The Long Island Nets held their annual local player tryouts over the weekend, with prospective G-Leaguers hailing from both Brooklyn and Long Island hoping for a shot on the squad, a rung on the ladder to their goal, an NBA job.
On Saturday, the tryout took place in Brooklyn, moving to Long Island Sunday. The scene was one of, well, anxiety:
A couple dozen basketball players warm up on the LIU Post campus gym with coaches and front office members detail the sidelines, watching. What are they looking for? As Long Island’s new head coach Adam Caporn put it:
“Competitiveness is right up there, and being a great teammate. So you know we’re looking for skill and talent, but ultimately, we’re gonna have some games out there today [want to] see people that can work together and someone that can connect the group and support them and find a way to win.”
The tryouts mark the unofficial beginning of the G-League season for Long Island, and GM Matt Riccardi took the opportunity to outline the goals for the year for Brooklyn’s B-Team:
“I think for us, our goals are always the same in terms of Long Island. We try our best to develop our players and our staff, and give them every opportunity to succeed and make sure that we’re doing everything possible that we can to become a, you know, streamline between Brooklyn and Long Island.”
But for Riccardi, who is also Director of Scouting Operations with Brooklyn, it all comes back to the big goal for the Nets organization: “We’re trying to be the, you know, the best version of ourselves in order to help Brooklyn achieve their goals of winning the championship.”
After some group stretching and drills, players split up into groups for 5-on-5s. After an hour of careful evaluation, 12 players were asked to stay behind for the final game. Among those twelve was Jimmy Hilton, who has attended tryouts for other teams in past years, including the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
Hilton, a 6’10” center with a smooth stroke from outside the paint, voiced the team-first mentality oozing throughout the gym. “I mean, play hard every time, play smart, play with my teammates, you know, do the best that I do.” He said. “I just try to make my team better.”
Another player who made the final scrimmage — which went to sudden-death overtime, for those wondering — was the 6’10”, high flying, Lester Prosper. Prosper, 33, most recently played in the Indonesian basketball league but told NetsDaily he is looking to reconnect with his local roots in Long Island after attending the State University of New York College at Old Westbury and playing Division 3 ball.
Four players from Long Island’s last local player tryouts in 2019 – Joe Cremo, Jonathan Kasibabu, Angel Nunez and Ash Yacoubou – eventually made their way onto the Long Island Nets roster at various points during the 2019-20 season. As the Long Island website proudly notes, Kasibabu appeared in 36 of the team’s 42 games during his full season with the team, making 26 starts.
Long Island’s training camp begins on October 25th, with the season tipping off on November 6th. Between then and now, few of that final 12 will get the call or text to show up that day.