Get ready to hear a few more swishes around the world: the NBA is preparing to open its first training academy in early 2017.
The academy, which will find its home in Thies, Senegal, would train girls and boys ages 16 to 18, and may be a way for the league to find a new batch of talent for upcoming seasons. The NBA has picked up quite a few players from Africa, including Senegalese Minnesota Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng and retired big man Dikembe Mutombo.
I just want to thank my family ,the Timberwolves organization, Mr Taylor , the fans who I love dearly , the city that I'll call home for 4 more years , the coaching staff ,my agents and last but not least the man who believed in me and took a chance on me Flip Saunders RIP. Let's get a championship yall. #4moreyears #Cardinals #Twincities #myhomeawayfromhome.
Senegal’s latest academy is not the NBA’s first foray into international training locations. Earlier in 2016 the NBA opened similar ventures in China, which has three, and Australia. A location in India is set to open in the new year.
The facilities will be staffed with NBA-trained coaches and other staff members, and the NBA will start its scouting process soon. The 2016 draft set the record for the most international players selected in the first round, with 15 out of 30 chosen.
The NBA held its first exhibition game in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa over the summer.