The NBA G League will resume basketball for the first time in 11 months with games starting Wednesday.
Some college basketball teams have played nearly 20 games this season and we have seen players breakout and make names for themselves. Auburn point guard Sharife Cooper is averaging 8.9 assists per game and had a season-high 14 assists in an overtime loss to Ole Miss last Saturday. Oklahoma State point guard Cade Cunningham has stayed consistent all season long and freshman Jalen Suggs is the floor general for the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs.
There are two players that are projected top five picks in the 2021 NBA draft and fans haven’t had a chance to see them play yet. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga but there are other great prospects on the inaugural G League Ignite.
Yahoo Sports takes a look at the stacked roster for the Ignite, where they were prior to joining the G League and what to expect in the 15 games at Walt Disney World.
Ht./Wt: 6-6, 186
Green is originally from Fresno, California, and played at Prolific Prep his senior year. He was the No. 2-ranked player in high school and averaged 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game and holds the single-season scoring record at Prolific with 1,008 points. Green is part Filipino but chose to play for Team USA and won three gold medals and was named the MVP of the FIBA U-17 World Cup where he averaged 15.7 points per game and was the youngest member of the team. Green was also named a McDonald’s All-American and was on the rosters for Nike’s Hoop Summit and the Jordan Brand Classic - three of the highest honors given to high school seniors.
Green was the first person to join the Ignite and chose to go the professional route over college teams like Auburn, Memphis, UCLA, USC and Oregon. “When you’re a top kid, people expect you to go to a blueblood school but why not be different,” Green said. “Being different is like one of my main things with the whole ‘unicorn’ thing.”
He is a projected top-five pick in the 2021 NBA draft and when asked if thought he was the No. 1 player in this draft, Green said, “Of course. You always have to put money on yourself. I do think I’m No. 1, but that’s just saying I know I have to keep working.”
Ht./Wt: 6-8, 220
Kuminga is the youngest player on the roster and reclassified a grade up last spring and joined the Ignite shortly after. He was the No. 1 junior in the country before reclassing and finished No. 3 overall in the 2020 recruiting class. Kuminga is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is cousins with former NBA player Emmanuel Mudiay. The 6-foot-8 wing played high school basketball at The Patrick School in New Jersey where he averaged 16.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Kuminga’s older brother Joel Ntambwe, played at UNLV for a year before transferring to Texas Tech. All the top schools were recruiting the elite wing and he had a final list of Duke, Kentucky, Texas Tech and Auburn before choosing the Ignite.
“I see myself as an NBA player and this G League team is going to help me develop my skill and reach my goal to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft,” Kuminga said. “I’m really motivated, and I’m going to keep working hard to reach that goal.”
Kuminga was the most impressive player in the two scrimmages the Ignite played in back in December where he scored 26 and 21 points, respectively. Jalen Green has also been the most impressed with Kuminga telling Yahoo Sports, “I got a chance to get to know JK and see his point of view on the court and how he thinks and stuff like that. I think it’s helped me grow as a player because he’s so skilled and has so much pace, it’s crazy.”
Ht./Wt: 6-10, 210
Todd was originally committed to Michigan and was a top-20 five-star power forward in high school. Other schools like Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina and UCLA were also involved and he had 24 Division I offers.
“My dream has always been to play in the NBA,” Todd said after decommitting from Michigan. “I just feel like this route will help my game grow even more. I want to be as prepared as possible when the time comes. This was a no-brainer for me.”
Todd was named a McDonald’s All-American his senior year and won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2017 FIBA U16 World Championship. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Todd was the second player to join the Ignite.
“We’re like sponges right now and us learning the NBA game this early is so beneficial for us,” Todd told Yahoo Sports. “I think down the line, this team could be remembered for something great. This is the first of its kind.”
Ht./Wt: 6-5, 224
Nix was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and played high school basketball at Trinity International School in Las Vegas. Nix was a five-star point guard, ranked No. 15 overall and was being recruited by schools like Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, Maryland, Oklahoma and others. He was originally committed to UCLA before joining the Ignite.
Nix was the best passer in high school basketball and averaged 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game his senior year. Like some of his other teammates, Nix was named a McDonald’s All-American and participated in two USA Basketball training camps.
In the two G League scrimmages, Nix showed off his dynamic passing and his ability to create for others. He’ll need to show signs of an improved jump shot and creating separation in his shooting off the dribble to impress the NBA scouts down in Orlando.
Ht./Wt: 6-10, 225
Singh is a native of Punjab, India, and was the youngest player on India’s senior national team. He has participated in a handful of high-profile international events, including Basketball Without Borders and the NBA Global Camp. In international play, he’s averaged 11.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Singh is the fifth basketball player from India and the first NBA Academy India graduate to sign a professional contract in the United States.
“This has been such a great opportunity to train with my teammates,” Singh said in a media session after practice. “I get to learn from them, how they play and handle themselves on the court.”
Singh has worked closely with 14-year veteran Amir Johnson who calls Singh a workhorse and has been impressed with his improvement since August. “He's the type of player that works on his game before practice and after practice," Johnson said. "I think he knows he has room to get a lot better and he's just constantly working.”
Ht./Wt: 7-3, 240
Sotto originally joined the Ignite and practiced until last December. He left the United States to join the Philippines national team for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers taking place in Qatar and will not join the Ignite in the G League bubble.
Sotto was recruited by Georgia, Georgia Tech and Auburn before deciding to join the Ignite. Sotto represented the Philippines at the 2019 FIBA U-19 World Cup where he averaged 11.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game.
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