Basketball

Jonathan Kuminga Chooses G-League Over Texas Tech; Joel Ntambwe’s Status Unclear

Good luck Jonathan!

As most people thought, the consensus #1 player of the 2021 class, who has recently reclassified for the 2020 class, Jonathan Kuminga (6-8/205) has chosen to play in the G-League rather than play with his older brother, Joel Ntambwe.

For all intents and purposes, Kuminga was down to Texas Tech and playing professionally, with interest in Duke, Auburn, and Kentucky waning over the past few weeks.

The obvious draw for Kuminga and Texas Tech was that he would have played with his brother for a year. Not only that, but Texas Tech Chris Beard has a reputation, however short it may be, of sending players to the first round of the NBA, Zhaire Smith in 2018, Jarrett Culver in 2019, and perhaps Jahmi’us Ramsey this year.

As most people thought, the consensus #1 player of the 2021 class, who has recently reclassified for the 2020 class, Jonathan Kuminga (6-8/205) has chosen to play in the G-League rather than play with his older brother, Joel Ntambwe.

Adam Zagoria was the first to break the news:

For all intents and purposes, Kuminga was down to Texas Tech and playing professionally, with interest in Duke, Auburn, and Kentucky waning over the past few weeks.

The obvious draw for Kuminga and Texas Tech was that he would have played with his brother for a year. Not only that, but Texas Tech Chris Beard has a reputation, however short it may be, of sending players to the first round of the NBA, Zhaire Smith in 2018, Jarrett Culver in 2019, and perhaps Jahmi’us Ramsey this year.

The other issue is that Joel Ntambwe’s status is a bit unknown right now. Chris Beard confirmed on a podcast yesterday, Fullcourt Press with Fanta and Adams (transcribed by Zagoria):

His older brother, the 6-8 Ntambwe, has been training in Miami with Kuminga and has reportedly not been on campus this summer at Texas Tech after sitting out last season as a transfer from UNLV. It remains unclear where he will spend the upcoming season.

Asked about Ntambwe’s status by John Fanta of the Big East and Fullcourt Press, Beard said: “Yeah, I don’t have a lot of update right now with Joel. It’s a popular question now, and obviously is [having his] decision time.

“What I can tell you with Joel is, he’s a great big brother to his younger brother. It’s been pretty cool to watch him, how he takes care of his family so what we’re wishing for here is really simple. We just hope that his brother makes the best decision for him and things work out for Joel as well.”

This would be a significant downgrade for Texas Tech if Ntambwe doesn’t play for Texas Tech. I’ve got him penciled in as a starting forward, with Marcus Santos-Silva sitting at the other forward spot, and Ntambwe probably averaging double-figures. I’d maybe even think that without Ntambwe, this is maybe a top 25 team rather than a top 10 team. I would not think that Ntambwe would be drafted, but there’s also the chance that he simply doesn’t want to play college basketball and could play in Australia or elsewhere.

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