The National Basketball Association has opened a new training centre in Senegal.
The facility in Saly, which features two indoor courts, dormitories and educational facilities, will look to develop a new generation of African players for the league.
The centre is part of the NBA’s elite scouting and training programme which selects the best prospects from local federations across Africa to attend the NBA Academy Africa. So far, three graduates from the academy have committed to play at Division 1 colleges in the US since it opened last year.
“This facility will provide aspiring players from across the continent with state-of-the-art courts and training equipment, under the tutelage of our NBA coaches and our world class academic staff,” said Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s vice-president and managing director for Africa.
The NBA Academy Africa is operated in partnership with the SEED Project (Sports for Education and Economic Development), a non-profit organisation that uses basketball to engage youth in academic, athletic and leadership programs.
Since October 2016, NBA Academies have been launched in Australia, India, Mexico and multiple cities in China.
In a recent interview with SportBusiness, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said the NBA believes in a ‘pyramid model’ for the sport in which the priority was to expose as many people in different markets as possible to the game at a young age.
“We know that for most die-hard fans of the NBA there are a couple of things they have in common: they all play basketball and they all played basketball before the time they were twelve years old,” he said.