Sidy Cissoko, the No. 25 prospect in the ESPN 2023 mock draft, informed ESPN that he has signed with the NBA’s G League Ignite program.
“We explored a number of choices with my brokers and I used to be satisfied G League Ignite was one of the best alternative to attain my objectives,” Cissoko stated Tuesday. “The power of this program to maximise the potential of its gamers on and off the court docket satisfied me. Much more, the tailored improvement program and alternative to start out my transition to the US sport model, Three-point line and off-court life is a key asset. I felt throughout our conversations with the workers that I used to be a precedence.”
The 18-year-old Cissoko, the No. Three-ranked prospect in his era in Europe after fellow Frenchmen Victor Wembanyama and Rayan Rupert, continues an rising shift that G League Ignite have made in prioritizing worldwide gamers within the wake of identify, picture and likeness offers which have altered the panorama of American and faculty recruiting.
Cissoko will try to observe within the footsteps of Australian Dyson Daniels, who was equally projected upon signing with Ignite a yr in the past however ended up boosting his draft inventory dramatically and was chosen No. eight total on this yr’s draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.
“Dyson exhibits the power of the G League to get worldwide gamers drafted excessive,” Cissoko stated. “It was attention-grabbing to see how he was used on the court docket, as we play the identical place, although our video games are totally different. He had a fantastic season and improved lots throughout his yr with Ignite. Enhancements and laborious work are what I’m searching for.”
Cissoko joins projected 2023 draft No. 2 choose Scoot Henderson on Ignite’s roster for the 2022-23 season, in addition to 6-foot-10 ahead Leonard Miller from Canadian highschool Fort Erie Worldwide Academy and Nigerian Efe Abogidi, who was recruited out of the NCAA switch portal from Washington State.
Ignite is eyeing a number of further worldwide signings from Europe, the NBA Academy and the U.S. highschool system, a supply informed ESPN. Ignite landed a dedication final month from Lithuanian wing Matas Buzelis, a rising highschool senior who will be part of this system in a yr’s time after a season with Dawn Christian Academy in Wichita.
Cissoko stated Ignite’s success recruiting worldwide gamers is sensible as a result of focus it locations on participant improvement.
“This program is tailored to assist us to attain our aims,” Sissoko stated. “It supplies a novel alternative for on-court improvement which is forward of its time in comparison with most different organizations worldwide with NBA-level teaching. The off-court improvement they supplied was interesting as effectively with the concentrate on life abilities, training, well-being and extra. It offers a possibility for worldwide gamers to be concerned within the NBA ecosystem, with NBA publicity, which is crucial to selling us.”
Cissoko, a 6-foot-7, long-armed guard, burst onto the NBA radar screens eventually summer season’s FIBA U18 European Championship in Tel Aviv, the place he demonstrated his intriguing mix of energy, court docket imaginative and prescient and defensive potential. He had a number of eye-opening performances this previous season enjoying for Euroleague workforce Baskonia’s second workforce in LEB Gold, scoring 16 factors or extra eight instances towards older professionals at simply 17 years outdated.
Cissoko earned an invitation to the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland this previous April, the place he had some ups and downs in practices, scrimmages and the official sport, however total seemed just like the World Choose workforce’s second-best prospect alongside future Ignite teammate Leonard Miller.
Cissoko stated the transition from the Spanish second division to the G League will present a novel problem.
“The G League is far more athletic and bodily than LEB Gold. G League gamers are extraordinarily aggressive, and the sport is quicker,” he stated. “Clearly, staying in Baskonia was an choice because the Euroleague is one of the best league on this planet after the NBA and the ACB, one of the best nationwide league. I’m satisfied that I might have additionally continued to study in these leagues.
“Nonetheless, I felt that at the moment crucial factor for my improvement was to embrace a venture that’s centered on my particular person improvement and my transition to a distinct sport model, whereas protecting one of the best of what I had realized in Europe.”
Cissoko is at the moment coaching with the French under-18 nationwide workforce in its preparations for the FIBA U18 European Championship, which begins on July 30 in Izmir, Turkey. He is slated to affix Ignite at their new headquarters in Henderson, Nevada, after the occasion.
“I am wanting ahead to assembly all of the workers and my future teammates,” he stated. “I’ll have totally different sort of checks to start with to construct my particular person plan, after which the work will begin. I mentioned with the workers and we’re on the identical web page, the subsequent months are about laborious work and enchancment. My objective is to be drafted within the prime 10 in 2023, and my work ethic has the power to persuade a franchise to select me. I at all times fought to be an asset in every part I used to be concerned in, it’s going to stay the identical subsequent season.”
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft skilled and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a non-public scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and Worldwide groups.