Sidy Cissoko will become the first European to play in G-League Ignite

Cock-a-doodle Doo ! Barely the 2022 Draft passed that we are already starting to salivate over the 2023 edition. There will of course be Victor Wembanyama, but also Sidy Cissoko. The latter is also at the top of the bill today, since he will officially be the first European to play in the G-League Ignite team next season. This training offered by the NBA and specially dedicated to young prospects aiming for the Draft is a good springboard to the big leagues… But by the way, who is Sidy Cissoko really?

For the 2023 vintage of the NBA Draft, the straight line is still infinitely long, as Julien Febreau would say. In a year, a lot can happen, from injuries to poor performance. From our French eyes, it is also complicated to evoke this deadline without placing the name of Victor Wembanyama in the sentence. The 18-year-old pivot ignites all NBA scouts, who have simply never seen a prospect with such potential. If the names of the other Frenchies planning to present themselves next year are likely to settle during the fall and winter, one of them is already known. This is Sidy Cissoko, an 18-year-old point guard for two meters straight. « Eh ? But who is it ? We don’t know him!“. The boy’s story is quite a singular one, so we’ve chosen to once again recall our dear teacher and Draft expert – Sebastiano Drafto – to tell you a little more about Sidy’s journey.

Sebastiano Drafto : Hello everyone, are you well ? It seems that my last passage here on the Draft was useful to you. So, Sidy is that it? Let’s start from the beginning. Born in Essonne – in the Paris region – Sidy Cissoko started playing basketball very early. At the same time, aim for the family of basketball players: the dad is Yakia Cissoko, a member of the Senegalese basketball team at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. The brother? Boukhary Cissoko, brand new player from Kaysersberg (NM1). In other words, basketball is in their genes. Finally, all the same, if you had to “just” grow up in a family of basketball players to be a beast in the field, it would be known. Sidy has therefore worked a lot to get here.

TT : Alright, we understand better. But how come his career so far hasn’t been so publicized if he’s so talented?

SD : After his debut in the Parisian suburbs, Sidy quickly made the choice to work on his game abroad. Spotted by Baskonia, a club located as its name suggests in the Basque Country, the decision was made to move to the green pastures of the Pyrenean foothills to benefit from quality training. Having crossed all the youth categories of the team based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, he is sent this season to the satellite club of Baskonia, Iraurgi SB. The first formation of the ISB evolves in LEB Oro, the second Spanish division. You may think the adaptation was complicated. Nay, bunch of arrogant scoundrels. With 10.8 points, 3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, the young Parisian impresses with ease. There are even matches that tickle the twenty or so units on the counter, so understand that it’s no joke. In the game ? He is a good wide shooter and capable of being powerful in percussion, to finish in the circle. His vista is also worth noting, since he regularly treats his teammates with nice passes. Defensively, his measurements allow him to be a real headache for opposing leaders. It’s cool isn’t it?

TT : Thank you for this light. It’s true that thinking about it, we had already talked about Sidy Cissoko when he was invited to the Hoop Summit 2022. Why did you choose the G-League Ignite and not stay in Europe, which more is in a prestigious club like Baskonia? And then first, what is the G-League Ignite?

SD : Hey, you ask a lot of questions at the same time. I will answer the second first, so that you understand. In a few words, the G-League Ignite is a program launched by the NBA in 2020 to develop some of the best prospects of each generation. The objective of these young people? Be chosen in the Draft at the end of the season. As you can imagine, this program does not choose its members at every street corner. To achieve this, you have to be considered one of the best players in your age group. The team also offers you a salary, which is the main difference with playing for a university. Of course, there is no question either of completely abandoning school for young people as young as 19 years old. A partnership exists with the University of Arizona to provide courses for young people integrated into the program. Everything is well calculated you see. And it allows these youngsters to play against pros, some even commuting with the NBA.

Regarding Sidy’s choice to finish his basketball training in the United States, it is first of all strategic. First of all, let’s welcome the novelty: Sidy is the first European to be selected to join this training. What better symbol than this to attest to the rigorous work provided by the young man? He will now be able to prepare for the NBA game by being almost confronted with it from the inside through his antechamber. For a young person who has been educated in the purest European style when it comes to the orange ball, admit that this will be very useful. In addition, the Ignite team is also made up of veterans who have played on Great League floors in their careers and who can advise Sidy and help him progress. For NBA scouts, it’s also much easier to get to a G-League game than to cross the ocean to the Basque Country. In addition, the Espelette pepper does not go through customs, it seems.

TT : You have a stain on your polo shirt.

SD : Ah yes, it’s the curry rice for lunch… Excuse me. Damn, this thing never goes away.

TT : Last question before letting you resume your work. Is G-League Ignite a proven program so far?

SD : Hahaha. I was waiting for this question. Imagine that yes, the prospects passed by the Ignite team have often managed to make their way into the NBA. For two years and therefore the launch of this project, no less than six players who have gone through this mode of training have heard their names resonate in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Who are they ? Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Isaiah Todd in 2021, Dyson Daniels, MarJon Beauchamp and Jaden Hardy in 2022. All were selected before the fortieth position. The proof that this program is rather effective.

TT : Thank you for this information, Mr Drafto.

SD : The pleasure is mine. Say, don’t you know a good white laundry stain remover?

Another case smoothly led by Professor Sebastiano Drafto. As for Sidy Cissoko, the honor is great since he opens the door of the G-League Ignite to Europeans. It’s up to him to prove now that this selection is not a mistake, but on our side, we are not worried.

Source texte : Pro Ballers



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