Top Chinese prospect Fanbo Zeng signs with G League Ignite, eyes 2022 NBA draft

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Fanbo Zeng, earlier the No. 33 prospect in the ESPN class of 2022, explained to ESPN on Wednesday that he has signed with the NBA’s G League Ignite plan and will declare for the 2022 NBA draft.

“This is the most effective and speediest way to turn into a pro, and also get better each day,” Zeng told ESPN. “This was the very best conclusion I could make whilst I was in China. I’m not expressing the NCAA is just not fantastic — just that the G League is the greatest way for me.”

Zeng put in a few a long time participating in higher school basketball in Oregon and Florida but returned to China at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, at first committing to Gonzaga in excess of scholarship features from Florida Point out, Florida, Virginia Tech and other people ahead of electing to pursue the professional route. He suggests he has grown 2 inches in the earlier 18 months and now stands 6-foot-11, though weighing 198 pounds.

Regardless of becoming beforehand labeled as a high university senior in the United States, Zeng currently has done his coursework to graduate high faculty, agent Jiacheng Roman Liu informed ESPN, generating him suitable to enter the 2022 draft, which he designs to do.

Zeng arrived at the G League Ignite practice facility in Walnut Creek, California, past week and will be cleared quickly for are living action.

Zeng is a single of the most promising prospective clients to arrive out of China in some time, garnering significant notice for his superior-flying ending means and 3-stage taking pictures. He averaged 15.5 details, 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.1 helps for each game at Windermere Prep higher college outside the house Orlando, Florida, as a sophomore in 2019-20, taking pictures 47% from 3-stage assortment and establishing himself as a possible 5-star recruit.

Acquiring arrived in Oregon as a 14-12 months old, Zeng suggests that obtaining used considerably of his higher faculty vocation in the U.S. will help simplicity his transition to Ignite.

“That adjusted every thing for me — discovering how to play with and from other athletic players,” he reported. “In substantial school, I defended every person: guards, forwards and even huge adult males. I can healthy in any crew due to the fact I take open shots, locate teammates and make superior selections with the ball. Developing 2 inches has served me leap increased and strengthen my protection and rebounding.”

NBA scouts will be permitted to appraise practices for the G League Ignite starting Thursday, a workforce official advised ESPN. Ignite has four gamers now rated in the ESPN 100: Jaden Hardy (No. 3), Dyson Daniels (No. 15), Michael Foster (No. 31) and MarJon Beauchamp (No. 53). That doesn’t contain Zeng, who was not earlier regarded as a applicant to join this upcoming draft class.

Ignite also has 17-yr old Scoot Henderson, arguably the top rated American prospect in the 2023 NBA draft class, in the fold for the next two years. The group has introduced a 25-game schedule comprising exhibition games against G League groups and participation in the G League Showcase Cup.

Zeng claims the G League Ignite was carefully adopted in China previous yr even with out the existence of a neighborhood participant, a aspect that now will definitely amplify the amount of money of consideration the NBA’s rather new application gets in a person of the most important media marketplaces on the planet.

“Everybody in China paid out consideration to Ignite very last year,” Zeng explained. “They adore it. We were being in a position to look at all the G League video games and replays. Ignite helped Jalen Inexperienced and Jonathan Kuminga grow to be execs.”

Only two Chinese gamers have been drafted in the past 15 many years, with Zhou Qi getting the previous participant to set foot on an NBA flooring, in 2018. Growing the visibility of the NBA in China is a major precedence moving ahead, league officers have told ESPN.