatness

Ediale Kingsley interacts with a Basketball pro. Theresa Azibaye Mac-Dangosu, a skilled professional basketball player currently based in Lagos, Nigeria, is eagerly looking for new opportunities to showcase her talent. With an impressive journey that spans various countries and competitions, Theresa’s dedication and versatility have shaped her into a formidable player. Born in Port Harcourt and originally from Bayelsa state, Theresa’s passion for basketball ignited when she witnessed the life-changing experiences it brought to her peers. Now, she aspires to take her game to new heights, and coaches, agents, and teams across Africa, Asia, and Europe are invited to connect with her and explore potential collaborations.


Can you tell us about your journey as a professional basketball player? How did you get started in basketball and what motivated you to pursue it professionally?

Thinking about how it all started amazes me because even though I had interests in the game, I lacked the deep passion to pursue a career in basketball, maybe because I had no knowledge of the game, the benefits and life changing lessons it came with.

I had told my sister and dad of my interests to play basketball, at first just for the swag of the game and how the players always carried themselves. Then she took me to Old Parade Ground Area 10, Garki Abuja where it all started, then I would just go to practice with the team on Saturdays only; oblivious to the fact that these other players worked out and practiced every day. But eventually all that changed after I saw how some of the boys and girls on our team got i20’s (High school or college scholarships in America) and left one after the other.

It was then I took it upon myself to focus more on the game and build my skills, so I could also secure a scholarship as well. In 2013 I went to America for the Ejike Ugboaja basketball camp in Atlanta, but couldn’t secure any scholarships because of an ankle injury I sustained the first day of the camp, I was devastated because now I couldn’t be seen by the coaches who came around seeking for players to recruit.

Luckily for me in 2014 I left for the U.S because I got a scholarship, got my degree, and in 2019 whilst back in Nigeria, I started having a broader sense of the market, then took advantage of the opportunities that were available at the time, played on the 3×3 national team, and other opportunities came in, and the rest they say is history. I’d say what motivated me to play professionally was first, the fact that I need a source of income, I saw some players whom I admired in the game who still played professionally and I thought, well I can still do this so why not (laughs).

I’m a professional basketball player, currently residing in Lagos state, I was born in Port Harcourt but originally from Bayelsa state. I’ve been playing basketball since 2010 and through the game I’ve been privileged to have traveled to a few countries like America where I went to college and got my BA degree in English language (took a minor in professional communication that wasn’t actually certified though). I Played for the country at a couple FIBA 3×3 National team assignments. I have played professionally for a team in Ivory coast, for a Kenyan team at the last FIBA African Clubs Championship in Mozambique, then I recently played in Iran, and now I’m currently back and playing for First Bank of Nigeria Women’s basketball team in Lagos.

Theresa Azibaye Mac-Dangosu

You’ve had the opportunity to travel to various countries and play for different teams. How has the experience of playing basketball in different countries and cultures impacted your game and personal growth?

Playing in different teams has shown me how versatile I am and can continue to be as a player, it has shown me that there is so much room for growth and improvement for me, and being able to have played in the different countries that I’ve played in, whether for college, on the national team or professionally, has helped me see the world, basketball and people in a whole different light.

I now understand that everyone holds different values, sentiments and beliefs that are valid to them irrespective of what I might feel or accept, and I’ve come to respect those values, as long as they aren’t in any way affecting my own beliefs and values.

Living in and experiencing these different cultures has made me become more understanding to other people’s feelings, I’m also able to adjust to things and people easily.

Could you share some highlights or memorable moments from your basketball career so far, whether it’s a specific game, tournament, or achievement?

A memorable moment I can remember right now is not really an achievement per se, but I thought it was memorable.

So back then in my Junior college, Miles community college, my coaches and teammates made me have a Nigerian Day  where I made Egusi soup with Eba and stew with rice, then I gave some of my teammates a few of my Ankara clothes to wear. Then we all ate, played some games, I tried telling them some stories from home, told them about my family and a little bit about Nigeria.

Another one was during a game, I had about 4 fouls and normally in basketball when you have 5 fouls as a player, that’s like a red card in soccer, so you’re automatically out of the game. So, I had 4 fouls and my coach calls a timeout, looks me dead in the face and says I don’t know how you’re gonna do it but Theresa you’re gonna have to play with these 4 fouls and you cannot foul out because I need you. (Laughs) trust me that was tough for me, because I wasn’t yet used to their style of playing yet, I was still too aggressive and energetic because of how we played in Nigeria. And that’s an interesting thing about the game of basketball, everywhere you go, the game is the same yet different in a way. We play so aggressively in Africa, but in America it’s not as aggressive, so there are things you can get away with in Nigeria for instance, that a referee wouldn’t see as a foul, but if you do the same thing somewhere else, in this case America for me, I got a foul, so I had to change my style of playing to some extent.

I think these 2 memories stand out to me the most. And of course, being mentioned All-Academic Team twice in a row, making the Dean’s List 3 times as well, were great memories too.

As a player with experience in FIBA 3×3 and professional leagues in different countries, what do you consider to be your strengths on the court and how do you contribute to the success of your team?

My strengths as a professional player that I believe has helped contribute to the success of the teams I’ve played with will be my versatility, that is being able to dabble between the positions 3 (power forward) and 4 (small forward).

Having this ability helps me adjust both on offense and on defense. On defense, I read the player guarding me for instance, and if they’re slower and bigger than me, I play more on the outside as a 3 because of my quickness, if they’re about my height or smaller, I play inside because now I know they might just possess the same strengths as me or better. I try to play to my advantage most of the time, as player you always want to do that, and I believe understanding my strengths as a scorer on offense over time and through my experiences, I’ve been able to be impactful in most of the teams I’ve played on.

Playing for First Bank of Nigeria Women’s basketball team, what are your goals and aspirations for the upcoming season or future tournaments?

My goals playing for First Bank first of all is to help the team in my own capacity to maintain the legacy which so many great players have kept, I intend to live up to that legacy as well, which is winning the league and representing the club and country at the next FIBA Africa Clubs Championship that takes place every year. And of course, winning every other championship that is to be won this year like we did in 2022.

What challenges have you faced as a professional basketball player and how have you overcome them? How do you maintain your motivation and drive for the game?

A current challenge I’m facing is not being able to play in the last Nigerian Female League qualifiers which took place in Benin city between June 1st – 11th due to some unforeseen circumstances.

I will say part of it is my fault as a player, but I’m not going to take all the blame for this issue. Hopefully all is resolved soon and I can play in subsequent phases of the league.

By staying focused on my goals, remembering the reasons I started playing the game of basketball in the first place, and knowing that basketball is just a means to other opportunities which I’m in pursuit of, is all the drive and motivation I need to keep me going.

You mentioned being open to offers from coaches, agents, and teams in various regions. What specific factors or opportunities are you looking for in your next basketball endeavor?

I’m looking for an opportunity to play in a country that has a competitive league, one that will challenge me as a player, because sometimes as players we tend to relax and settle because of one or two achievements. So, I’m in need of an offer to a good basketball program where I can contribute positively to their style of playing, thereby improving as a player and as a person.

How has your educational background in English language and professional communication influenced your basketball career, both on and off the court?

Most times people look at sports men and women as illiterates, and that saddens me. Having the type of educational background which I have has always made me stand out wherever I go, because of how confident I am and how easy it is for me to navigate whether on the court or off the court, I have an understanding of my surroundings and I’m able to act and behave like a well-rounded individual.

Having the knowledge that sports is just temporary will go a long way for us as athletes and urge everyone of us to try to get an education no matter what.

Are there any basketball players or athletes who inspire you? If so, who are they and what qualities do you admire in them?

When I started at area 10 there was a player I loved and looked up to, I still do. Her name is Sarah Imovbioh, she plays on the National team D’Tigress, I’ve always admired her game, how strongly and confidently she played and how she carries herself on and off the court, she’s a hard worker.

Overtime, I started adding other role models to the list like Seimone Augustus a former WNBA player for the L.A Sparks, I liked how fierce she was on the court, she could play both inside and outside on the court and I loved it and inculcated that in my game as well; and of course our own Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike of the L.A Sparks. These two are role models to me in and off the court, they’re brilliant, they’re versatile, they’re smart business women, goal getters, everything I desire to become.

Outside of basketball I love Serena Williams, she’s a fighter, and a champion. She has gone above and beyond to make her dreams come true.

I’m inspired by women like these that I mentioned above, because of how courageous they are, it’s really beautiful to see.

Beyond basketball, do you have any other interests or hobbies that contribute to your overall well-being and personal development?

I talk a lot and write a lot when given an opportunity, as you can tell (giggles) and with my background in professional communication, I hope to some day work in the media, whether radio or TV, either as a sports anchor, presenter, or commentator, or just have my own vlog or podcast.

I’d also like to get some knowledge in advertising as well and maybe venture into it a little bit.

Another hobby of mine is singing, I did a 3 months music program in Voice Training around 2020 at the Tenstrings Music Institute, Festac. Now I’m looking to take a course in Keyboard/Piano.

A recent interest of mine is Forex Trading, which I’m currently taking a 2 months course online.

What advice would you give to young aspiring basketball players who are looking to pursue a career in the sport?

My advice to young players is, don’t let yourself down, focus on why you started, don’t let your parents down by making them not trust you, because they believed in you and that’s why they trusted you to pursue your dreams in sports, never forget that.

There are so many workout videos online, so use the internet to your advantage always.

Don’t just work hard, work smartly and don’t give up on yourself because when you do, you’ll pay for it. Giving up is harder than the hard work you’re afraid of.

There is no reason to fear, the world is yours to conquer.

Finally, how can coaches, agents, and teams get in touch with you if they are interested in exploring opportunities with you?

Agents, coaches and teams can reach me via my phone number, email address or Twitter handle.



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