WASHINGTON, June 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- After a three-year hiatus, the Washington Generals have been scouting potential prospects all across the basketball landscape as it begins to take shape. With its return to the court only a few weeks away, the team held its first-ever player draft.
The Generals added six talented names, highlighted by the basketball braggadocio himself, LaVar Ball, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, UFC and MMA star Conor McGregor, NFL bad boy Ndamukong Suh, and two recent standout college basketball players -- Tyler Livingston, who was in the top 20 in Division 1 for personal fouls in 2016-17, and guard Joe Nickerson from the University of the District of Columbia, who led his team in points.
"We were looking to add talent through the draft that brings an edge and attitude," said Generals head coach Sam Worthen. "I think the six people we drafted today all have the drive to win and want to show the world the Washington Generals are back in a big way."
Behind the leadership team of Worthen – the former NBA player and all-American at Marquette University – and NBA television analyst, Kenny "The Jet" Smith, the Generals are looking to make a splash right out of the gate. The team opens play next month in The Basketball Tournament (TBT), making a bid to win the $2 million grand prize after receiving an at-large bid to get into the field.
In conjunction with their return to basketball, the Generals launched a new website and conducted today's draft via its social media account on Twitter (@TheGenerals), where the team added some heavy-hitters.
"Anyone who calls out Michael Jordan to a one-on-one game has got to be on my team," added Worthen, referring to Ball's claims this past spring. "He truly is one the great trash-talkers in sports. The Generals need a player with more smack than skill."
Here's a closer look at the Generals draftees:
- LaVar Ball, a former NFL practice squad player, attended Canoga Park High School in Los Angeles before playing one season of college basketball at Washington State, where he averaged 2.2 points per game. He finished his college career at Cal State-Los Angeles. The 48-year-old, known for his hyperbolic interviews, has three sons who are all standout basketball players, including his oldest son Lonzo, who could be an NBA lottery draft pick later this week.
- Tyler Livingston began his four-year career as a walk-on at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. The 6-6 forward led his team in personal fouls this past season with 110, which ranked in the top-5 among all seniors nationally in the NCAA. Livingston logged 19 games with four-or-more fouls in 2016-17, including eight disqualifications. The New Hampshire native started 57-of-113 career games for the River Hawks, recording 284 career fouls.
- Ryan Lochte is a 12-time Olympic medalist as a swimmer who currently holds the world record in the 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter individual medley. The 32-year-old generated international controversy when he falsely claimed that he and three other American swimmers had been pulled over and robbed by armed robbers with police badges while in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
- Conor McGregor is the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, and at age 28 has proven to be one of the world's top fighters – regardless of the style. The Irish-born McGregor began as a boxer before moving into MMA fighting. A top-flight trash-talker inside the octagon and out, he pulled in the biggest pay-per-view draw in MMA history and is expected to set records when he steps into the boxing ring for the first time as a professional on August 26, when he challenges Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas.
- Joe Nickerson was the standout for the University of the District of Columbia's Firebirds, where he lead the team in points per game (20.2), rebounds per game (7.3), steals per game (3.2), and 3-point percentage (39.6). Before his final two years in the nation's capital, Nickerson was a standout at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey, after starring at Barringer High School in Newark.
- Ndamukong Suh is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL as a member of the Miami Dolphins. His aggressive style of play has cost him thousands of dollars in fines by the NFL for player-safety violations and lack of sportsmanship. Suh was a three-sport star at Grant High School in Portland (where the school's mascot was also the Generals), where he earned all-league honors in hoops.
The Generals will play their first game in The Basketball Tournament on July 8th in Charlotte, N.C. at Queens University in the South Division. From there, the Generals will attempt to move on to the Super 16 in New York (July 20-23) for a chance to qualify for the semifinals (August 1) and championship (August 3) in Baltimore. All TBT games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks, with the national semifinals and championship game being shown on ESPN in primetime.
For tickets and more information on how to follow the Generals at The Basketball Tournament, visit: http://www.thetournament.com.
About the Washington Generals
The Washington Generals have been around as a franchise since 1952. Founded by the legendary Louis "Red" Klotz, who was a member of the 1948 NBA Champion Baltimore Bullets, the Generals were the Harlem Globetrotters' opposition team for nearly six decades. As an Army veteran, Klotz named the team the Washington Generals in honor of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had just been elected President of the United States. The Generals franchise has lost well over 17,000 games to the Globetrotters but has not been without its triumphs. They defeated the Globetrotters in 1954 and 1958, and against on Jan. 5, 1971 – thanks to a last-second basket by Klotz himself. That 100-99 win over the Globetrotters in Martin, Tenn. snapped a 2,495-game losing streak to the team. Klotz passed away in 2014 at 93, but his legacy lives on as the "new" Generals will renew their rivalry with the Globetrotters later this year. For more information, check out www.washingtongenerals.com or follow on Twitter: @TheGenerals.
About THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT (TBT)
Conceived by CEO Jon Mugar as the ultimate opportunity for fans, athletes, and social media mavens to live out their dreams and chase once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, TBTs foundation as a high-stakes, professionally and organized event, now sees it entering its fourth year. In each of its first three seasons, The Basketball Tournament drew over 400 team entries from around the country, with participants ranging from professional players and recent college stars to pickup basketball players and people who have never played above high school. This year, teams will be competing for a winner-take-all prize of more than $2 million, with the networks of ESPN once again airing all games beginning with the regional rounds through the semifinals and final in Baltimore on August 1 and 3. For more information, check out www.thetournament.com.
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