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African Players in NBA Draft 2021

NBA Draft 2021 presented by State Farm® was held Thursday, July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and reached fans in 215 countries and territories in 25 languages. The Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham with the first pick in the NBA Draft. This marked the first time in 51 years and third time overall that the Pistons made the top pick.

Eighteen international players from 15 countries were selected: nine in the first round and nine in the second round. Australian Josh Giddey, a graduate of NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia, became the first NBA Academy graduate to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected 6th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A record 10 former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) campers were drafted, breaking the previous record of eight set in 2019. 

Six players with direct ties to Africa have been selected:

·       Jonathan Kuminga (Democratic Republic of the Congo) – selected 7th by the Golden State Warriors

·       Usman Garuba (Spain/Nigerian parents) – selected 23rd by the Houston Rockets

·       JT Thor (USA/South Sudanese parents) – selected 37th by the Detroit Pistons

·       Ayo Dosunmu (USA/Nigerian parents) – selected 38th by the Chicago Bulls

·       Neemias Queta (Portugal/parents from Guinea-Bissau) – selected 39th by the Sacramento Kings

·       Charles Bassey (Nigeria) – selected 53rd by the Philadelphia 76ers

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NBA G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga was selected No. 7 overall by the Golden State Warriors, becoming the highest-drafted player from the Democratic Republic of the Congo since Emmanuel Mudiay was also selected No. 7 overall in 2015. Kuminga was ranked by ESPN as the top high school prospect in the Class of 2021 before reclassifying to the Class of 2020 and joining NBA G League Ignite. He moved to the U.S. from his native Democratic Republic of the Congo to pursue basketball in 2016.

Charles Bassey - NBA Draft
CHICAGO, IL – MAY 14: Charles Bassey poses for a portrait at the 2019 NBA Draft Combine on May 14, 2019 at the Chicago Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Born to Nigerian parents, forward Usman Garuba of Spain, is already considered one of the best young defenders in Europe as a 19-year-old and is a member of the Spain Men’s National Team in the Tokyo Olympics. Garuba helped Spain win gold medals at the 2019 FIBA U18 European Championship, earning All-Star Five honors, and the 2016 FIBA U16 European Championship, where he was named MVP.

Charles Bassey was named an All-Star at Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp 2017, which was held in New Orleans as part of NBA All-Star 2017, and MVP of BWB Global 2018, which was held in Los Angeles as part of NBA All-Star 2018.

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