NBA, G League looking at Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy to house newly formed ‘Select Team,’ per report

The NBA G League continues to try and position itself as a competitive option for top high school prospects who are deciding between going to college for a year or turning pro overseas before entering the NBA Draft. Last week, Jalen Green, ranked No. 3 in the 2020 class by 247Sports, shocked everyone when he decided to sign a lucrative deal with the G League for a season instead of playing college basketball. His announcement was followed by Isaiah Todd, the 247Sports’ 14th-ranked player in the 2020 class, deciding to sign with the G League after he decommitted from the University of Michigan. The two will together join and play on a “Select Team,” which will feature other top high school prospects as well as G League veterans. 

This Select Team will be a brand new addition to the G League for the upcoming season, and while there are still a lot of details to work out, the G League is looking at using Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy as its home base, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. Nothing is official yet, but Haynes reports that while other venues are being considered, many expect that to be the home for the Select Team for the 2020-21 season.

Before Bryant died in January, he regularly used the facility to train with basketball players from the NBA and WNBA all the way down to youth teams. The complex features five basketball courts located in Thousand Oaks, California, and would serve as the practice and training facility for the Select Team.

Haynes also reports that former Knicks coach David Fizdale is being considered to coach the Select Team, along with former NBA coaches Sam Mitchell and Brian Shaw.

This new path to the NBA will serve as an alternative for the upper echelon of high school talent who want to earn some money in the year before they enter the NBA Draft. These teenagers will have the opportunity to earn six-figure salaries, be given full scholarships to still gain an education, all while training and preparing for the draft in a setting that has the backing and infrastructure of the NBA. 

If this avenue gains steam, it could divert some of the top talent in the nation from the NCAA straight into the G League. For now, though, many people will be watching to see how the NBA, G League and players like Green and Todd fare in this new program and show it’s a viable option for the future.

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