Ignite opening new doors
Has the G League become the new top location for recruits to go to? While it’s still rising in popularity altogether, the G League’s Ignite has given recruits a new chance to shine. Away from the NCAA, they can blossom into new players in this environment.
We’ve all seen it play out year after year.
Recruiting can lead to massive speculation about where high school graduates are going to land. Who will go to your favorite school? Who won’t? It’s what’s made recruiting such a popular experience to watch across the country. However, the NCAA has recently been coming under more and more scrutiny. The one and done movement has slowly been losing players, and it could be a sign of the times changing.
Recruits like Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga elected to take this route and try the Ignite out. Due to this of course, they and other high school players have lost their college eligibility. Others joined them for this past year from the States in point guard Daishen Nix and power forward Isaiah Todd. Two international prospects in Kai Sotto and Princepal Singh from the Philippines and India, respectively, also elected to join the Ignite.
Due to some technicalities though, Sotto ended up losing the chance to play for the Ignite. After playing for the Philippine national team in qualifiers for the 2021 FIBA Asian Cup, it became more difficult for Sotto to return to the team. Eventually, they came to a mutual agreement for Sotto to leave the Ignite due to the one-year system in place for prospects.
Sotto elected to sign with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League in Australia as a result of this. As a result, this means that he won’t be draft eligible until 2022. Regardless, his story is still an example of the Ignite attracting prospects from around the world.
The 2020-21 season was actually the first full season for the squad. In 2019, no players joined so the Ignite were unable to actually compete. Next year, though, the Ignite had an opportunity to compete with the League and get a shot at the playoffs.
Competing in the G League Bubble in Orlando, Florida, the Ignite managed to sneak in as the 8th and final team for the playoffs. While this was huge for the prospect team, their success would be short-lived for the postseason. They lost the first round matchup to the top seeded Raptors 905 from Mississauga, Ontario.
Setting up the future?
With the NBA draft coming up in a few months, it’s going to be fascinating to see who’s picked. All of them are very capable players, but it’s up to the teams in the end. Green has certainly proven himself to be a top pick, considered by many to at least be among the draft’s top 3. Kuminga has done the same, along with Todd and Nix.
Green and Kuminga both stood out the most during the Ignite’s season, leading the team in Points Per Game with 17.9 and 15.8 respectively.
Signing NBA veterans like Jarrett Jack and Amir Johnson has given the Ignite a way to have mentors on the team to assist the rookies. As the years roll on, the team hopes gain new prospects to train for the next draft.
Already, there are prospects who have decided to join for the Ignite’s 2021-2022 season. Guard Jalen Hardy, forward Michael Foster and Chinese forward Fanbo Zeng have all signed on with the team. It’s all up to the recruits in the end, so the world can only wait and watch to see what the final decisions are.
Regardless of who joins the team and who leaves in the Draft, the Ignite means the world of basketball now has a whole new attraction to keep an eye on.