The G League Ignite program is just three years old, but it is turning into a legitimate path for prospects to make their way into the pros.
In the past two drafts, six players from G League Ignite have heard their name called on draft night. And on Thursday, Scoot Henderson became the seventh when the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the No. 3 pick.
Henderson believes his two years with G League Ignite has prepared him well for what’s to come.
I’m the most prepared player in the draft. That’s what I say. The fact that I went there for two years just taught me so much. On the court, as well, but a lot of things off the court. I learned how to be a pro off the court. Just so much time off and just trying to find what to do. I found the hobbies that I like to do. Ignite definitely showed me a lot of things that I wouldn’t get anywhere else. I’m blessed that I did the two years that I did, and I grew so much from it.
Henderson re-classified to the high school class of 2021 from 2022 to get to G League Ignite a year early, and he believes that extra time surrounded around professionals and people who have been around the NBA should give him a leg up on the rest of the rookies coming into the league.
We play against pros every night and guys that killed college, guys that killed overseas, guys that are going up and down in the league, coming down just to play against us, to show that they can dominate draft picks or whatever the case may be. That’s why I always say prepared. We learned a lot of things at the beginning of the season that has nothing to do with skill set, things that go on behind closed doors of basketball, the business of it. Just learned how to be a pro, like I said, on the court and off the court. So it was special. It was a special two years.
Henderson has been a pro for two years, so even though he’s technically considered a “rookie,” he might be closer to a veteran than any other player taken in Thursday’s draft.