BET Studios has announced its first original, unscripted series KLUTCH Academy in partnership with Rich Paul and KLUTCH Sports Group and UTA. The five-part docuseries follows six college basketball players as they prepare to launch professional careers in the NBA.
KLUTCH Academy is executive produced by Paul and his KLUTCH Originals banner, Kenya Barris, Mike Tollin, and Jon Weinbach, the creative team behind the award-winning docuseries The Last Dance.
“These young men work their entire lives to get a shot at becoming a professional athlete, and at KLUTCH we invest the time and care to help them succeed not only as players, but as human beings prepared to meet all of life’s challenges,” said Paul in a statement. “It’s an honor to work with Kenya and BET to share our rookies’ powerful stories, and I’m excited for audiences to get a glimpse at the incredible work my team does every day to help athletes achieve and sustain success.”
KLUTCH Academy is described as a “courtside seat to the progression these young athletes undergo as they transition from college into the pros—from signing with an agent to training for pro competition to Draft day anxiety and off-season preparation to managing personal relationships and the challenges young Black men in their unique circumstances face.”
Through the series’ one-hour episodes, KLUTCH Academy sets out to reveal what players and agents experience in the process leading up to the Draft as well as highlight the dynamics of KLUTCH as more than an agency, but a tightknit group dedicated to developing young men for life in the NBA and beyond, according to a press release.
“There is no denying the impact that Rich has had. He and the KLUTCH Team have pushed boundaries and completely shifted the narrative,” commented Barris. “And while buzzwords like disruptor and super agent are fitting, it’s the work that they do with these young men, behind the scenes and off-the-court, that is the most impressive and I’m excited for viewers to get a glimpse beyond the headlines into that part of their story.”
Aisha Summers Burke, Executive Vice-President and General Manager of BET Studios added, “The BET Studios venture is all about giving creators an opportunity to tell stories that have yet to be told, and KLUTCH Sports has a remarkable background and history that we know will resonate with our audiences, which is why we’re so glad the series found its home right here on BET.
KLUTCH Academy is executive produced by Rich Paul and Fara Leff for KLUTCH Originals, the production arm of KLUTCH Sports Group; Mike Tollin and Jon Weinbach serve as Executive Producers; Kenya Barris serves as Executive Producer through his company Khalabo Ink Society; Tiffany Lea Williams serves as Executive Producer for BET; and Mike Gleaton serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner.
The show will also pay tribute to Terrence Clarke, who tragically passed away the day after signing with KLUTCH. The cast centers on six basketball players who all recently had their lives changed being drafted into the NBA.
Read the players’ official introductions provided by BET Studios below and watch a trailer for KLUTCH Academy above:
Brandon Boston Jr. – A former University of Kentucky Forward from small-town Norcross, Ga., Brandon was selected as the 51st pick by the LA Clippers. The loss of his best friend and college teammate Terrence Clarke in a tragic car accident weighs heavily on Brandon, but also drives him to stay focused and make the most of the opportunity to realize his childhood dream.
Kai Jones – Hailing from the tiny island of the Bahamas, this former University of Texas Forward was selected 10th by the Charlotte Hornets. At 6-foot-11, Kai is the tallest of the KLUTCH prospects, but he’s not nearly “NBA big” yet. He must add weight and show his team he can compete against the world’s best players, has the discipline to work in the weight room, and will be ready when his number is called.
Jalen Johnson – A year ago, Jalen was projected the potential No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 Draft. After leaving Duke University, one of college basketball’s iconic programs, questions surfaced about his maturity. But Jalen’s older brother relocated to help him navigate the process of turning pro and is learning everything he can from Rich and the KLUTCH team about managing the day-to-day of NBA pros. Jalen was drafted as the 20th pick by the Atlanta Hawks.
Moses Moody – Moses had an excellent freshman season at Arkansas, and his combination of size and shooting ability placed him on numerous pro scouts’ radar. Now more than ever—after being selected 14th by the Golden State Warriors—he feels the pressure of being the one who will change his family’s future forever.
Jericho Sims – A breakout performance at this year’s Combine trended Sims’s draft stock upwards. His 44.5-inch vertical leap (the third highest in NBA Combine history) caught the eyes of NBA scouts and the KLUTCH team. But physicality is simply one phase of a player’s game—selected 58th to the New York Knicks, Jericho faces the challenge of breaking out of his shell to impress NBA front office staff.
Scottie Lewis – As a top-rated high school player, Scottie was projected to be a future first-round Draft pick, but a few lackluster seasons at the University of Florida caused doubts about his game. Redemption came in the 2021 NCAA tournament with a stellar performance that turned his fortune around. Picked 56th to the Charlotte Hornets, Scottie will need to work extra hard to prove he has what it takes to make it in the league.