First European to join the G League Ignite team, Sidy Cissoko is one of the best French prospects expected in the next few years in the NBA. While he favored the NBA development program over a university career or a European career start to prepare for the 2023 Draft, the Frenchman explained his choice.
As we know, a young French prospect has several possibilities to prepare for the NBA Draft. For a long time, young French hopefuls had to make a choice between starting their career in Europe before taking the plunge, or directly entering an American university to be closer to the immediate environment of the League. Today the world of basketball has changed and there are more pre-NBA options, including a big hype around the NBL, the Australian Basketball League. In addition to life experience, this championship offers young Europeans a good level of opposition, the establishment of personalized and interesting development programs, but also the possibility of receiving a salary. This is for example the choice made this year by Ousmane Dieng and Hugo Besson, but also LaMelo Ball in 2019-2020. Faced with this growing competition for the American system, the NBA decided to react by creating G League Ignite. This program was specially founded in 2020 to develop young shooters, with the possibility of participating in the G League championship and being paid, which is not the case at the university. Two years after its creation, the Ignite Team is preparing to welcome its first European prospect with Sidy Cissoko. A choice that may have come as a surprise, especially concerning the recent nature of the program, but the Frenchy is sure of himself, as he declared to Jonathan Givony of ESPN :
“We explored several options with my agents and I was convinced that the G League Ignite was the best opportunity to achieve my goals. The ability of this program to maximize the potential of its players on and off the pitch convinced me. More so, the tailored development program and the opportunity to begin my transition to the American style of play, the 3-point line and life off the court are major assets. I also felt during our conversations with the staff that I was a priority. »
– Sidy Cissoko
A statement that highlights all that the program set up in the USA can offer. Invited to the Hoop Summit 2022, Sidy Cissoko is currently announced at the end of the first round for the next Draft and he seems convinced that the G League Ignite will allow him to achieve his objectives. An interesting case that can turn into an important issue for the credibility of the program among young Europeans: seeing Cissoko present himself in the best conditions for his arrival in the NBA next summer would certainly be a nice publicity stunt that could encourage the next cracks from the Old Continent to turn to the Ignite Team option. Especially since the “training center” of the NBA has carved out a fine reputation on the other side of the Atlantic since its launch. In two years, the program has allowed 4 players to be selected in the first round of the Draft: Jalen Green (N°2) and Jonathan Kuminga (N°7) in 2021, then Dyson Daniels (N°8) and MarJon Beauchamp (N°24) this year. In addition to Cissoko, the Ignite Team also has in its ranks Scoot Henderson, announced in the top 3 of the 2023 Draft alongside Victor Wembanyama. Enough to continue to build a beautiful image and make a lot of prospects want to join the adventure.
It’s not always easy to venture into the unknown as Sidy Cissoko has just done. But the young guy seems sure of himself and it’s true that the program he joins seems to offer some nice guarantees. The G League Ignite is playing part of its reputation in Europe and it is hoped that Sidy’s season there will allow him to earn a nice place in the first round in June 2023.
Text source: ESPN