Jonathan Kuminga is physically ready to play professionally, should choose next step carefully: Trainer | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / July 5.
  • Jonathan Kuminga is physically ready to play professionally, should choose next step carefully: Trainer

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Jonathan Kuminga is ready to play professionally should he select that option, but he should choose his next step carefully, one of his trainers says.

    The 6-foot-8 Kuminga has yet to announce whether he will play in the NBA G League or on a college campus next season. It is widely expected that he will either choose the G League or Texas Tech, where his brother is on the roster, but playing overseas or attending another school is also a possibility. He listed Auburn, Duke, Kentucky, Texas Tech and the G League as his options.

    “Physically, his body is great; Jon has a pro body,” said David Zenon, who has trained NBA players like Mitchell Robinson, Serge Ibaka and Mason Plumlee and worked with Kuminga and his Patrick School (N.J.) teammates this past season.

    “He could still add some size but in terms of his legs and his body, he’s got a phenomenal base. His jump shot, he has pro range. He has a good understanding of the game. I think the one thing to work on is just getting used to the speed of the game and changing speeds and reading angles because those pockets and those passing lanes are going to get thinner and thinner. But in terms of the physical aspects of his game, he’s pretty talented in that regard.”

    Kuminga is currently training in Miami and was spotted playing pickup with former No. 2 overall pick Michael Beasley as well as Isaiah Todd, who has signed on with the G League along with Jalen Green, Daishen Nix and Kai Sotto. It’s unclear if Todd has been in Kuminga’s ear about the G League route, which is offering six-figure contracts to top prep players.

    Kuminga, who turned 17 on Oct. 6, is currently in the Class of 2021 but has the option of reclassifying to 2020 and has been doing online schoolwork in order to facilitate that process. He would need to have graduated high school and met his requirements to play in the G League.

    The native of the Democratic Republic of Congo is currently projected as the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, per ESPN, with Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham at No. 1.

    Some have argued Kuminga should maintain his high draft status and not expose himself to any risks — physically or perception-wise — by going to college, and that the G League Select Team that will be coached by former NBA coach Brian Shaw might be the best option.

    “I feel like all five scenarios that he could end up in are good for him, just because all four of those [college] programs focus on development and he’ll get the green light, ” Zenon said.

    “And then if he ends up going the G League route, it’s just strictly basketball, like that’s your job now. That’s all he’ll have to worry about and focus on. So in terms of his development, all five are good situations for him.

    “I just also would want him to thoroughly do his homework as to what he would be doing with the G League team with positioning and all that type of stuff. But for him to focus on player development, I think all five are good situations for him.”

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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.