The NCAA kicked off its debut College Basketball Academy this year in four locations around the United States, and several Australians were part of the Houston camp, at the University of Houston, Texas (Session I | Session II).
Australia’s NBA Global Academy representatives included 6’7 guard Josh Giddey, big man Aly Khalifa and shooting guard Mojave King.
The 2019 NCAA College Basketball Academy comprises of two sessions, involving about 1,200 college prospects, and are held from 22-25 July, 25-28 July across four regional sites (Phoenix, Houston, Champaign, Storrs). The sessions are fully paid for by the NCAA, and consist of basketball and life skill sessions, along with actual games.
The Athletic’s Brian Hamilton, after attending a session at Champaign, commented that the talent level is still a “work in progress” right now, with coaches commenting that talent pool ranged mostly from D2 to mid-major.
“… But it’s not a bad idea to create a higher-end version of the youth basketball camps everyone went to,” Hamilton wrote in his column. “It’s not a bad idea to incorporate a few hours of dedicated skill work and life-skills sessions. There’s value in all of that. There’s certainly value in the exposure lesser-known players can get in this environment if there are more better players to compete against, and therefore more coaches in the gym furiously scribbling notes and susceptible to bringing up recruiting profiles and highlight videos on their phones.”
Prep Hoops analyst Trent Markwith and SUVtv shared highlights of Giddey and King’s performances at the camp. Both highlighted Giddey’s all-around play, ranging from scoring to rebounding and passing. King’s scoring and ball-handling drew attention as well.
Both King and Giddey had made strong impressions during NBA Global Academy’s run in the recent third NBA Academy Games in Atlanta, and emerged as champions.
Giddey, son of Melbourne Tiger Warrick, also led VIC Metro to the 2019 Australian Junior Championships championship, averaging 20 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6 assists a game.
King, who grew up in Queensland, does not hold an Australian passport yet, and will not join national team play until this is sorted. His father, Leonard King was an import in the New Zealand NBL, and shared with NBL.com.au, that his son would play for Australia.
According to the NCAA website, other Australians who attended the Houston camp (South regional roster) include Zac Triplett (Maribyrnong Sports Academy) and 6’2 guard Roosevelt Williams Jr (Box Hill Senior Secondary College).
Triplett, a 6’5 shooting guard out of Maribyrnong College, possesses a good shooting touch and is in the class of 2020. He’s currently received mid-major D1 offers including Portland, Drexel, Hartford and UMKC.
Williams, who hails from WA, is in the class of 2021, has a quick first step and received positive comments on his vision, speed and ability to break defences down.