DAKAR, SENEGAL – The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today announced “BAL Elevate,” a new program that will see one NBA Academy Africa prospect join each of the 12 BAL teams for the league’s 2022 season tipping off Saturday, March 5.
The inaugural BAL Elevate program will feature 12 prospects from six African countries who currently attend NBA Academy Africa, an elite basketball training center in Saly, Senegal for the top high-school age prospects from across Africa. The program will provide an opportunity for the next generation of African prospects to participate in the new professional league, showcase their talent on a global stage and help their respective teams compete for the 2022 BAL Championship.
“We believe BAL Elevate will be immensely valuable to the 12 BAL teams and to the young men from NBA Academy Africa who are ready to contribute at the professional level alongside the best players on the continent,” said BAL President Amadou Gallo Fall. “There is a natural synergy between the BAL and NBA Academy Africa, and this program will provide another pathway for elite African prospects to reach their potential as players and people.”
The BAL Elevate selection process was conducted yesterday by BAL Team Presidents. BAL Elevate players from the same country as a BAL team were automatically appointed to that team. If there was more than one BAL Elevate player from the same country as a BAL team, the team selected one of the players while the remaining player(s) re-joined the player pool for the opportunity to be selected by a different team. BAL Elevate players will not share in the prize money awarded to the top BAL teams at the end of the season to preserve their amateur status.
Below are the BAL Elevate players on each team:
The 12 BAL teams, which include defending BAL Champion Zamalek (Egypt), have been divided into two conferences – the Sahara Conference and the Nile Conference. Each conference will play a 15-game group phase during which each team will face the five other teams in its conference once. The Sahara Conference group phase will take place at the Dakar Arena from March 5-15, while the Nile Conference group phase will take place at Hassan Mostafa Indoor Sports Complex in Cairo from April 9-19. The top four teams from each conference will qualify for the BAL Playoffs, which will feature a single-elimination tournament and Finals at Kigali Arena from May 21-28.
In the season opener, Senegal’s Dakar Université Club (DUC) will take on Guinea’s Seydou Legacy Athlétique Club (S.L.A.C) at 12:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. GMT in the first of 38 games taking place across three cities over the next three months.
NBA Academy is a year-round elite basketball development program that provides top high school-age prospects from outside the U.S. with a holistic approach to player development and a predictable pathway to maximize their potential. In 2018, NBA Academy Africa opened a new facility in Saly, Senegal, which features two indoor basketball courts, a multipurpose activity center, a weight room, conference rooms, dormitories and educational facilities. Since NBA Academy Africa opened in 2017, 19 male and female participants have committed to NCAA Division I schools in the U.S.
Additional BAL roster information and details about the 2022 BAL season will be announced in the coming days.