The nearly 100 banners lining the walls of the Impact Basketball Academy on Sunset Road speak for themselves. On each is a last name and a number representing an NBA success story that Impact owner Joe Abunassar and his staff helped write.
Now the Impact gym is filled with new players hoping to earn a spot on those walls.
For a 15th year, Abunassar—well known in the league for his work with such stars as Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups—is training NBA draft hopefuls in the weeks leading up to the late-June event.
Among the 25 former college standouts working out at Impact are Syracuse’s Dion Waiters (a likely lottery pick), Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie, Washington’s Terrence Ross, Iona’s Scott Machado and Xavier’s Tu Holloway.
Some will become first-round draft picks, making them instant millionaires. Others will go later in the draft and have to fight for roster spots next season. Some won’t get drafted at all.
“I think that maybe the best success stories are the guys who didn’t get drafted,” Abunassar said.
Looking at those banners, one of those success stories stands out: Jeremy Lin. A one-time undrafted free agent, the former Impact student hit it big this season, when, before a season-ending knee injury, he came out of nowhere to spark the struggling New York Knicks to a playoff berth.
Time will tell if the next Lin is among those quietly chasing a dream this summer on Sunset.