The BWB Global Camp became part of the NBA All-Star weekend festivities last year and it was a no-brainer to continue the event for some 50 invitees. And once again, the top players from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania will have experts help enhance their skills, shape their character, and teach important life values.
The biggest name at the camp is former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming while three former campers will also be working with the youngsters - Toronto Raptors’ Brazilian Bruno Caboclo, who was at the BWB Americas in 2013, Denver Nuggets’ Italian Danilo Gallinari from BWB Europe 2003 and Milwaukee Bucks’ Venezuelan Greivis Vasquez from BWB Americas in 2004.
Other current and former NBA players will also be on hand while NBA assistant coaches Chris Finch (Houston), Bryan Gates (Minnesota), Jama Mahlalela (Toronto), and Nick Nurse (Toronto) will also serve as BWB Global coaches. In addition, Ale Oliveira of the Brooklyn Nets will be in Toronto as the camp’s athletic trainer.
“The BWB Global Camp is a great opportunity for these boys and girls to learn directly from players and coaches, many of whom have been involved with the BWB program for years,” NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations Brooks Meek said.
The BWB program continues to teach values like leadership, teamwork and respect that have application on and off the court. - NBA Vice President Brooks Meek
The BWB program has reached more than 2,400 participants from 130 countries and territories since 2001. Thirty-seven former campers have been drafted into the NBA and 21 were on opening-night rosters for the 2015-16 season.
That is exactly the dream of probably all of the youngsters in the Toronto camp. And many of the lessons they learn from the likes of Yao Ming, Gallinari and Finch will help them go back home and see what they need to take their game to the next level.
Actually, they could likely help their countries’ youth national teams this summer and many of the players face big continental or even world championships this summer.
Most of the 1998-born players will likely be competing this summer in their respective countries’ U18 continental championships, which also serve as the qualifiers for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship. And a couple of youngsters will also be getting a great experience in advance of the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
The Chinese duo of Wang Yi Bo and Bai Hao Tian were leaders on the team which took third place at the 2015 FIBA Asia U16 Championship. And Wang and Bai will be joined by 1998-born compatriot Fan Ziming at the BWB Global Camp in Toronto.
The other two Asian players both have international experience as Japanese Rui Hachimura played at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship as well as the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic, which was also attended by Kao Kuo Hao of Chinese Taipei.
Many of the players from Europe in the camp are early contenders for the All-Tournament Team of the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championship, including the likes of Germans Isaiah Hartenstein and Richard Freudenberg; Arnoldas Kulboka and Tadas Sedekerskis of Lithuania; France’s Frank Ntilikina; Borisa Simanic and Milos Glisic of Serbia; Spain’s Eric Vila; Amar Gegic of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Omer Yurtseven of Turkey.
Many of the African players at BWB Global Camp have not yet played at the national team level. A couple of them who have are Angolan Valdir Manuel at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship; Egyptian Omar El Sheikh at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship; and Tunisian Mohamed Rassil at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The Americas have a strong representation as well in the camp.
Argentina have 2015 U19 Worlds participant Facundo Corvalan as well as Santiago Vaulet while Brazil are sending two players including Felipe Dos Anjos, a center who won the Adidas Next Generation Tournament with Spanish giants Real Madrid last season.
And the host country Canada is sending four players including Abu Kigab who played at the 2015 U19 Worlds, as well as Lindell Wigginton, who is expected to be one of the country’s leaders for this summer’s FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Not to be forgotten is Australia, who will have four players in the event, including the Canada-based brothers Matur and Thon Maker. The other two, Harry Froling and William McDowell-White, both have World Championship experience to call upon.
But looking at the past success, it’s hard to imagine that these players won’t get better already for this summer.