The NBA’s globalization of basketball continues with the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
The affiliated African league will host its first-ever scouting combine from Wednesday, December 4 through Thursday, December 5 at the Brooklyn Nets’ HSS Training Center.
The BAL is a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin play in March 2020.
The BAL Combine will feature 50 aspiring players from Africa, the U.S. and around the world, participating in anthropometric and athletic testing, positional skill development and 5-on-5 games in front of attending scouts, coaches and executives from club teams across Africa participating in the qualifying tournaments for the inaugural season of the BAL.
Former NBA head coach and 1992 USA Olympic Team assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo will serve as camp director.
Rounding out his staff will be a plethora of coaches with deep NBA resumes and ties, including: former NBA Champion head coach Paul Westhead, former NBA players and G League assistant coaches Charlie Bell and Jaren Jackson Sr. (father of Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.) as well as former NBA player and NBA Assistant Coaches Program participant Theo Ratliff, Angola Men’s National Team Head Coach Will Voigt and former NCAA coach Tom Parrotta.
As is the goal with any startup professional sports league, the key is legitimization of the product. Having the NBA affiliated is the big piece, attracting top-end talent is the next, according to BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall.
“Our goal is to establish the Basketball Africa League as a destination for top players with U.S. college, G League and international experience,” said Fall. “Our first BAL Combine will provide teams with the opportunity to evaluate a deeper pool of talent as they fortify their rosters ahead of our first season, which tips off in four months.”
The inaugural BAL regular season will take place in Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir (Tunisia). Kigali (Rwanda) will host the first-ever BAL Finals. NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive on-court outfitter of the new professional league.
The NBA and FIBA also plan to dedicate financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa’s basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment.
(Photo: SEYLLOU/AFP via Getty Images)