When the NBA Academy was established in 2016, one of the main goals was to identify and develop top basketball prospects from around the world.
Josh Giddy became the first NBA academy graduate to be selected in the NBA draft after being selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the sixth overall pick in 2021. Three other former academy graduates are expected to be named when the 2022 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday.
Dyson Daniels, Bennedict Mathurin and Hyunjung Lee continue to climb the draft list after using the NBA Academy to help start their promising basketball careers.
“It was a very rewarding feeling for all of our coaches and staff in the early years of the program to see these young NBA Academy graduates realize their lifelong dream of being drafted into the NBA,” NBA Senior Director Chris Ebersol said he oversees elite development at the NBA’s Global Academy. “We are proud of these players for how well they represent themselves, their home countries and the NBA Academy program on and off the court. We are excited to see their continued success at the NBA level.”
Daniels from Australia had a great season in G League Ignite. He is expected to be a lottery player. Tall, the 6-foot-6 point guard is an above-average defender and playmaker. In 15 games with Ignite, he’s averaging 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals, and his performance has improved as the season progressed.
“Dyson’s path — from the NBA Global Academy to G League Ignite to the NBA — illustrates the NBA’s commitment to developing young athletes and preparing them for the sport’s highest level,” Ebersol said. “The leaps Dyson has made in the game are a testament to his professional attitude and his desire to get better every day. We are very proud of Dyson and delighted to see his hard work pay off.”
Daniels is a teammate of Giddy at the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia.
Mathurin is Canadian and had a very successful college career in Arizona. At 6-foot-6, what sets him apart from many players is his athleticism. The 19-year-old wing is explosive and has played several great games with the Wildcats. He’s in the game and has a good enough jumper to hit both. He is expected to be a lottery pick.
“Benedict was a true NBA academy pioneer because he was the first Canadian to join the program, setting the stage for several others to follow in his footsteps,” Ebersol said. “His work ethic, competitive intensity and leadership skills that helped him thrive at NBA academies in Latin America and then rise to the highest levels of college basketball will now serve him well as he makes his way to the NBA.”
Benedict Maturin & Tournament Dunk 😱
— Sports Center (@SportsCenter) March 21, 2022
The Pac-12 Player of the Year is averaging 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Lee Hyun Jung
The 6-foot-7 Lee from South Korea is averaging 15.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game at Davidson. He is expected to be selected in the second round, and if selected, he will become the second South Korean player in the NBA.
His 50-40-90 shooting made the team buzz. Like Stephen Curry, another former Davidson player who once filled the Nets, Lee didn’t get heavily recruited out of high school.
“Lee has been a great shooter from his first day at the NBA Global Academy, one of the best shooters of any level I’ve ever seen in basketball, and he will continue to demonstrate his elite skills. Kudos to you,” Ebersol said. “At the NBA Global Academy and Davidson, Lee worked hard to develop his entire game, including his defense, possession and movement off the ball, and his all-round game has led to historic success in the collegiate ranks. We feel so sorry for Lee. Proud and excited for him to embark on his NBA journey.”