Seven Canadians are among the 229 players eligible for the 2020 NBA 2K League draft on Saturday in New York City.
This year's draft pool includes 24 international video gamers from 10 countries and territories — Canada, Australia, Austria, China, France, Germany, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United Kingdom — and three women.
Twenty-three esports teams, including the expansion Hornets Venom GT and the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai, will take part in the four-round draft.
Canadians qualified for the draft through the NBA 2K League combine are point guard Tyler (Keyy) Stone, shooting guards Moaaz (Mahzzii) Aftab and Destiny (JoshJay) Idugboe and power forwards Ognjen (OneThroughFive) Micic and Brock (NIKO) Nikolakakos.
Thomas (Speedbrook) Genaj and Darrell (Rell) Nowubu qualified through pro-am tournaments.
Wizards District Gaming have the first overall pick, as determined by an October draft lottery. Knicks Gaming go second and Kings Guard Gaming third.
Raptors Uprising GC will pick 11th. After a trade with Shanghai, the team also holds the 27th, 42nd and 52nd picks.
The Raptors Uprising returning veterans are Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey and Jerry (Sick x 973) Knapp.
The 229 draft-eligible players consist of 147 new players selected by the league through the combine, 22 from the 11 team-hosted Pro-Am tournaments, five players from the league's first European Invitational, five players from the league's second Asia-Pacific (APAC) Invitational and 50 unretained players from the 2019 season.
"In addition to the NBA 2K League Combine, we've now added team-hosted tournaments and two international invitationals, all of which give the best NBA 2K players in the world more opportunities to showcase their talent and make the NBA 2K League," NBA 2K League managing director Brendan Donohue said in a statement.
"Congratulations to these elite players who have worked incredibly hard to hear their name called on draft day."
Not everyone will get that, given there are more draft-eligible players than spots available in the league. Teams have retained 70 players from the 2019 season, leaving just 68 roster spots available.
NBA 2K League teams carry six players.
Chiquita Evans, a former college and semi-pro basketball player, became the first woman drafted into the NBA 2K League, going in the fourth round last year to Warriors Gaming, the esports arm of the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
T-Wolves Gaming, the esports affiliate of the Minnesota Timberwolves, won the 2019 NBA 2K League title by defeating 76ers GC in five games.
Knicks Gaming won the inaugural 2018 crown over Heat Check Gaming.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2020.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press