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NBA G League Alums To Watch Out For In The 2019 FIBA World Cup

By Jake Winderman | August 23, 2019

The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup officially tips-off on Sunday, August 31, in China after teams have spent months qualifying, training and preparing for one of the biggest international basketball tournaments in the world. From hungry rookies to seasoned veterans, each roster is comprised of a mix of talent from the best players in each respective country. Below are the NBA G League alums to watch out for at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

 

TURKEY: Ersan Ilyasova, Furkan Korkmaz, Cedi Osman

All three of Turkey’s NBA G League alums have played most of their careers in the NBA, but have had important developmental phases in the NBA G League. Ilyasova spent 46 games during the 2005-06 season with the Tulsa 66ers, averaging 12.5 points and seven rebounds per game on 34.7% shooting from beyond the arc, while Korkmaz charted nine games with the Delaware Blue Coats during the 2017-18 NBA G League season, posting 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

USA: Joe Harris, Khris Middleton, Marcus Smart, Derrick White

Harris, Middleton, Smart and White are all household NBA names at this point, but each of the four U.S.A. Basketball stars spent important time working on their game in the NBA G League. Before he was the 2019 NBA Three-Point Contest Champion, Joe Harris played 22 games with the Canton Charge during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, averaging 15.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and three assists per game. Derrick White won an NBA G League title in 2018 with the Austin Spurs after notching 24.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, four assists, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks in the regular season with Austin. Middleton was the first NBA G League alum to become an NBA All-Star, spending time with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants during the 2012-13 season. Smart played with the Maine Red Claws during the 2014-15 season, averaging six points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals per game.

Japan: Yuta Watanabe

Watanabe burst on to the scene as a rookie two-way player with the Memphis Grizzlies and Memphis Hustle during the 2018-19 season. The Japan-native posted 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game on 33.3% shooting from beyond the arc in 33 NBA G League games with the Hustle. Watanabe will be a key member of Japan’s 2019 FIBA World Cup run.

Argentina: Nicolas Brussino, Patricio Garino

Brussino played in the NBA G League during the 2016-17 season with the Texas Legends, averaging 16.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game and in the 2017-18 season with the Erie BayHawks, notching 9.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Garino spent the entire 2016-17 season with the Austin Spurs, playing 49 games and posting 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals per game on 43% shooting from long-range.

Nigeria: Alade Aminu, Ike Diogu, Ike Iroegbu, Chimezie Metu, Ike Nwamu, Ben Uzoh, Gabe Vincent, Talib Zanna

Nigeria is tied with Canada for the most NBA G League alums on their 2019 FIBA World Cup roster. Chimezie Metu impressed while with the Austin Spurs on NBA Assignment during his rookie season with San Antonio, averaging 14 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game on 49% shooting from the floor. Iroegbu was also effective in the NBA G League, notching 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists per contest with the Agua Caliente Clippers during the 2017-18 season.

Greece: Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Georgia Papagiannis

The older brother of 2019 Kia NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo had great success during his NBA G League days, earning All-NBA G League 2nd Team honors in 2015 and All-NBA G League 3rd Team honors in 2014. Papagiannis spent two seasons in the NBA G League, averaging 13.7 points and 8.5 rebounds on 42.9% shooting from deep in 33 total games with the Reno Bighorns.

Brazil: Bruno Caboclo, Cristiano Felicio

Caboclo started the 2018-19 NBA G League season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 16.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 3.1 blocks per game on 43.3% shooting from beyond the arc and 51.1% shooting from the field. Caboclo earned an NBA Call-Up to the Memphis Grizzlies midseason and is still with the team. Felicio, a current member of the Chicago Bulls, played 13 career NBA G League games between 2015 and 2018, posting 16.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.2 blocks per game on 59.2% shooting from the floor and 33.3% shooting from beyond the arc.

Puerto Rico: Renaldo Balkman, Gian Clavell, Angel Rodriguez

Of the three NBA G League alums on Puerto Rico, Renaldo Balkman had the greatest statistical success in the NBA G League, averaging 16 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2.1 steals in 32 games with the Texas Legends during the 2014-15 season. Rodriguez played 10 games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers during the 2018-19 season, posting 12.2 points, 5.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game on 33.3% shooting from deep.

Tunisia: Salah Mejri

Mejri is the sole NBA G League alum on Tunisia, spending eight games with the Texas Legends during the 2015-16 season, totaling 8.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per contest.

Dominican Republic: Luis Montero, Ronald Roberts Jr., Sadiel Rojas, Eloy Vargas

Montero is no stranger to the NBA G League, having played 86 games in the NBA’s official minor league between 2015 and 2018. Montero has played for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Reno Bighorns, Sioux Falls Skyforce and Grand Rapids Drive. Roberts has also spent significant time in the NBA G League, charting 40 games between 2014 and 2016 with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Delaware 87ers and Raptors 905. He averaged 17.9 points, 12 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in those contests.

France: Nando De Colo, Rudy Gobert, Elie Oboko, Axel Toupane

Headlining France’s NBA G League alums is back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, who has also earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors three times and was the NBA blocks leader in 2017. Gobert played eight games with the Bakersfield Jam during the 2013-14 season, posting 13.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and three blocks per game on an absurd 74.1% shooting from the field. Okobo, the No. 31 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, played nine games with the Northern Arizona Suns last season, averaging 18.1 points, 7.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in his NBA G League rookie season.

Germany: Isaac Bonga, Dennis Schroder, Paul Zipser

2018 2nd Round pick Isaac Bonga spent plenty of time working on his game in the NBA G League last season with the South Bay Lakers on assignment from the Los Angeles Lakers. The Germany-native averaged 11.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 34.4% shooting from beyond the arc with South Bay during the 2018-19 season. Schroder, an NBA vet, played six games with the Bakersfield Jam during the 2013-14 season, notching 17 points, 6.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game on 47.9% shooting from the field.

Angola: Reggie Moore, Yannis Morin

Angola features two NBA G League alums in Reggie Moore and Yannis Morin. Moore posted 7.7 points, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals in seven games with the Reno Bighorns during the 2014-15 season, while Morin charted 33 games with the Oklahoma City Blue during the 2017-18 NBA G League season, averaging 5.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest.

Philippines: Jordan Clarkson

Before prominence in the NBA, Clarkson played five games with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, now the South Bay Lakers, during the 2014-15 NBA G League season. Clarkson was extremely proficient in those contests, averaging 22.6 points, 7.8 assists and five rebounds per game on 50% shooting from the field. Clarkson will be a leader and key component of the Philippines’ roster.

Serbia: Boban Marjanovic

Before becoming a fan favorite and developing a nationally-renowned friendship with Tobias Harris, Marjanovic played three games with the Austin Spurs during the 2015-15 season. Marjanovic was incredibly efficient in those contests, averaging 23.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game on an absurd 80.5% shooting from the floor.

Canada: Aaron Best, Khem Birch, Chris Boucher, Melvin Ejim, Brady Heslip, Cory Joseph, Duane Notice, Kyle Wiltjer

Tied with Nigeria, Canada has eight NBA G League alums on their roster. Chris Boucher, who became the first player in NBA G League history to win MVP & Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, posted 27.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game on 51% shooting from the field in 28 games with Raptors 905 during the 2018-19 season. He would then win the 2019 NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors. Joseph was also an impressive young star, earning All-NBA G League Second Team and Defensive Team honors during the 2012-13 season after averaging 19.4 points, 5.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game for the Austin Spurs.

Senegal: Mouhammad Faye, Hamady N’diaye, Maurice Ndour, Youssoupha Ndoye

Faye spent important time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers during the 2010-11 season, posting 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and one steal per game in 47 contests. N’diaye has played 51 career NBA G League games, all between 2010 and 2014, with the Dakota Wizards, Maine Red Claws, Iowa Energy, Delaware 87ers and Reno Bighorns.

Australia: Aron Baynes, Mitch Creek, Patty Mills

Baynes, Creek and Mills have all seen playing time in the NBA after spending important stints in the NBA G League. Creek started his season with the Long Island Nets before earning two NBA Call-Ups, with one to the Brooklyn Nets and one to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mills played five games with the Idaho Stampede during the 2009-10 season, averaging 25.6 points, 5.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game on 50% shooting from beyond the arc, while Baynes spent nine games with the Austin Spurs between 2012 and 2013, notching 15.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.4 blocks per contest.

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