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A rising NBA Africa draft pipeline at Basketball Without Borders

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

DAKAR, Senegal -- As Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri delivered a fiery closing speech to more than 60 young athletes, with Dikembe Mutombo and NBA commissioner Adam Silver to his left and NBA Africa vice president Amadou Gallo Fall behind him, he reiterated the same passionate message he echoed all camp long: "Africa is now!"

If Toronto's championship roster and the success of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam weren't proof enough, the emphasis NBA teams placed on scouting this year's Basketball Without Borders Africa further illustrates the elevated importance of the region in today's game.

The camp that started as "The Africa 100" in 2003 has developed into a scouting necessity, with several U.S.-based executives making the trip to Dakar to start getting a feel for the talent level and infrastructure, which have yielded 40 first- and second-generation African players currently in the NBA. A record 14 of the 30 NBA teams were represented in some capacity, and some international scouts even prioritized BWB Africa over the under-18 European Championships, traveling to Senegal before catching the final couple days of the U18s in Volos, Greece.