By Zach Leonsis
This past Saturday evening at New York City’s Terminal 5 was an exciting one for us at Monumental Sports & Entertainment. For the first time in our NBA 2K League team’s history, Wizards District Gaming drafted first overall in the league’s third-ever NBA 2K League Draft. We are so excited to not only welcome our #1 overall pick, Jack ‘JBM’ Mascone, but also to welcome Justin ‘Just_awkward’ Howell, Antonio ‘Newdini’ Newman, and Brandon ‘Brich’ Richardson to complement our previously retained players, Ryan ‘DayFri’ Conger and Reese ‘ReeseDaGod’ Delaney. Last year, DayFri proved to be one of the top centers in the entire league and Reese emerged as one of the league’s sharpest shooting scorers too. JBM brings incredible playmaking and scoring ability to Wizards District Gaming at the point guard position, arguably one of the most important positions in the game. We are confident that JBM is the kind of player who will make his teammates better whenever he’s on the floor. Just_awkward brings a great lockdown skillset to the table to help the team shore up its defensive capabilities. Newdini and Brich are both versatile players who can play multiple positions, which will prove to be very useful now that the NBA 2K League will facilitate in-game substitutions. Newdini also brings a couple of years of NBA 2K League experience, having played for 76ersGC, so we are confident that we’ve assembled an experienced team.
Wizards District Gaming’s selections didn’t happen by themselves though. I am incredibly pleased with the preparatory work that our team including Patrick Crossan, Andrew McNeill, and Jordan Zelniker completed alongside Tommy Sheppard, Brett Greenberg, John Thompson III, Dani Medina, Sashi Brown and many more from the Monumental Basketball family. This was a true team effort that included over sixty 30 minute interviews with prospective players, several follow up interviews with our sports psychologist, reviews of hundreds of regression analyses that tracked player performance data, numerous background checks, countless hours of film review, hundreds of dossier readings, and more. Patrick pulled together, quite literally, thousands of data points to assemble what will hopefully prove to be a thoughtful and fruitful list of prospective players, all vying to make it into the NBA 2K League.
The ability for Wizards District Gaming to tap into our Monumental Basketball platform’s resources really can’t be understated. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that some didn’t really believe that our 2KL team would receive counsel from our NBA general manager, Tommy Sheppard, but the team most certainly did. Tommy and his team, which includes Brett Greenberg, were instructive in proper draft day preparation, the key attributes of winning teams, sharing draft day strategies, and much, much more. JTIII worked with our team to build a robust onboarding strategy that will warmly welcome these young athletes into our organization and into our market here in Washington, D.C. Most importantly, John and his team will roll out a plan to assist these young players with becoming world-class professionals regardless of sport. Lastly, Dani and Sashi’s team was instructive in providing the team access to a sports psychologist who assisted with player interviews that lent insights into how prospective players work with teammates, handle stressful situations, achieve their goals, and work towards a shared goal: winning! The Monumental Basketball platform offered full resources to Wizards District Gaming.
Now the real work begins for the team. We are so excited to welcome these players to market and get to work as we hope to compete for an NBA 2K League championship. Stay tuned for updates from Wizards District Gaming by following the team’s accounts on Twitter and Instagram. Wish us luck this season and “Go Wizards DG!”