The future of international basketball will come together next week in Los Angeles during All-Star Weekend as part of the fourth annual Basketball Without Borders Global Camp (BWB), a joint venture of the NBA and FIBA.
The 43 prospects, ranging in age from 16 to 18 and from 36 countries, will get measured, undergo athletic testing, practice, scrimmage and conduct drills under the watchful eyes of representatives of all 30 NBA teams at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility. Participants will also attend daily seminars for life skills and take in the Rising Stars challenge, dunk contest, 3-point shootout and All-Star Game at Staples Center.
Despite being relatively new, this camp has quickly ascended to the top of NBA executives’ calendars as a must-scout event. Its increasing importance is reflected in the impressive roster, which pulls together some of the most talented non-American prospects in the world. The apparent impending demise of the legendary Adidas EuroCamp, which hosted dozens of NBA draft picks from 2002 through 2017, has only hastened BWB’s ascent.
Last year’s camp MVP, R.J. Barrett, is considered the front-runner to become the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, while fellow BWB global alums Lauri Markkanen, Jamal Murray, Dragan Bender, Frank Ntilikina and Thon Maker rode strong performances during All-Star Weekend to become eventual lottery picks not long after participating. Potential 2018 No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton started to build his candidacy for the draft during the 2016 BWB camp in Toronto.
This year’s camp will be headlined by Sekou Doumbouya (France), Luka Samanic (Croatia), Killian Hayes (France), N’Faly Dante (Mali), Charles Bassey (Nigeria) and others.
Doumbouya and Samanic are both projected as top-10 picks in the 2019 draft, having dominated the Under-18 European Championships despite playing up a year or two on the competition. Doumbouya, a strong and explosive power forward with soft touch on his jumper, is already playing professional basketball in France’s second division, and he’s fresh off an impressive 26-point outing (on 12 attempts) this past weekend. Samanic is a versatile, 6-foot-11 power forward whose game is tailor-made for a camp of this setting with his ability to dribble, pass, shoot and defend multiple positions.
Both Doumbouya and Samanic are fighting some negative perceptions early on regarding their intensity level and off-court intangibles, so this is a great chance for them to put their superior experience and talent on display with a dominant showing and capitalize on what appears to be a weak 2019 draft class.