Following the announcement of the NBA Global Academy opening their elite training centre at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence, the first ever NBA Academy Games has been completed.
The series of exhibition games featured prospects from NBA Global Academy, NBA Academies in Africa, China and India, along with a team from BA’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) and local Australian youth teams including a SEABL side.
In addition, the NBA Academy Games saw academy coaches leading the prospects through a variety of activities on and off the court, including movement efficiency, positional skill development, and daily life skills seminars focusing on health, leadership and communication.
Contests got underway on Day 2, with two Under-16 teams from the ACT and NSW Metro getting things started.
NSW Country then took on NBA India before NSW Metro hit the court again to face NBA Zhejiang where they recorded a 25-point victory.
The CoE also battled NBA Africa before the NBA Global Academy saw their first action when they faced NSW Country.
Day 3 was another action-packed day with an Under-18 ACT side participating while the CoE flexed their muscle in a 101-66 win over the NBA Global Academy.
The next day, a combined NBA Africa and Global Academy team hit the court in a spirited contest against SEABL team, Canberra Gunners, fighting back from a large deficit before the Gunners secured the win.
An international contest kicked off Day 5 with NBA Zhejiang going up against NBA India before the CoE defeated NBA Africa by 18 points in a contest that provided important lessons for both teams.
“Team Africa received a valuable lesson against the CoE on how to share the ball, move without the ball and communicate on defense while the CoE had the chance to play against the type of athleticism and length that is not available in Australia,” said NBA Manager of International Basketball and Elite Development Scouting, Eugene Park.
“All visiting Academy coaches then got a chance to observe the service providers’ meeting of the CoE girls.
“The coaching staff and personnel from different departments (nutrition, physio, academics, strength and conditioning and more) join weekly to discuss their athletes’ progress, needs and any areas that they need additional support.”
The Academy Games wrapped up with NBA Africa and NBA Global Academy defeating NBA Zhejiang and NBA India respectively, setting up a Final between the victors.
Powering away in an impressive 32-17 second half, NBA Africa claimed a 74-51 win courtesy of Diongue Thierno Keita (20 points, nine rebounds, four assists) and Patrick Mwamba (15 points, 14 rebounds).
Queensland’s Tamuri Wigness, who will be competing in the upcoming Under-16 Junior Championships, and Wani Swaka from Western Australia combined for 27 points, seven rebounds and four steals to lead the NBA Global Academy.
The most recent step in Basketball Australia’s connection with the NBA, the success of the Academy Games has further strengthened the Centre of Excellence as a world-class facility that will continue to develop promising young talent from around the world.