The NBA plans to open global basketball academies starting in Africa, China, India and Australia, Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of the Vertical report. The expectation is that other global regions will be added to the program in the future. The goal of opening these academies is to identify the best young talent in the teenage ranks around the world and assist them by delivering training on the court and education off of it. The league will be seeking to assist prospects in the 14-to-18-year-old range.
Brooks Meek, the NBA’s vice president of internal operations, will be among the league executives tasked with coordinating the program. The league is still finalizing locations and contracts and an announcement is expected in the near future, Wojnarowski and Givony add.
The program will partner with and upgrade existing facilities and educational institutions. The league will provide coaching, strength and conditioning specialists, scouting, video and technical specialists and it plans on partnering with local infrastructures to create a “360 degree” development experience for prospects. The program will work closely with the prospects’ families and mentors to help them understand the academic portion of the program with the goal of conveying the importance of achieving the higher education goals. The league will provide scholarship funds for players wishing to attend college and there will be assistance for those who don’t earn scholarships. The pair of Vertical scribes note that this particular segment of the program has drawn comparisons to the old “G.I. Bill.” There will also be vocational and life-skills training for those prospects that are uninterested in or unable to pursue a college degree.
For older prospects in the program, the league will provide evaluation windows that will eventually be open to college coaches interested in recruiting them. For prospects that plan on immediately taking a professional route, there will be windows in which agents will be allowed to meet with them.
The NBA’s initiative will be headquartered in Australia and elite prospects from other regions and countries with underdeveloped basketball infrastructures could be invited to its location. Through the Basketball Without Borders program, the NBA has successfully been able to identify young talent globally and it would like to build on those camps with this new initiative. The league believes the D-League could eventually draw from these programs to fill its rosters since the prospects won’t yet meet the age requirement to be draft-eligible.