To be the best, you have to play against the best.
Gonzaga senior Kyle Wiltjer and sophomore Domantas Sabonis will have a chance to do just that, as they will represent Gonzaga at the inaugural Nike Basketball Academy.
According to event organizers, the competition features “the top-20 college athletes in the country“. In addition to playing against the best college basketball players, all participants will receive direction from LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Anthony Davis. The event will take place in Santa Monica, California from June 26-30.
Being invited to an event like this is such an honor for this program. Gonzaga is coming off a historic season with a 35-3 record and an Elite Eight appearance. With Wiltjer and Karnowski participating in this event, Gonzaga will solidify themselves as one of the best front courts in the nation next season.
This event will also improve the NBA Draft stocks for both Wiltjer and Sabonis. In a 2016 mock draft, Sabonis is already listed as a top ten lottery pick. While Wiltjer does not appear on the list, his appearance in this event will help improve his draft stock.
Sometimes the best professional employment opportunities come from who you know. In other words: connections. If Wiltjer and Sabonis build a good rapport at the Nike Basketball Academy, their professional basketball careers could further blossom.
While true Gonzaga fans–including myself–want to see Sabonis stay for all four years, we know that he has a good chance of leaving early. Let us enjoy his time at Gonzaga and root for him to be the best he can be.