NBA INTERNATIONAL ELITE basketball October-december 2020 NEWSLETTER

six basketball without borders alumni selected in 2020 nba draft

Following the momentum of a record-breaking 2019, six new Basketball Without Borders alumni heard their names called during the 2020 NBA Draft. Killian Hayes of France (7th pick), Deni Avdija of Israel (9th), Aleksej Pokusevski of Serbia (17th), Josh Green of Australia (18th), Leandro Bolmaro of Argentina (23rd) and Vít Krejcí of the Czech Republic (37th) have joined the NBA ranks. Hayes, Avdija and Bolmaro were all the highest picks from each of their respective countries in NBA Draft history.

BWB in the NBA Draft Facts

  • A record 34 players on opening-night rosters participated in BWB prior to starting their NBA careers, surpassing the previous record of 30 set last year.
  • For the third time in history and for the second consecutive year, five BWB alumni were selected in the first round of the draft.
  • At least two BWB alumni have been selected in the lottery for five straight years.
  • For two consecutive years, the Washington Wizards have used the ninth overall pick to draft a former BWB camper. Prior to selecting Deni Avdija, the Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura from Japan in 2019.
  • 68 BWB alumni have now been selected in the NBA Draft, including 20 total alumni over the last three years. An additional eight have signed as free agents.


Leandro Bolmaro, a guard from Córdoba, Argentina, was selected with the 23rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. In addition to becoming the highest Argentinian draft pick in NBA history, he also became the first prospect that trained at an NBA Academy to be selected in the NBA Draft. Bolmaro joined fellow prospects at the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico City before playing with the team at the 2018 Next Generation Showcase at the NCAA Final Four. Following that event, Bolmaro signed a contract with FC Barcelona.

nba academy in the ncaa

Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua

Commonly referred to as "Everyday Jon" in college basketball circles due to his insatiable effort, Jonathan has burst onto the scene in his sophomore season. The NBA Global Academy alum from Cameroon is now averaging 10.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for #2 ranked Baylor.

Jonathan was recently featured on ABC News and Good Morning America, where he discussed the NBA Academy and Basketball Without Borders programs and was introduced to a Cameroonian hero.

Hyunjung Lee

After being named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team in his freshman campaign, the sharp-shooting South Korean guard and NBA Global Academy alum has made a huge leap in his sophomore year. He is Davidson's leading scorer, averaging 17.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 52.8% from three.

Efe Abogidi

After battling injuries for much of his prep career, the NBA Academy Africa and NBA Global Academy alum is fully healthy and already making a significant impact for Washington State. The Nigerian forward was named PAC-12 Freshman of the Week on December 28, and is averaging 10.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

Santiago Vescovi

The crafty Uruguayan point guard, who attended the NBA Academy Latin America before finishing up his prep career at the NBA Global Academy, is again starting at point guard for #7 ranked Tennessee. So far in year two, he is averaging a well-rounded 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the SEC favorites.

Nelly Junior Joseph

Playing significant minutes as a freshman for Coach Rick Pitino, the NBA Academy Africa alum was named MAAC Rookie of the Week three different times in December. A forward from Nigeria, Nelly is averaging 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for Iona.


The NBA Academy Social Justice Initiative covered the themes of Awareness and Allyship from October through December.

  • Awareness: NBA Academy student-athletes were asked to read and reflect on Kyle Korver’s impactful article "Privileged" from The Players’ Tribune, which discussed what he felt was an awakening as he confronted his assumptions about racism and made a declaration to stand firmly alongside his friends and teammates in the struggle for social justice. Students were shown a rubric of the different states of awareness along with associated characteristics, leading to discussion on how this applies to them as individuals and in their local communities.
  • Allyship: The student-athletes were asked to read an article from the Guide to Allyship and watch the film Freedom Riders. Discussions drove players to think critically about the term ‘ally,’ how they may or may not have been an ally in past situations and how to leverage self-awareness and empathy to be an ally moving forward.

The Social Justice Initiative will continue in January with the theme of Advocacy and will include guest speakers to facilitate conversations.


The 2020 FIBA Under-18 African Championship was held from December 3-9 in Cairo, Egypt. In an evenly matched tournament, Mali prevailed over Senegal in the championship. Several NBA Academy student-athletes stood out throughout the competition.

Egyptian point guard Mohab Yasser Abdalatif led his team to a 4-1 record and led the tournament in scoring, averaging 27.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. Forward Mohamed Lamine Keita averaged 5.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for Guinea. Representing Senegal, forward Babacar Sane (pictured left) averaged 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, and former NBA Academy player and 2021 NBA Draft prospect Ibou Badji averaged 11.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.

Mohab Yasser Abdalatif (second from left), Babacar Sane (middle) and Ibou Badji (right) were named to the All Tournament Team.

NBA Academy Success in Chinese Youth National Championships

The NBA Academy Zhejiang, which operates out of the Hailiang Foreign Language School and was playing on behalf of Zhejiang Province, won the 2020 Under-15 Chinese National Championship, defeating Guangdong Province 95–57 in the tournament finals. Junjie 'Barry' Wang (pictured right, top middle), who has also spent significant time training at the NBA Global Academy, finished with 31 points and 19 rebounds in the championship game and was named tournament MVP. The team's success has drawn significant attention from various media outlets throughout China.

NBA Global Academy alum Tianrong 'Terry' Li (pictured left) was named MVP of the 2020 Under-19 National Championship, leading the Shanghai Sharks Juniors to their first national junior title in 20 years. Alongside Li, BWB and NBA Academy Games alumni Dai Hao and Zhang Zhiyao also had standout performances for the Sharks.

NBA Academy women's program participants receive scholarships

Aminata Tal from Senegal (pictured left, #17) and Sira Thienou from Mali (pictured below, #14) – who joined SEED Academy in Thies, Senegal in November – were among top prospects from across the continent to participate in the 2019 NBA Academy Women’s Program camp at NBA Academy Africa in Saly and were awarded scholarships to attend SEED Academy in recognition of their leadership on and off the court. At SEED Academy, Tal and Thienou will receive high-level basketball training, tutoring, ESL training, life-skills development and academic and career guidance to help them prepare for the next step in their basketball and academic journeys.

This marks the first time the NBA Academy Women’s Program has provided scholarships to African female athletes. The initiative is part of NBA Academy Africa and SEED Project’s commitment to support elite African female athletes and use the transformative power of basketball to provide them with high-level basketball training and education.

NBA Global Academy Athletes Participate on Multi-Cultural Team

In line with efforts to develop prospects off the court, several NBA Global Academy student-athletes participate in a local multi-cultural league, giving them the opportunity to provide leadership to young aspiring athletes and to share their experiences of living, training and playing with other basketball players from different countries and backgrounds.


The NBA and T3N Sport & Investment (T3N), a sports consultancy company specializing in sports training and development, announced a partnership that makes T3N an official partner of the NBA in Spain and will see their new state-of-the-art basketball facility in Madrid serve as the host venue for the country’s first NBA Basketball School.

The new basketball facility, set to open when the T3N Sport Center launches in the fall of 2021, will feature three NBA Basketball School-branded indoor courts and will host Spain’s first NBA Basketball School, a tuition-based basketball development program open to male and female players aged 6-18.


  • NBA Academy Latin America prospects will start training at their new home at La Loma, a top-of-the-line sport performance and training center in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.

Upcoming NBA Academy Alumni Head-to-Head Match-Ups

  • January 2: Arizona (Bennedict Mathurin, Canada/Haiti) @ Washington State (Efe Abogidi, Nigeria)
  • January 6: Oklahoma (Anyang Garang, Uganda/Australia) @ Baylor (Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, Cameroon)
  • January 9: Baylor @ TCU (Francisco Farabello, Argentina)
  • January 12: TCU @ Oklahoma
  • January 16: Virginia (Francisco Caffaro, Argentina) @ Clemson (Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Canada)
  • January 16: Gonzaga (Oumar Ballo, Mali) @ Saint Mary's (Alex Ducas, Australia)
  • February 6: TCU @ Baylor
  • February 10: Oklahoma @ Baylor
  • February 18: Saint Mary's @ Gonzaga
  • February 25: Washington State @ Arizona