When the NBA Academy launched in 2016, one of the primary goals was to identify and develop the best basketball prospects from around the world.
Josh Giddey became the first NBA Academy graduate selected in the NBA Draft after being selected sixth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2021. When the 2022 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, it will be he expects three more former academy graduates to be called.
Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin and Hyunjung Lee continue to climb the Draft boards after using the NBA Academy to help them start their promising basketball careers.
“In just the first few years of the program, seeing these young NBA Academy graduates achieve their lifelong dreams of being drafted into the NBA is a tremendously rewarding feeling for all of our coaches and staff,” said Chris Ebersole, Senior NBA director who oversees the elite development of the NBA Global Academy. “We are so proud of these players for representing themselves, their home countries and the NBA Academy program so well, on and off the court. We are excited to see his continued success at the NBA level.”
Daniels, who is from Australia, had a good season with G League Ignite. He is projected to be a lottery pick. The 6-6 point guard has great size and is an above-average defender and playmaker. He averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 15 games with the Ignite, and his game improved as the season progressed.
“Dyson’s journey, from the NBA Global Academy to the G League Ignite to the NBA, illustrates the NBA’s commitment to developing young athletes and preparing them for the highest levels of the sport,” said Ebersole. “The leaps Dyson has made with his game speak to his professional approach and his desire to improve every day. We are very proud of Dyson and excited to see his hard work pay off.”
Daniels was a teammate of Giddey’s at the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia.
Mathurin, a Canadian native, enjoyed a very successful college career in Arizona. He’s 6-foot-6, and what separates him from a lot of players is his athleticism. The 19-year-old forward is explosive and made several standout plays for the Wildcats. He competes and has a jumper good enough to play both. He is predicted to be a lottery pick.
“Bennedict is a true trailblazer for the NBA Academy as he was the first Canadian prospect to join the program, setting the stage for many others to follow in his footsteps,” Ebersole said. “His work ethic, competitive intensity and leadership helped him thrive at the NBA Academy Latin America and then rise to the highest levels of college basketball, and will now serve him well as he makes the jump to the NBA.” .
BENNEDICT MATHURIN WITH THE KEY TO THE TOURNAMENT 😱
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 21, 2022
The Pac-12 Player of the Year averaged 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
The 6-foot-7 Lee, who is from South Korea, averaged 15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game at Davidson. He is expected to be selected in the second round and, if selected, he would be the second Korean player in the NBA.
His 50-40-90 shooting splits are what have teams buzzing. Like Stephen Curry, another former Davidson player who used to fill the nets, Lee didn’t get much drafted out of high school.
“From his first day with the NBA Global Academy, Lee has been an exceptional shooter, one of the best I have seen at any level of basketball, and he will continue to hang his hat on that elite skill,” Ebersole said. “At the NBA Global Academy and then at Davidson, Lee dedicated himself to developing his entire game, including his defense, his ballhandling and his off-ball moves, and his entire game allowed him to achieve historic success. in the university ranks. We are proud of Lee and excited for him as he embarks on his journey in the NBA.”