ATLANTA, June 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The world famous Harlem Globetrotters today held their 12th annual player draft, selecting a wide array of talented prospects that includes three standout collegiate players –including the son of a Globetrotters legend—as well as a soccer player from Manchester United and the French national team, and the world's strongest man (literally).
In all, the Globetrotters selected five players, led by Lou Dunbar IIof Oklahoma City University, son of legendary Globetrotters showman and current coach Sweet Lou Dunbar. They also selected 2018 College Slam Dunk Champion Joseph Kilgore of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; point guard Lili Thompson of NCAA women's national champion Notre Dame; Manchester United and French national soccer team midfielder Paul Pogba, a passionate basketball fan; and Thor Björnsson, the reigning "World's Strongest Man" winner, a "Game of Thrones" actor and a former Icelandic pro basketball player.
"The Globetrotters have always been open-minded about who plays for us, as well as who we select in our draft," said Sweet Lou Dunbar, who is also the Globetrotters' longtime director of player personnel. "Having exciting players who can electrify fans with their athletic ability is obviously great, but our players need to be more than that, too. This year's group of draftees really fits the bill on what we look for."
Following is a full recap of the Globetrotters' draftees:
Thor Björnsson, who is 6-9, this year became the first person in the world to capture the World's Strongest Man, Europe's Strongest Man and the Arnold Strongman Classic in the same year. He is also an actor who portrays Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane on HBO's "Game of Thrones." Prior to his strongman and acting careers, he played professional basketball in Iceland's Division I and also spent two years with Iceland's junior national team, ultimately leaving the sport at age 20 due to a recurring ankle injury.
Lou Dunbar II, the son of Globetrotters legend Sweet Lou Dunbar, is a 6-3 guard who earned All-Sooner Athletic Conference honors for Oklahoma City University this past season. As a junior, he racked up nine games with 22-or-more points, including a 50-point outing against the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) where Dunbar shot 11-of-14 from three-point range. The Houston native shot better than 40-percent from three-point range in each of his four seasons.
Joseph Kilgore, the 2018 national slam dunk champion during Final Four Weekend, finished third in the Southland Conference in scoring as a senior with 18.3 points per game. The 6-5 guard also recorded the first triple-double in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi history this year, notching 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Houston Baptist. Kilgore, who hails from Houston, also notched his career high of 36 points against Houston Baptist in the last game of the regular season.
Paul Pogba, 6-3, is one of the top offensive soccer players in the world and leads France into World Cup competition this year. He is also a passionate basketball fan with a smooth jump shot, as evidenced by his Instagram video of him swishing a jumper over Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embid last summer that's received more than 2.7 million views, though his club team Manchester United reportedly banned him from playing basketball last year so that he would stay healthy. He also posted a hoops video that included the Globetrotter's official theme music, "Sweet Georgia Brown."
Lili Thompson played a key role at point guard for Notre Dame last season, leading the team in steals (1.6 per game) and ranking sixth in the Atlantic Coast Conference in assists (4.6 per game) before suffering a season-ending torn left ACL. She previously played three seasons at Stanford, serving as team captain as a junior and averaging 14.6 points per game. Thompson made 96 career starts and scored over 1,000 points for the Cardinal. The Texas native earned her bachelor's degree at Stanford and a master's degree in management last month from Notre Dame.
Past draftees by the team have included future Globetrotters, as well as high-profile celebrities and sports figures who are excellent examples of what the Harlem Globetrotters are all about – fun, entertaining, and family-friendly basketball.
Five current Globetrotter players have arrived on the roster as draft picks: Anthony "Ant" Atkinson (2007), Tay "Firefly" Fisher and William "Bull" Bullard (2008), Corey "Thunder" Law (2013), and Devan "Beast" Douglas (2016). Celebrity picks have ranged from all walks of life, from international and domestic superstars (Tim Howard in 2009, Lionel Messi in 2011, and Neymar Jr. in 2016), Olympic champions (Usain Bolt in 2012, and Missy Franklin in 2016), baseball icons (Mariano Rivera in 2013, and Aaron Judge in 2017), and Hollywood icons (Kevin Hart in 2016).
The Harlem Globetrotters® are legendary worldwide, synonymous with one-of-a-kind family entertainment and great basketball skills for the past 92 years. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 123 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans – among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents – over nine thrilling decades. The American Red Cross is the official charity of the Harlem Globetrotters. Sponsored by Entenmann's ® Donuts, Ticket Galaxy, Tum-e Yummies and Baden Sports, Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, visit the Globetrotters' official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com and follow them on Twitter @Globies.