The FIBA Esports Open has offically kicked off, with the Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia / Oceania, and European conferences all participating in the opening weekend (Dec. 14- Dec. 16). Well-known international players including Gooner, JLB, WelshJordy, Hazza, Rafael, and AveMario, among others, reminded us just how much talent there is overseas.
Germany defeated Great Britain en route to the European Conference Finals, where the team faced off with Turkey, who had just knocked off Italy in the semis. After dominating the first contest, Turkey survived an Italy game two comeback bid, as Eren Demirtas (eventual MVP winner) sank a pair of late-game free-throws to ensure his country’s series sweep. Turkey advanced as the European Conference champion without suffering a single loss.
The upcoming weekend includes FIBA Esports Open action from the America conferences, which are split into two: North & Central America and South America. Over two days, each conference’s bracket will dwindle from 6 teams to just a pair, who will then face off in a best-of-three series to determine the conference winner.
When: December 19, 2020- December 20, 2020
Who: United States, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica (North & Central America Conference)
What: 5-vs-5 NBA 2K21 Pro-Am
There’s no other way to put it: Team USA’s roster has 7 of the best players in the entire world.
Starting with their point guard, JBM just capped off the most successful year-long stretch you could possibly have as a professional NBA 2Ker. No. 1 pick in the NBA 2K League draft, multiple final four appearances (2KL), and the ultimate cherry on top? Hoisting the NBA 2K League’s championship trophy as a rookie, barely six months after making his debut for Wizards District Gaming. Simply put: JBM is a pure winner, and even at the young age of 19, the perfect floor general to lead Team USA to a FIBA Esports Open title.
JBM isn’t the only elite point guard on Team USA’s roster. KennyGotWork, reigning NBA 2K League MVP, literally couldn’t lose last season. He and Raptors Uprising GC went 16-0 during the regular season, setting multiple records, and claiming a pair of tournament banners on the way to a playoff appearance. While Kenny and co. weren’t able to finish the year as champions, Toronto’s point guard is permanently etched in the record books after his 2020-2021 performance (35.2ppg-8.2apg-3.5spg-67%).
Just in case JBM and Kenny weren’t enough backcourt firepower for your liking, Team USA added OriginalMalik to the mix. The Knicks Gaming star plays shooting guard with his own style and flair, often taking matters into his owns hands when his team’s offense needs a kick-start. The ultimate scorer, Malik is comfortable with the ball in his hands, and more than capable of making a play off-ball when his point guard needs. Last season, he led his position in assists per game (4.5) and three-pointers attempted (298), while finishing second in points per game (16.9) and three-pointers made (144).
Up next is another highly-touted prospect from the 2020 draft class: Kings Guard Gaming’s lockdown defender, Crushy. After being selected No. 3 overall last February, Crush immediately made himself known to opposing NBA 2K League point guards. With his addition, along with Shotz and Yusuf, Sacramento developed into one of the most intimidating defenses across the league. Kings Guard Gaming made deep tournament and playoff runs behind this patented defense, falling just short of their championship aspirations. Crush was voted All-NBA 2K League Second Team, also making the Season 3 All-Defensive and All-Rookie Teams.
Joining Crush in the frontcourt is Detroit Pistons GT’s power forward/center, Ramo. Selected fifth overall in the first-ever NBA 2K League draft (2018), Ramo is regarded as a top-tier, elite, all-time NBA 2K player, and one of the best to ever play his position. After being traded back to Detroit (via Pacers Gaming) for Season Three, Ramo averaged 18 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block per game (35 games played).
Next up is Ria, the first overall selection in 2019’s NBA 2K League draft. This past year, Ria helped lead Jazz Gaming to a 14-2 record, finishing the season as an MVP candidate finalist. Utah’s big man earned All-NBA 2K First Team and Season Three All-Defensive honors, posting averages of 15 points, 14 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.4 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game.
Rounding out the squad is ALittleLady, who impressed during Team USA tryouts last month, ultimately earning a roster spot. ALittleLady has qualified for the NBA 2K League draft pool in multiple seasons (one & three), and is expected to see minutes at the center and/or power forward positions.
Team USA’s coaching staff is headed by 76ers GC head coach Jeff Terrell and Pacers Gaming Senior Director of Esports Operations Cody Parrent.
vs. USA: December 19, 12:55 P.M. est.
Guatemala (12/19, 2:05 P.M. est.), Dominican Republic (12/19, 4:30 P.M. est.), Canada (12/19, 6:35 P.M. est.), Honduras (12/20, 3:30 P.M.), Puerto Rico (12/20, 5:15 P.M. est.)
Hector Ortiz (Captain), Juan Carlos Bonilla, Sebastian Aguirre, Nestor Alonzo, Mario Rojas, Carlos Rivera, Manuel Turcios
vs. USA: December 19, 2:05 P.M. est.
Guatemala (12/19, 3:55 P.M. est.), Costa Rica (12/19, 5:05 P.M. est.), Dominican Republic (12/19, 7:05 P.M. est.), Puerto Rico (12/20, 3:30 P.M. est.), Canada (12/20 4:40 P.M. est.)
vs. USA: December 19, 3:20 P.M. est.
Costa Rica (12/19, 1:30 P.M. est.), Guatemala (12/19, 5:05 P.M. est.), Puerto Rico (12/19, 6:35 P.M. est.), Dominican Republic (12/20 3:30 P.M. est.), Honduras (12/20 4:40 P.M. est.)
vs. USA: December 19, 6:00 P.M. est.
Costa Rica (12/19, 3:20 P.M. est.), Puerto Rico (12/19, 4:30 P.M. est.), Honduras (12/19, 7:05 P.M. est.), Canada (12/20 4:40 P.M. est.), Guatemala (12/20 5:50 P.M. est.)
Jefferson Lopez (SoyMelia12), Jandy Anzueto (Jx_Jandvier20), Bryan Rojas (Lossi_DaGoat), Angel Santizo (Nova_AngelSkrrt), Carlos Estrada (Kidd1319), Angel Ceballos (Asura113)
vs. USA: December 19, 7:45 P.M. est.
Puerto Rico (12/19, 2:05 P.M. est.), Honduras (12/19, 3:55 P.M. est.), Canada (12/19, 5:05 P.M. est.), Costa Rica (12/19, 6:35 P.M. est.), Dominican Republic (12/20 5:50 P.M. est.)
Manfred Arrieta (PG), Brandon Westney (PG), Keishmer Foster (SG), Akheem Wilson (SG), Carrick George (PF), Jarod Ugalde (PF), Ruben Alfaro (C)
vs. USA: December 20, 4:05 P.M. est.
Canada (12/19, 1:30 P.M. est.), Dominican Republic (12/19, 3:20 P.M. est.), Hondurasu (12/19, 5:05 P.M. est.), Guatemala (12/19, 6:35 P.M. est.), Puerto Rico (12/20, 5:15 P.M. est.)
#1 (TBD) vs. #2 (TBD); December 20, 6:40 P.M. est.