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At Long Last, Hornets’ Draft Night Has Arrived

Following several months of scouting and evaluations, leading into weeks of live, in-person workouts, it’s safe to say the Charlotte Hornets have done their homework for the 2022 NBA Draft.

And now, the day where all that time and energy pays off is finally here.

Around 100 players from varying backgrounds, teams and nationalities have made their way into Spectrum Center within the last month, looking to showcase their skills, talents and personalities to Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the Hornets’ front office. Nearly all these prospects worked out for multiple teams during this arduous process, with many reaching upwards of double-digit visits across the league.

Since the NBA Draft Combine in mid-May, the players who worked out in Charlotte competed for a total of 66 different Division I schools and 13 professional teams last season, which includes the NBA G League Ignite and Overtime Elite. Many also took advantage of the NCAA granting an extra year of collegiate eligibility in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and transferred from other programs to close out their careers.

Seventeen countries and six continents were represented, stretching around the globe from North America (United States, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama) to South America (Brazil) to Europe (Austria, France, Slovenia) to Africa (Angola, Cameroon , the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan) to Asia (South Korea) and then Australia. Additionally, clubs from New Zealand, Serbia and Spain were also accounted for.

Each prospect is usually given team apparel from every organization he works out for, which occasionally years down the line, can lead to some memorable – and awkward – what-could-have-been moments. Perhaps the most famous example is the image of Kobe Bryant dawning Boston Celtics gear during a pre-draft workout back in 1996 before going on to win five NBA Championships for the archrival Los Angeles Lakers.

Anyways, after however many visits, the amount of apparel these players accumulate quickly starts to add up. Of those who dropped by Buzz City, a handful shared what they planned to do with all of their new, varying attire.

  • “A lot of it I kind of give away. I’ll probably keep like one or two things from each team and all the other stuff will go to family and friends. I’ve got my own personal collections, but a lot of times, there’s multiple items you get.” – Josh Minott (Memphis)
  • “I’m just holding onto it and whatever team I get drafted to, that’s the gear I’ll keep. For right now, just keeping it and seeing what I do with it when I’m done with all my workouts.” – Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee)
  • “I just leave it behind.” – Mike Foster Jr. (G League Ignite)
  • “It depends. If I have a friend that’s a really big fan of a team, I’ll throw him some workout gear because I’m getting a lot of stuff and my closet is building up with NBA team gear. If I can get rid of some stuff and give it to somebody that wants it, I’m going to do that.” – Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers)
  • “As of right now, I’m keeping it. I haven’t really thought about it yet.” – Mark Williams (Duke)
  • “I’m just keeping it, washing it and then giving it to my older brother.” – Blake Wesley (Notre Dame)
  • “Right now, I’ve just been keeping it because I’ve got nowhere to put it. Once I find out what team I’m going to, I’ll probably start giving it away to other kids. They’ll probably enjoy having it.” – Jaden Hardy (G League Ignite)
  • “Some of the gear I’m giving to friends that are fans of different teams. It’s nice to have some workout gear to bring back. It’s pretty cool to keep something from each team. It’s pretty amazing to be working out for these NBA teams. It’s a dream come true.” – Buddy Boeheim (Syracuse)
  • “I’m keeping my gear for the moment because I don’t know where I’m going to end up. Wherever I end up, I’ll probably give the rest of it away and keep the gear of the team that drafts me.” – Christian Koloko (Arizona)
  • “I would say I’m holding onto most of it. If I get too much from one team, I’ll just give it to family or friends.” – Bryce McGowens (Nebraska)
  • “Sometimes I keep the shorts, but sometimes I give them to my friends or family because I don’t know what team I’m going to be on.” – Malaki Branham (Ohio State)

All these players – from St. Bonaventure’s Jalen (A)daway to Fuenlabrada’s (Ž)iga Samar – will ultimately venture down their own respective basketball paths, whether it’s in the NBA, the G League, Europe or somewhere else in between (a couple even went back to school). A few may even end up at least starting their careers in Charlotte. As for now, we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires tonight and in the coming days.

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