Jonathan Kuminga exploring professional options, including Australian NBL | Zagsblog
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Sunday / July 5.
  • Jonathan Kuminga exploring professional options, including Australian NBL

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Jonathan Kuminga and his camp are exploring professional options for the 2020-21 season, including the NBA G League and potentially playing in the Australian NBL.

    The 6-foot-8 forward recently graduated from The Patrick School (N.J.) and thus accelerated his clock to be eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft. He’s currently projected as the No. 4 pick in 2021, per ESPN.com.

    Kuminga recently told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi on a podcast his ultimate goal was “To get to the NBA, play at the highest level and go out there and compete.”

    On May 22, he released a list of his top five options, including four schools — Auburn, Duke, Kentucky and Texas Tech — as well as the G League.

    He will reportedly announce his decision on Monday.

    The Australian NBL is also a possibility for Kuminga, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo who is cousins with Utah Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Kuminga has been training in Miami recently.

    “We understand he is exploring a number of different options and we believe the NBL is one of those,” a league spokesman told ZAGSBLOG.

    Americans LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton played in Australia last season and are both now projected lottery picks in this year’s draft slated for Oct. 15.

    Still, it is thought that staying in the U.S. is the more likely option for Kuminga — either in the G League or spending a year on campus.

    The G League has already doled out six-figure contracts for American prep players Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix, as well as 7-foot-2 Kai Sotto of the Phillippines.

    Now that Kuminga has graduated high school, the G League is a viable option.

    “At this point this is for high school guys that have timed out of high school,” G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim told me in April. “He has to have finished his high school requirements first. We’re not looking to take juniors in high school at this point.”

    It is also possible Kuminga could spend a one-and-done season on a college campus, with Texas Tech the most likely option. His older brother, Joel Ntambwe, a 6-8 forward, will be eligible at Texas Tech this season after sitting out upon transferring from UNLV. They also have a younger brother, Daniel Ntambwe, a Class of 2023 shooting guard at Beckley (W.V.) Prep.

    Texas Tech has assembled another impressive roster under coach Chris Beard, with the additions of transfers Mac McClung (Georgetown) and Marcus Santos-Silva (VCU) as well as a strong recruiting class headlined by Prolific Prep (CA) guard Nimari Burnett.

    “I’m definitely trying to stay in contact with [Kuminga], knowing that I love to play with good players,” Burnett told ZAGSBLOG in April. “It has shown over the few years I’ve been on the team. Definitely, if we get him it would be really good for Texas Tech and really good for us as a team to make an even better, longer run in March Madness.”

    This post has been updated to include his reported announcement on June 22.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.