When Josh Giddey arrived at the NBA Academy in Canberra, Australia, he possessed much of the skills often seen in elite-level prospects but it was his time there that brought his game to the next level in 2019.
Now, Giddey is on the verge of becoming the first player from the program to be drafted to the NBA.
The NBA Academy, which was started in 2016, is a year-round basketball development program that provides the top high school-age prospects from outside the United States the necessary tools to unlock their skills on and off the court.
Prospects face off against the top competition from around the world throughout the year. They have the opportunity to be selected for travel teams that play in international tournaments and exhibition games in front of college coaches and NBA scouts.
Players’ off-court development is just as important as their on-the-court progress.
“There is nothing more common than wasted potential,” said Marty Clarke, the technical director of the NBA Global Academy in Australia. “One of our jobs is to make sure we fill those gaps that they have, whether it’s an individual skill, basketball IQ or competitive drive. Sometimes, it’s dealing with the media. Some guys mess up dealing with the media.
There is a whole range of things that can trip young people up. Our job is to identify that early. We’re in a lucky position. We’re not here to make money out of it. Our goal is to not win championships because both of those things impede development. Our overall goal when they leave is they need to be able to do two things: Look after themselves off the floor and coach themselves on the floor.
With Giddey, the staff in Canberra saw a prospect that could flourish on the court and he did just that.
On the international stage, Giddey emerged as one of the top players in the competition. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2020 Torneo Junior Ciutat de L’Hospitalet after averaging 11.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists to lead the NBA Academy to the championship in Barcelona.
Following his impressive outing in Spain, Giddey took part in the Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp during All-Star Weekend last year in Chicago. Giddey once again was one of the best players to participate after earning All-Star honors in front of NBA scouts and executives.
The international tournaments each year provides scouts and executives a tremendous opportunity to evaluate prospects in a competitive setting. The practice environment can only offer so much on tape, which makes those international events highly beneficial.
“With any player, there is a certain amount of evaluation you can do onsite but there is also a certain amount you almost need to get during competition and see what you have in a live game,” said Chris Ebersole, the NBA senior director of