The world famous Harlem Globetrotters held their eighth annual player draft today, selecting a host of world-class athletes.
The Globetrotters’ one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment, showcasing some of the finest athletes on the planet and some of the greatest basketball ever seen. The Globetrotters represent 88 years of breaking down barriers, acts of goodwill, and a commitment to fans that goes beyond the game. The team searches the four corners of the world to find superb athletes with a flair for entertainment who are also able spread joy and goodwill outside of the athletic arena, via the Globetrotters’ numerous ambassadorial efforts.
“We like to think outside the box with our draft, so we look at all different kinds of athletes that could have the qualities of a Harlem Globetrotter,” said Sweet Lou Dunbar, the Globetrotters’ director of player personnel. “There are a lot of outstanding dunkers on this list, the Wiggins brothers come from a great bloodline, Sim Bhullar is a mountain of a man that can put the ball in the hole … and certainly keep others from doing so, we know Landon Donovan can handle a ball, and we also know that Johnny Manziel is a fantastic athlete that knows how to be entertaining. ‘Johnny Basketball’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”
Following is a full recap of the Globetrotters’ draftees:
Marcus Lewis of Eastern Kentucky University captured the 2014 College Slam Dunk Championship in April after being named as the competition’s annual “Dark Horse Dunker” via fan voting. Lewis received perfect scores on all of his dunks leading into the finals, and fans broke a finals tie to declare Lewis the winner. The 6-4 native of Streamwood, Ill., was third in scoring and blocks for Eastern Kentucky and second in steals, and he helped the Colonels to upsets of the top two seeds in the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference tourney to take the title and an NCAA tournament berth.
Tyler Inman of Southwestern Christian University (Okla.) won the first-ever NAIA dunk contest, this past March in Kansas City, by reeling off perfect scores of 50 on each of his four jaw-dropping dunks in the competition. The 6-5 product of Savanna, Okla., was the third-leading scorer for the Eagles his senior season and was second on the team in field goals made, three-pointers made and blocks.
Sim Bhullar began his New Mexico State University in style, winning the WAC Freshman of the Year award in 2012-13. In just two seasons, the 7-foot-5, 360-pound Toronto native recorded the second most blocks in Aggie history and set the school’s top two single-season block totals (101 and 85). Bhullar also won two straight WAC tournament MVP awards.
Landon Donovan is arguably the most highly-decorated soccer player in U.S. history. The all-time U.S. soccer leader in goals and assists, Donovan is also the all-time leading goal scorer in Major League Soccer history. Born in Ontario, Calif., Donovan has a U.S.-record five goals in World Cup play in his career, and he is a four-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year award. Donovan joins U.S. soccer goalie Tim Howard (2009) and the legendary Lionel Messi (2011) as soccer players drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters.
Mitchell Wiggins, Jr., and Nick Wiggins are the older brothers of likely top-three 2014 NBA Draft pick Andrew Wiggins. Mitchell, a 6-6 forward, helped the Southeastern University (Fla.) Fire to the semifinals of the NAIA Division II national tournament and followed that up with a second-place finish in the inaugural NAIA slam dunk contest. Nick, a 6-6 guard, helped Wichita State University (Kan.) to the two greatest seasons in schools history, as the Shockers registered back-to-back 30-win campaigns and one Final Four appearance. Hailing from Vaughan, Ontario, the brothers are the sons of Mitchell and Marita Wiggins. Mitchell, Sr., is a former first round NBA pick who played for six seasons in the league, and Marita is a two-time Olympic silver-medalist in track and field.
Johnny Manziel is one of the most electrifying athletes on the planet, becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy and piling up a litany of individual records and awards on his way to becoming the 22nd overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. During his college career, the Kerrville, Texas, native also befriended a young cancer patient named Charlie Dina and his family and helped launch a wave of people wearing “Charlie’s Angels” wristbands to champion Charlie’s cause.
Other players selected in past Globetrotter drafts include current Globetrotters Anthony “Ant” Atkinson, the first ever Globetrotters’ draft selection and a college All-American and national champion, former Siena sharp-shooter Tay “Firefly” Fisher, dunking and ball handling sensation William “Bull” Bullard and Corey “Thunder” Law, holder of the Guinness World Records® record for the longest basketball shot (109 feet 9 inches).
Sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios, Howard Johnson Hotels, World Vision, Greyhound Lines and Baden Sports, The Harlem Globetrotters® are celebrating their 88th consecutive year, continuing a world famous tradition of ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry, and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that continues to thrill fans of all ages. Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 122 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans-among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents-over more than eight thrilling decades. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, and to purchase tickets and team merchandise, visit the Globetrotters' official Web site at www.harlemglobetrotters.com.