MYRTLE BEACH – With the NBA Draft slated for late July, draft hopefuls are looking to get as much exposure as possible.
The Myrtle Beach International Combine, held June 13-15 at the John T. Rhodes Myrtle Beach Sports Center, provided just that.
NBA prospects, including players who have just graduated from college, a year after college and abroad, have flocked to show their talent.
It was the first pre-draft event to feature international players in addition to US college players, and with the Portsmouth invitational tournament canceled this year due to COVID-19, all eyes were on Myrtle Beach. The event was aimed more at players who will be chosen in the later stages of the draft, as opposed to lottery picks.
“It went well,” said Pete Mickeal, event manager and scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It went better than expected, especially with our first international combine in Myrtle Beach. We broke records today (June 15) on Twitch TV with 393,000 views, which is incredible for a three day event.
The event was not sanctioned by the NBA, but that didn’t stop Mickeal from realizing his vision.
“All the skeptics, all the people who didn’t want to sanction the event, I think we proved to ourselves that we can have a great event, and I’m very proud of it,” said Mickeal. “I’m very proud that we did it here in Myrtle Beach because my vision was to do it here. I thought this could be a great family vacation for folks to come, and I think it’s going to continue to be a place we come to every year.
In addition to notable players such as NC State’s DJ Funderburk and UNC’s Sterling Manley, the event also hosted popular coaches, such as Sacramento Kings legend Mike Bibby and former Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen.
“Having the coaches here, the coaches of the NBA, that sets us apart from everyone, even from what the NBA does,” said Mickeal. “We are an independent minority owned company and we are very proud of what we have been able to achieve here. “
Mickeal, who has enjoyed a brilliant professional career abroad, has seen 33 college players and six international players participate in his combine. Countries represented included Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, Mexico and Australia.
“It’s never been done in this country,” Mickeal said of bringing university and foreign players together for a combine ahead of the draft. “… Everything we did was innovative and self-sufficient. We’ve never copied anyone’s style, and I think people are going to start using what we have to try and copy what we do, because we’re trendsetters and we’re setting the stage for it. the future. This will be the first pre-draft event.
When asked who he thinks performed well on the combine, Mickael said he was impressed with former Gonzaga star Admon Gilder, BYU’s Brandon Averette and former New Brunswick player. Mexico Corey Manigault.
Mickeal said he is already planning to host the event again next year in Myrtle Beach in early May.