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2015 FIBA U19 World Championship Scouting Reports: Small Forwards

2015 FIBA U19 World Championship Scouting Reports: Small Forwards
Jul 09, 2015, 10:51 am
Scouting reports on seven of the top small forward prospects seen at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, including Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum, Vasilis Charalampopoulos, Dillon Brooks, Justin Jackson (Canada), Tolga Gecim and Abu Kigab.
More FIBA U19 Content:
-Point Guard Scouting Reports
-Shooting Guard Scouting Reports
-Interviews
Josh Jackson, 6'8, Prolific Prep, USA, 1997

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-Has great size for the wing at 6-7 without shoes, with a 6-10 wingspan
-Added 10 pounds to frame in last year. Now up to 203 pounds. Looks like he should be able to continue to fill out more in time
-Tremendous athlete. Quick twitch. Fast. Explosive. Flies all over the court
-Amazing potential defensively. Can guard up to four positions. Great lateral quickness. Plays with a very high motor.
-Great instincts and anticipation skills in passing lanes. 3.3 steals per -40. Also blocks shots regularly, 1.4 per-40.
-Tracks down loose balls regularly on the glass. Excellent rebounder for a wing. 11.4 rebounds per-40 at U19s. 14.6 last summer at U17s. Especially impressive on offensive glass with quick second bounce and high motor
-Finds ways to score without plays being called for him. Got almost all his offense playing off the ball. Crashing offensive glass, running floor in transition, cutting off the ball
-Extremely effective in transition with combination of ball-handling, athleticism, length and motor
-Perimeter shooting stroke is showing serious progress. Didn't make a single 3-pointer in nearly 140 minutes of action at the U17s, but made 50% of his 3s at the U19s on a decent volume. Better shooting off the dribble at the moment than with feet set. But did a little bit of both in Crete
-Unselfish player. Makes extra pass. Shows some nice creativity with the ball, especially on the move
-Grabs rebounds and goes coast to coast

Weaknesses:
-Frame has a ways to go. Lower body in particularly is very skinny
-Perimeter stroke still has room to improve. 61% from free throw line at U19s. Career 57%. Not always on balance
-Reluctant shooter at times
-Needs to improve his advanced ball-handling skills. Dribble is a bit high. Fairly turnover prone trying to create own shot in the half-court.
-Struggles to get all the way to the basket. Can't always finish everything he creates due to lack of strength and polish
-Plays off his talent, not always off fundamentals. Can get a bit wild and out of control on both ends of the floor. Lives off his instincts. Somewhat tense and unpredictable. Shot-selection isn't always great
-Bites on pump-fakes. Gambles in passing lanes
-Body language isn't always great. Constantly talking to referees. Very emotional and reactive on the court
-At least a year old for his high school class. Will turn 20 during his freshman season in college.

Outlook: Super versatile wing player. Plays every position on the floor depending on which level he's operating at. Does a little bit of everything. Still raw and unpolished, but shows great flashes of talent in many different areas. Unselfish player who is extremely competitive defensively. Still remains to be seen just how high his ceiling is offensively, but at the very least will be a super versatile all-around player.

See Also: Josh Jackson Interview at U19 World Championship


Jayson Tatum, 6'8, Chaminade College Prep, USA, 1998

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-Great size for a wing at 6-8 in shoes. 200 pound frame that will fill out nicely in time
-Incredibly fluid and mobile athlete. Silky smooth
-Quick jumper. Surprises you with his ability to get up and make plays around the rim. Way more explosive than you'd expect on first glance
-Tremendous ball-handler in open court. Huge weapon in transition. Ignites the break on regular basis
-Shows nice potential in pick and roll and isolation situations
-Can make shots with feet set and off the dribble. Hit 40% of 3-point attempts on limited number of attempts at U19s. Career 76% free throw shooter already
-Great feel for getting in the passing lanes. 3.2 steals per 40. Also shows terrific anticipation skills for blocks (1.5 per-40)
-Two years younger than much of the competition as a 1998-born player.

Weaknesses:
-Doesn't know how to use his tools consistently in the half-court at the moment
-Can't always finish everything he creates around the basket. Lacks a degree of strength and toughness. Shies away from contact at times. Made just 35% of attempts inside the paint in the half-court
-Barely got to free throw line at U19s
-Needs to improve the quickness of his release on jump-shot, both with feet set and off the dribble.
-Career 28% 3-point shooter. Will become a good shooter in time, but not automatic quite yet

Outlook: Superbly talented wing player with a terrific skill-level and feel for the game. Effortless athlete for whom everything comes easy.

See Also: Jayson Tatum Interview at U19 World Championship


Vasilis Charalampopoulos, 6'8, Panathinaikos, Greece, 1997

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-Very good size for a small forward at 6-8, with a strong frame and long arms.
-One of the smartest and most polished teenagers you'll find anywhere in the world
-Great timing and smarts
-Extremely versatile player.
-Can score with back to the basket, using nifty footwork, a strong frame and the ability to finish with either hand and soft touch
-Good mechanics on catch and shoot jumpers. Can heat up from beyond the arc. Made 50% of his 3-point attempts at the U19s. Hit 40% of his 3-pointers this season as a pro
-Excellent passer. Finds cutters with bounce passes. Drives and dishes. Consistently posts strong passing metrics
-Very mature. Never rattled. Plays with supreme confidence and poise. Operates at own unique pace
-Can create his own shot on straight line drives. Changes speeds. Finishes off the glass
-Very competitive on defense. Gets in the passing lanes with anticipation skills and timing
-Excellent rebounder. 10 rebounds per-40 at U19s. 6 per-40 as a teenage pro

Weaknesses:
-Not very athletic in a traditional sense. Lacks quickness and explosiveness relative to his position at the NBA level
-Frame is already mature.
-Is he quick enough laterally to defend small forwards?
-Is he big enough to defend power forwards?

Outlook: Incredibly experienced player for an 18-year old. Saw his first minutes of pro basketball at the age of 15 already. Has already seen real minutes for Panathinaikos in both the Euroleague and Greek league. Played for the Greek National Junior team at the age of 14 at the U16 level and more than held his own. Amazingly poised and mature. Was limited at the U19s by a nasty ankle injury that would have prevented almost player from participating. Foot swelled up to abnormal sizes and needed to be drained a few hours before games. Only played six games as a result, averaging just 14 minutes per contest. Was there when his team needed him though. Played 25 minutes in the quarterfinals and 36 minutes in the semifinals, mostly on one leg. Team player and huge competitor. Doesn't ooze with athleticism or upside, but is the kind of guy you would never want to bet against. A Euro Draymond Green?


Dillon Brooks, 6'7, Oregon, Canada, 1996

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-Good size for a small forward. Strong frame
-Extremely aggressive offensive player. Led the tournament in usage rate
-Has excellent scoring instincts. Averaged 30 points per-40 minutes pace adjusted at the U19s. Last summer averaged 40 points per-40.
-Can score in a variety of ways. Pushes the ball in transition. Can post up
-Can create his own shot. Plays some pick and roll as the ball-handler from the power forward position, which is very difficult for opposing teams to defend. Can score in isolation situations
-Gets to the free throw line at a tremendous rate (over 11 per-40 at U19s)
-Capable shooter, both with feet set and off the dribble. Hit 35% of 3-pointers as a college freshman. 82% of his free throw attempts
-Hits off the dribble 3-pointers
-Strong rebounder. Averaged just under 10 rebounds per-40. Allows him to see some minutes at the power forward spot without hurting his team on the glass

Weaknesses:
-Good not great athlete
-Somewhat stuck between the small forward and power forward positions, particularly defensively
-Streak shooter. Hit just 21% of his 3-pointers at the U19s in Crete on a decent number of attempts. Shot-selection is often the culprit, but tends to elevate too high on his pull-ups at times, giving him a varying release point.
-Average finisher around the basket. Lack of length and average explosiveness make it difficult for him to convert in traffic, especially with his often extremely aggressive shot-selection
-Decision making is poor. Tends to force the issue. Calls his own number too often. Passes up wide open shooters to settle for tough shots instead.
-Averaged an outrageous 8.5 turnovers per-40 minutes (5.1 last summer). Really hurt his team
-Indifferent defender. Doesn't get into a real stance. Lacks length and lateral quickness, which combined with his average fundamentals make him very ineffective here. Can get some stops when he locks in.

Outlook: Tremendously aggressive scorer who was somewhat of a one-man show at times for Canada. Relishes the opportunity to be a go-to guy, sometimes at the expense of his team's ball-movement. Very gifted offensive player who was very effective as a freshman in the Pac-12 in a more moderated role. Will be very interesting to see how he performs in an expanded role as a sophomore at Oregon now that Joseph Young is off to the NBA. Has obvious talent, but needs to improve his role-player potential to find a niche in the NBA, including becoming a more consistent outside shooter, and defending the perimeter.


Justin Jackson, 6'6, UNLV, Canada, 1997

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-Sports a chiseled frame at 232 pounds, and an incredibly long 7-2 wingspan. Big hands
-Fluid and mobile athlete
-Very talented offensive player. Can do a little bit of everything
- Has improved his perimeter shooting ability. Form on jump-shot is solid. Made 40% of his 3-point attempts at the U19s on a limited number of attempts.
-Can create his own shot effectively. Did quite a bit of ball-handling for Canada, in transition, isolation and pick and roll ball-handling situations
-Uses hesitation moves effectively. Uses body to create space. Has nice footwork, can spin and score inside the paint. Aggressive going to the basket. Creates contact inside the paint and gets to free throw line
-Nice touch on floaters
-Tremendous rebounder for a wing. 11 rebounds per-40 at U19s
-Has great potential defensively with fluidity, body and length
-Impressive instincts for steals and blocks. Posted over 2 per game in both categories.

Weaknesses:
-Not particularly explosive. Lacks the verticality needed to be a high-level finisher around the basket. Made only 46% of his 2-point attempts in Crete, and 19/43 overall attempts inside the paint.
-Struggles to make shots off the dribble
-Jump-shot still prone to streakiness. Release point is inconsistent at times. Mechanics get a bit rigid when tightly contested
-Decision making not always there. Tends to settle for wild shots
-Needs to improve advanced ball-handling skills, and ability to weave in and out of traffic. Tries to simply overpower defenders. Drives into brick walls.
-Feel for game is average. Not a great passer.
-Very inconsistent from game to game. Looks like a lottery pick some games, and a future D-Leaguer in others.
-Shot just 45% from free throw line in Crete. Focus level isn't always there

Outlook: Extremely talented wing (probably should have been in our shooting guard article) who alternated from impressive to frustrating seemingly without rhyme or rhythm. Undecided still on whether to enroll at UNLV next season or remain at Findlay. Neither appear to be perfect options. Needs serious structure and guidance to reach his extremely high ceiling.


Tolga Gecim, 6'8, Banvit, Turkey, 1996

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-6-8, but plays more point guard than small forward.
-Extremely creative with ball in hands. Led the entire competition with 10.8 assists per-40. Has a great feel for finding the open man. Extremely unselfish with excellent court vision.
-Good ball-handler. Rarely turns ball over
-Can post up a bit
-Gets in passing lanes with nice anticipation skills (2.4 steals per-40)
Can handle and pass at 6-8 but not particularly quick and jumper is still inconsistent. Posts up a bit. Super creative bounce passes to cutters.

Weaknesses:
-Lacks quickness and explosiveness in a serious way
-Struggled badly to finish around the basket. Converted just 25% of his attempts inside the paint in the half-court at the U19s. Posted a dreadful 29% 2-point percentage overall
-Misses good looks around the rim due to his lack of explosiveness.
-Forced to settle for mid-range pull-ups when he can't turn the corner and beat his man off the dribble
-Struggles with the consistency of his outside shot. Made just 27% of 3-point attempts. Career 29% from outside
-Very upright in stance defensively. Gets beat off the dribble regularly and forced to foul.

Outlook: Rare to see a player his size with such a great basketball IQ and ability to create for others. Questionable whether he helped or hurt his team with his ball-dominant style and extreme inefficiency offensively. Difficult to see NBA potential in him with his lack of athleticism. Should make a good career in Turkey as a sort of poor man's Emir Predzlic.


Abu Kigab, 6'7, St. Francis (Ontario), Canada, 1998

Jonathan Givony

Strengths:
-Great athletic profile. Good size. Strong frame. Long arms
-Plays the right away. Hustles. Makes extra pass
-Has decent touch on jump-shot. Made a handful of jumpers, showing his shooting potential is not hopeless
-Good in transition
-Excellent potential defensively. Can guard multiple positions. Plays hard. Moves feet well. Can develop into a huge weapon on this end of the floor in time
-Willing to take charges.
-Rebounds very well. 14 rebounds per-40
-One of the youngest players at the competition. Has a huge amount of room to grow in many different areas.

Weaknesses:
-Extremely unpolished offensively
-Very off-balance on jumpers. Elbow flails out. Mechanics need serious work
-Can't create his own shot. Very rudimentary ball-handler
-Struggles to pull-up off the dribble.
Ugly shooting stroke.

Outlook: Played an important role for Canada, despite being only 16 years. Has great physical tools to go along with a strong motor and some budding skills. Very unpolished in virtually every area as you'd expect from a 16-year old. Has huge potential if he continues to work and improve. Defense alone gives him a great foundation to build off.
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