JOHANNESBURG AND NEW YORK – The Basketball Africa League (BAL), a new professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa and scheduled to begin play in March 2020, today announced the first BAL Combine.
The two-day scouting event, which will feature 50 aspiring players from Africa, the U.S. and around the world, will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4 – Thursday, Dec. 5 at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) Training Center – the official practice facility of the Brooklyn Nets – in Brooklyn, New York.
Players will take part in anthropometric and athletic testing, positional skill development and 5-on-5 games in front of attending scouts, coaches and executives from club teams across Africa participating in the qualifying tournaments for the inaugural season of the BAL.
Former NBA head coach and 1992 “Dream Team” assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo will serve as BAL Combine camp director. Joining Carlesimo’s coaching staff will be former NBA Champion head coach Paul Westhead, former NBA players and G League assistant coaches Charlie Bell and Jaren Jackson Sr., former NBA player and NBA Assistant Coaches Program participant Theo Ratliff, Angola Men’s National Team Head Coach Will Voigt and former NCAA coach Tom Parrotta.
BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall, FIBA Africa and BAL Board President Anibal Manave, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (South Sudan), Capital City Go-Go General Manager Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Ghana) and former NBA player Olumide Oyedeji (Nigeria) will also attend and interact with the participants.
“Our goal is to establish the Basketball Africa League as a destination for top players with U.S. college, G League and international experience,” said Fall. “Our first BAL Combine will provide teams with the opportunity to evaluate a deeper pool of talent as they fortify their rosters ahead of our first season, which tips off in four months.”
The BAL Combine will be officiated by 10 NBA G League referee candidates, including six representatives from the NBA’s Referee Development Program, which provides rising professionals and former players with the skills necessary to pursue a career as a referee in the NBA, WNBA or NBA G League.
Each of the 12 teams participating in the inaugural season of the BAL will have up to 16 players (12 active and four inactive), at least eight of whom will be citizens in their respective teams’ home country and up to four of whom can be from other countries, with no more than two players per team from outside of Africa.
The inaugural BAL regular season will take place in Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir (Tunisia). Kigali (Rwanda) will host the first-ever BAL Finals. NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive on-court outfitter of the new professional league.
The NBA and FIBA also plan to dedicate financial support and resources toward the continued development of Africa’s basketball ecosystem, including training for players, coaches and referees, and infrastructure investment.
The announcement about the NBA and FIBA’s launch of the BAL, which would mark the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America, was made at the NBA All-Star 2019 Africa Luncheon in Charlotte on Saturday, Feb. 16.
Additional details about the BAL will be announced at a later date.