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Jaden Hardy, G League Ignite to play games in Las Vegas

Updated October 30, 2021 - 9:33 am

Jaden Hardy is coming home.

The former Coronado star shooting guard and his new team, G League Ignite, are coming to Las Vegas next month to play regular season games against the Agua Caliente Clippers on Nov. 10-11 at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena, the team announced Thursday.

Ignite will also play six more “home games” at the arena in December and January.

Hardy, a former five-star recruit, is among the top prospects eligible for the 2022 NBA draft.

His older bother, Amauri, also is on the roster, signing last month to become the first college player to do so. The elder Hardy played three years at UNLV, earning All-Mountain West honors as a junior. He transferred from UNLV after the 2019-20 season and concluded his college career in the spring by helping Oregon reach the NCAA Tournament.

“Playing in Las Vegas will be a great experience for our team,” Ignite head coach Jason Hart said in a statement. “Being in a basketball town with passionate fans can be a great mix, and we’re looking forward to some Vegas support. Las Vegas.”

The exhibition games are part of a new format for Ignite called the Showcase Cup. The series separates the 29 G League teams and Ignite into four regional pods, in which they’ll play 12 games against one another. The teams with the highest winning percentage in each pod — plus the next four best teams by winning percentage — will play in a single-elimination tournament at the NBA’s annual G League Winter Showcase.

The winter showcases in 2018 and 2019 were also contested at Mandalay Bay and will return to the hotel’s convention center Dec. 19-22.

“The Winter Showcase is one of the NBA G League’s marquee events, and I’m looking forward to watching the action in the expanded NBA G League Showcase Cup Tournament,” G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement.

Ignite was launched before the 2020-21 season as a developmental alternative for top prospects. Alumni include Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green, Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, Washington Wizards forward Isaiah Todd and former Trinity International standout Daishen Nix, who is playing for the Rockets’ G League affiliate.

The team is based in Walnut Creek, California, and unveiled its 2021-22 roster Thursday — one day before its season opener against the Iowa Wild. Hardy is the top prospect and one of six who opted to bypass Division I basketball to pursue professional development, joining MarJon Beauchamp, Dyson Daniels, Michael Foster, Scoot Henderson and Fanbo Zeng.

Ignite veterans include longtime NBA forward Amir Johnson and overseas standout Pooh Jeter.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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