MHCC basketball court

Mt. Hood Community College Head Coach to Coach Eritrea's National Basketball Team in International Basketball Federation AfroCan Championships

June 02, 2023

Mt. Hood Community College’s (MHCC) Head Men's Basketball Coach Alexander Loul Syum, 32, has been invited to coach Eritrea's basketball team in the highly anticipated International Basketball Federation (FIBA) AfroCan basketball championships. The championships will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from June 17-23.

The FIBA AfroCan championships provide a unique opportunity to showcase the immense talent of African basketball players on the continent. This event, organized by FIBA, is a pre-qualifier tournament for various international basketball competitions. As part of Zone V, which represents East African countries, Eritrea will be competing against teams from Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Tanzania.

Alexander Loul Syum

"We are incredibly proud of Coach Syum for this remarkable accomplishment," said Dr. Kim Hyatt, the dean of health, physical education, athletics, aquatics, and recreation at MHCC. "His dedication, expertise, and commitment to basketball have been evident throughout his coaching career. This opportunity to lead Eritrea's national basketball team is a testament to his exceptional coaching abilities and the impact he has made on the sport on an international scale."

Syum, born in Asmara, Eritrea, is honored to represent his home country and support the development of basketball in Eritrea. Having moved to Portland at a young age, Syum returned to Eritrea in 2019 to run basketball camps. In 2022, he organized a showcase in Minnesota, which brought together talented Eritrean basketball players from across North America. Five players from that showcase and seven other players from Eritrea will compete in the championships under Syum’s guidance.

“Returning to Eritrea in 2019 was a pivotal moment for me. It allowed me to reconnect with my roots and contribute to the progress of basketball in my home country,” Syum said, “Now, as the head coach of the Eritrean national team, I am thrilled to represent and support Eritrean players in this competition that is sure to open a lot of doors for them.”

Syum’s passion for basketball began during his childhood in the Parkrose School District in Portland. He played basketball throughout his educational journey, earning recognition as an all-team conference player at Parkrose High School. He went on to play at Clackamas Community College and later received a full scholarship to Bethany College in Kansas. After completing his collegiate career, he transitioned into coaching, which ultimately led him to his current position as the head coach at Mt. Hood Community College.

“Coaching basketball has been a true labor of love for me, from my early coaching experiences in Oregon to an amazing opportunity in Singapore that came about while I was working for FastBreak, which is a club team, and enabled me to volunteer and learn from the Singapore national team,” Syum explained, “I have been driven by a desire to help youth and promote the sport I am passionate about.”

In addition to his coaching role, Syum has taken on the self-described role of Eritrean basketball ambassador. His aim is to construct ten basketball courts in Eritrea within the next three years through partnerships with various vendors.

MHCC congratulates Syum on his appointment as the head coach of Eritrea's national basketball team and wishes him and the team the best of luck in the FIBA AfroCan championships. The college takes pride in its commitment to fostering talent and supporting coaches in their pursuit of excellence.