Finding the “right” path to professional basketball is a journey. For Chicago ballers like 24-year-old David Jasson, whose professional basketball journey has been anything but prototypical, his passion for the game and his on-court skills may make his hoop dreams come true, yet. 

On Sept. 16, hundreds of aspiring NBA G League players took their best shot at earning a Windy City Bulls training camp invitation at the team’s annual open tryout at the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park, Ill. The Windy City Bulls have hosted training camps every year prior to the start of their regular seasons since the team debuted for the 2016-17 season. 

Jasson said he was encouraged to attend the Windy City Bulls try out after people in his network saw Facebook ads for it. He said he’s able to focus on basketball full-time thanks to his family. 

“My pops, my little brother, my cousins, my uncles, aunts, just everyone around me is pushing me to be better,” Jasson said. “[They] keep motivating me with the confidence that I can go out and make it. Trainers are always pushing me to be better. They’re not letting me slack or nothing like that. They always help me elevate so I feel like my support system is good and I am appreciative of it.” 

The TRiiBE first met Jasson, a Rogers Park native, on Aug. 19 in between breaks during the amateur three-on-three basketball tournament held at the Chicago Bulls Fest, the Chicago Bulls’ annual summer festival. He said that his journey to playing professional basketball is just beginning. 

Jasson, a 6’1” combo guard, played for Uplift Community High School and AAU teams like Hoops Avenue, Chicago Raptors, Team Flight, among others, before graduating in 2017 and starting his college career at Kankakee Community College for his freshman year. He eventually transferred to Wilbur Wright Community College to assist his mother due to her ailing health before she passed away in 2019. 

In 2020, after taking a year off from basketball, but continuing his education, Jasson transferred to Post University in Waterbury, CT, where he played Division II basketball on full scholarship for his junior and senior years. 

“I’ve had my trials and tribulations, but I feel like I’ve had a lot of growth,” Jasson said. “I grew a lot over the years. I feel like I’ve become a better basketball player. I’ve just really been working on my craft.”

Formerly known as the NBA Developmental League (D League) prior to its multi-year partnership with Gatorade, the G League is the NBA’s official minor league where players, coaches, scouts and more all participate in a professionally-run league against other aspiring NBA players at their level. The G League teams compete over a full schedule of games and showcase events that run concurrently with the NBA schedule, according to its website. 

Windy City Bulls team president Brad Seymour told The TRiiBE in an August 25 phone interview that the team typically holds one open tryout a year in September to give their coaching staff and basketball administration an opportunity to evaluate talent and contact players they’re interested in for training camp invitations and private workouts before training camp begins in October.  

To be eligible to try out, individuals have to be at least 18 years old and pay a $300 registration fee. Seymour said a maximum of 200 players are allowed to participate in the tryout each year. 

During the tryout, players typically run a few drills and play multiple scrimmages against each other in front of members of the Windy City Bulls’ coaching staff and the Chicago Bulls’ player development staff, each of whom are present to both coach and evaluate players. 

Seymour told The TRiiBE that any specific questions regarding the type of players the Windy City Bulls would be most interested in inviting to training camp would have to be answered by the coaching staff. However, he did share what qualities in a player tend to stand out during tryouts. 

“The players that typically do well, the players that usually get a second look, are individuals that have at least played collegiately and in a lot of cases played D-1 collegiately,” he said. “It’s really about finding the best available player. They’re not necessarily looking for specific positions or anything of that nature. It’s looking for the best talent that happens to be there.”  

Seymour pointed to Alfonzo McKinnie, a Chicago native and a John Marshall Metropolitan High School alumnus, as one of their success stories. McKinnie, a 6’8” forward, attended the Windy City Bulls’ first tryout in 2016, made the team, and eventually played in the NBA for the Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and his hometown Chicago Bulls. McKinnie is currently playing for the G League’s Mexico City Capitanes.  

McKinnie was one of three players to advance from the 2016-2017 Windy City Bulls open tryout to make it on the team’s training camp roster. He was joined by Coreontae DeBerry, a 6’10” forward/center, and Corbin Thomas, a 6’6” forward.  DeBerry most recently played for UBU Tizona, a professional Spanish team in the third division locally known as LEB Plata, in 2022. Thomas most recently played for the Orangeville A’s, a professional Canadian team in the National Basketball League of Canada, in 2017.

Seymour also shared that a tryout for the Windy City Bulls could be a platform for other professional basketball opportunities beyond playing in the G League. 

“There’s opportunities where the scouting staff, the player development staff, may, you know, have an opportunity not with Windy City Bulls, but they may know of other teams, including overseas, where they can help direct a player (with) who they think that there’s enough talent there,” Seymour said. 

“In a lot of ways, you know, they’re also trying out for professional basketball as a whole. Yes, it’s a Windy City tryout, but as it is with any organization, the basketball network is wide and so folks on our side may know of opportunities in other leagues and other teams and then be able to direct players in that direction,” he added.

Jasson starts early every day to prepare for his next basketball opportunity, waking up at 5 a.m., arriving at the gym at 5:30 a.m., and practicing his basketball skills for two-and-a-half hours before going home to eat and rest, and then he returns to the gym for a full-body weight lifting regimen depending on the day, and he ends most days with either a five-on-five basketball game or more skill development. This has been Jasson’s reality for the past five years. 

The 24-year-old said prior to the Windy City Bulls tryout, he didn’t feel any pressure about how he would perform. 

“I am doing something I love to do, and I am doing something I’ve been doing for years so all I got to do is show up and play,” Jasson said. “The game has been my sanctuary; it’s been my safe haven. If anything is going wrong at home or personally, whatever, I come play basketball and I am happy. Basketball makes me happy, it is what I love to do. That’s what I plan to continue to do as long as I can.”

is a freelance contributor for The Triibe.