Calling all Basketball youth for international opportunities
Basketball’s growing popularity in Africa, China and the Middle East make it the world’s fastest-growing sport. More Chinese viewers tune in to watch the NBA than for the English Premier League, and basketball’s star continues to rise.
While basketball is popular at school and university level in South Africa, there are very few opportunities for local youngsters to make the leap to University or professionalism in domestic competition. World Wide Scholarships (WWS), the world’s leading linkage organisation which places talented youth athletes with some of the world’s foremost sports clubs and universities, is opening doors for African basketball enthusiasts and now offers direct access to NBA and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams in the United States.
NCAA teams are well known for providing the talent pool from which NBA teams draft talented young stars for potentially lucrative contracts. Historically, playing in this league has been a bridge too far for South Africans who love the game, but that is changing.
“The first avenue for local talent is the Basketball Africa League. South Africa sends teams to BAL qualifiers, where there is a significant market and opportunity for basketball players. The second is to be scouted by a university or high school. US universities and schools are constantly scouting for talent and scholarships are readily available,” says WWS CEO Munya Maraire.
The BAL is a basketball league consisting of twelve teams, each of which qualify through their national competitions, in a conference system similar in format to the UEFA Champions League. The BAL is endorsed by the NBA and the global basketball body FIBA and leagues eligible for producing qualifying teams are based in Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.
Though the BAL is yet to begin as a result of delays due to Covid-19, WWS has so far sent 13 young African players to the US via scholarships, and the organisation has affiliations with the NCAA and former NBA players who work as talent identification scouts.
To bring NCAA and NBA recruitment one step closer, WWS has included basketball as a sporting code in its December 2020 scouting camp, which will be held near Pretoria. “The camp will be broken into two sections – there will be games and physical tests that our sports science team will run, and then we will have a series of games,” says Maraire.
“From there, we will select two all-star teams per category which will play the main games on the final day in front of top international talent scouts who will be in South Africa to recruit young talent. The matches and setup will be adjusted to showcase the talent and potential we have in South Africa, and to provide enough of a platform for young local basketball players to demonstrate their skills,” he says.
Each player at the camp will be profiled with their performance and physical statistics updated as the camp progresses. “Even though not every player participating may be recruited to the US, this kind of information and guidance can prove invaluable in helping young players to improve and address any weaknesses so that they can come back and try again at the next camp,” Maraire says.
World Wide Scholarships is the only recognised scouting and recruiting company by the NCAA in the sport of basketball and American football making it the go-to company for top USA based universities.
The WWS December 2020 scouting camp will be held from 14 – 18 December at Camp Discovery, 60km from Pretoria. To register for the camp visit www.wwsscoutcamp.com