NBA draft prospect Sidy Cissoko signs with G League Ignite program

Sidy Cissoko, the No. 25 pick in ESPN’s 2023 mock draft, told ESPN that he has signed with the NBA’s G League Ignite program.

“We reviewed several options with my advisors and I was convinced that G League Ignite was the best opportunity to achieve my goals,” Cissoko said Tuesday. “I was won over by this program’s ability to maximize its players’ potential on and off the pitch. Even more so by the tailored development program and the opportunity to begin my transition to the US style of play, the 3-point line and off the pitch Life is an important commodity and I felt like I was a priority during our conversations with the staff.”

The 18-year-old Cissoko, No. 3 of his generation in Europe after compatriots Victor Wembanyama and Rayan Rupert, continues the increasing shift G League Ignite has made in prioritizing international players in the wake of name and image and likeness deals, that have changed the landscape of American and college recruitment.

Cissoko will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Australian Dyson Daniels, who was also due to sign with Ignite a year ago but ended up dramatically increasing his draft inventory and being picked by the New Orleans Pelicans at No. 8 in this year’s draft.

“Dyson shows the G-League’s ability to lift international players,” said Cissoko. “It was interesting to see how he was used on the pitch as we play the same position even though our games are different. He’s had a great season and has improved a lot during his year with Ignite. Improvements and hard work that is what I’m looking for.”

Cissoko joins Scoot Henderson, who was drafted No. 2 for 2023, on Ignite’s roster for the 2022-23 season, as does 6-foot-10 forward Leonard Miller from Canada’s Fort Erie International Academy high school and to Nigerian Efe Abogidi, who was recruited from the NCAA transfer portal from Washington State.

Ignite is eyeing several additional international signings from Europe, the NBA Academy and the US high school system, a source told ESPN. Ignite received an acceptance last month from Lithuanian wing Matas Buzelis, a rising high school senior who will join the program in a year after a season at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita.

Cissoko said that Ignite’s success in recruiting international players makes sense because of the focus on player development.

“This program is tailored to help us achieve our goals,” Sissoko said. “It offers a unique opportunity for on-court development that is ahead of its time compared to most other organizations worldwide with NBA-level coaching – its and more. It gives international players the opportunity to participate in the NBA ecosystem, with NBA presence, which is essential to our promotion.

Cissoko, a 6-foot-7, long-armed guard, stormed onto NBA radar screens at last summer’s FIBA ​​European Under-18 Championship in Tel Aviv, where he demonstrated his fascinating blend of strength, vision and defensive potential. He had several eye-catching performances last season, playing for the second team of Euroleague side Baskonia in LEB Gold, scoring 16 points or more eight times against older professionals at just 17 years old.

Cissoko received an invite to the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland last April, where he had some ups and downs in practice, scrimmage and the official game, but overall he looked like the second-best contender in the World Select alongside future Ignite teammate Leonard Miller -teams out.

Cissoko said the move from Spain’s second division to the G League will present a unique challenge.

“The G League is much more athletic and physical than LEB Gold. The G League players are extremely aggressive and the game is faster,” he said. “Of course staying in Baskonia was an option as the Euroleague is the best league in the world after the NBA and the ACB, the best national league. I am convinced that I could have continued to learn in these leagues.

“However, I felt that embarking on a project that would focus on my individual development and my transition to a different playstyle was the most important thing for my development at this point, while still making the most of what I had in Europe learned to keep.”

Cissoko is currently training with the France U18 national team in preparations for the FIBA ​​European U18 Championship which starts on July 30 in Izmir, Turkey. He is scheduled to join Ignite at their new headquarters in Henderson, Nevada after the event.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all the employees and my future teammates,” he said. “I will have different types of tests in the beginning to create my individual plan and then the work will start. I have spoken to the staff and we agree, the next few months will be about hard work and improvement. My goal being drafted into the top 10 in 2023 and my work ethic is capable of persuading a franchise to pick me I’ve always fought to be an asset in everything I’ve been involved with, it will be too keep it that way next season.”

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA, and international teams. NBA draft prospect Sidy Cissoko signs with G League Ignite program

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