2015 Jordan Brand Classic International Game: Top Prospects

2015 Jordan Brand Classic International Game: Top Prospects
Apr 17, 2015, 05:28 pm
Scouting reports on ten of the most intriguing international prospects seen at the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn. Players were born in 1998 and 1999.

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Simi Shittu, 6-8, SF/PF, Corpus Christi High School, Canada, 1999
-Very impressive frame. Long arms. Mature physically for his age. Body should fill out substantially in time
-Long arms
-Competitive defensively. Gets blocks, offensive rebounds. Very active. Should be able to develop into a multi-positional defender. Did not look out of place on the perimeter.
-Always in attack mode. Tries to dunk on people. Takes ball strong to the rim in a straight line.
-Good not great athlete
-Has a very ugly jump-shot. Shoots on way down. Sometimes bends his knees excessively
-Crude ball-handler at this stage. Tries to attack his man but has a loose handle at this stage. Can't change directions with the ball
-Average decision maker
Has a very impressive physique and plays with a great motor. Skill-level is a major work in progress. Will he grow and become a power forward? Or can he continue to hone his perimeter game and become a full-time 3? Needs to revamp his outside shot and start over. Will struggle to reach his potential without a consistent jump-shot.

Jaylen Hoard, 6-8, SF, Castelnaue Le Lez France, 1999
-Excellent physical attributes. Projects as a big wing. 6-8 with long arms, big hands and a fairly developed frame that should continue to fill out in time.
-Solid athlete. Very fluid. Not overly explosive or quick but moves very well. Quick off the floor.
-Nose for the ball. Crashes the offensive glass.
-Potential as a spot up shooter. Sound mechanically. On balance.
-Upside on defense given his physical tools. Moves well laterally. Makes plays in the passing lanes with his length.
-Doesn't show much in terms of shot creation. Average ball-handler. Not going to pull up off the dribble. Straight line driver. Has the potential to create as his handle improves.
-Good not great athlete. More fluid than explosive at this stage.
-Has potential but isn't quite a knockdown shooter. Doesn't get his shot off all that quickly.
-Can be a bit passive at times. Tends to blend in for stretches.
Outlook It didn't take long for Hoard to stand out amongst the rest of his peers given his tremendous physical attributes. While Hoard didn't have a ton of
“wow” moments throughout the week, he made plays on both ends during the game on his way to winning Team MVP. Hoard was one of the best long-term international prospects at the Jordan Brand Classic and is absolutely someone to follow. Should he decide to go the college route, the 6-8 wing should be considered for the highest levels.

Acoydan McCarthy, 6-5, SG, Real Madrid, Spain, 1999
-Body continues to fill out. Has a solid physique.
-Has an impressive feel for the game for a player his age
-Naturally talented with the ball in his hands
-Uses both hands off the dribble
-Can make shots off the dribble
-Creates space impressively off the dribble using his body
-Makes creative and accurate passes
-Can play some pick and roll
-Competitive on defense
-More smooth than explosive
-Decision making still a work in progress. Still figuring out how to utilize his talent efficiently. Goes from blending in to taking bad shots.
-Jumper is still a major work in progress, particularly in catch and shoot situations. Appears to have a hitch in his shot.
OutlookConsidered one of the top talents in his generation in Europe. Hard to argue with that assessment from what he's shown. Made shots off the dribble, but struggled badly at times with feet set. Has a lot of room to continue to improve. Will be interesting to see how much he continues to grow and how his athleticism and outside shot evolves with age and strength.

Nikola Miskovic, 6-9, SF/PF, KK Mega Vizura (Belgrade) Serbia, 1999
-Great size and frame.Big hands. Will likely continue to grow. Thin at this stage but has a great frame that will fill out in time. Solid length.
-Very raw offensively but made a concerted effort to try and make plays off the bounce. Shows potential as a playmaker with the ball.
-Seems to always be around the ball. Good instincts.
-Potential as a shooter. Mechanics are a bit stiff but he has good touch overall.
-Great frame but very thin at this stage. High shoulders.
-Lacks explosiveness. Very fluid for his size but plays below the rim. Doesn't have great burst.
-Limited ball handler at this stage. Not all that comfortable putting it down more than 2-3 times. Carries the ball. Shows potential but needs to improve his ball skills.
-The game is a bit too fast for him right now. Not a great decision maker.
-Potential as a shooter but lacks consistency.
-Seems to get down on himself quickly
Outlook Miskovic isn't quite ready to contribute at a high-level at this stage of his development but given his impressive physical tools, fluidity for his size and potential as a shooter he's certainly someone to keep an eye on as he continues to fill out and refine his skill set.

Darko Bajo, 6-8, SF/PF, OKK Spars, Croatia, 1999 Strengths
-Good physical attributes for a European prospect
-Solid frame
-Good athlete
-Versatile offensive player.
-Can create his own shot from the perimeter. Mixes in spin moves impressively. Attacks closeouts aggressively
-Finishes above the rim
-Very good in transition. Handles the ball coast to coast
-Good feel for crashing the offensive glass and coming up with blocks. Nose for the ball.
-Solid passer and nice feel for the game overall. Reads the floor well. Has a good understanding of the game for a player his age.
-Shows decent feet guarding the perimeter. Gets in a stance. Tries to stay in front.
-Can throw the ball in the basket with nice touch
-Somewhat stuck between the 3 and the 4. Will he grow and become a true 4? Or Can he become a complete perimeter player.
-What position is he best suited guarding?
-Has a tendency to fade away on his jump-shot unnecessarily. Somewhat of a streak shooter at this point
-Can improve his advanced handle
Has some impressive moments in practice and especially the game. Showed some very nice sparks of talent. Someone to keep an eye on as his career progresses.

Ikey Obiagu, 7-0, C, Green Forest Christian Nigeria, 1998
-Elite physical tools.
-Outstanding body. Developed frame. Long arms. Huge hands. Moves really well for a player his size. Can really run the floor.
-Excellent shot blocker. Good instincts and timing. High effort-level. Blocks jump shots.
-Good post defender due to his size, strength and length. Works hard to deny post entries. Gets steals.
-Rebounding potential given his physical tools and effort level.
-Knows who he is. Doesn't try to play outside of himself.
-Doesn't look his age. May be 2-3 years older?
-Lacks touch around the rim. Can make an occasional jump hook but it's far from reliable. Not much of a scorer in the half court.
-Bad hands. Struggles catching around the rim. Gets the ball ripped out of his hands on rebounds.
-Poor mechanics on his jump shot. Big hitch. Not a threat outside of 15 feet.
-Gets knocked off balance too often for his size.
Outlook Obiagu showed his potential as a high-level rim protector and defender by racking up a handful of blocks and steals. He is very limited offensively but given his tantalizing physical tools and defensive potential, the 7-footer is certainly worth tracking.

Rui Hachimura, 6-8, SF/PF, Mesie High School Tokyo, Japan, 1998
-Solid physical attributes for an international prospect. Has grown since last summer. Now around 6-8. Long arms. Big hands. Strong frame. Will be impressive physically when it's all said and done.
-Fluid and mobile
-Has a decent looking stroke. Not a natural shooter but has a chance to develop into at least a solid catch and shoot guy
-Nose for the ball. Makes a lot of plays inside the rim. Mostly a 17-feet and in guy right now. Has good touch and a knack for scoring inside the paint. Aggressive inside the paint
-Plays hard. Crashes offensive glass
-Competitive defensively. Will come up with some nice blocks. Has potential here for sure.Weaknesses
-Somewhat stuck between the 3 and the 4. Will he grow and become a true 4? Or Can he become a complete perimeter player.
-Not naturally explosive at this stage. Will be interesting to see how his athleticism evolves in time
-Very limited ball-handler. Mostly a straight-line driver
-Not comfortable shooting with range right now. Looked tentative when open. Needs to continue to hone his outside shot
-Basketball IQ and overall feel for the game is average. Not a quick decision maker. Somewhat tentative at times.
Born in Japan. Father is from Benin, which shares a border with Nigeria. Reportedly on the college track. Utilized primarily as an inside player, but will need to expand his game out to the perimeter at higher levels of play. Has improved consistently since first time I saw him at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament in April of 2014, then the U17 World Championship in Dubai in August of 2014, to this week. Playing with better intensity and aggressiveness. Seems to be figuring out how good he can be still. Not an overly skilled player but has a knack for scoring that hopefully can be developed. Can play for a high major school, but would be a mistake to try and go to too high a level.

Yves Pons, 6-6, SF/PF, Insep//Asvel France, 1999
-Extremely developed body for his age.
-Long arms. Huge hands.
-Explosive leaper. Can finish above the rim in traffic.
-Big time defensive potential. Can guard multiple positions due to his blend of size, strength, length and athleticism. Quick laterally. Good effort on D.
-Has a chance to develop into a capable shooter. Streaky with average mechanics but shoots it with confidence. Decent starting point considering his age.
-Crashes the offensive glass
-Wore a knee brace all week and a sleeve in the game. Explosive vertically and quick laterally but doesn't run with great fluidity.
-Not a great ball handler. Can attack in a straight line but isn't all that comfortable handling on the perimeter. More of a 4 at this stage.
-Doesn't get much rotation on his jumper. Shoots with the outside of his hand. Needs to tighten up his mechanics.
-All left hand.
-Doesn't have a great feel for the game.
-Stuck between the 3 and the 4 offensively
-Blends in at times despite his outstanding physical tools
Outlook Pons stood out immediately due to his chiseled frame, long arms and explosiveness. It will be interesting to see how he progresses offensively as he'll need more of a skill-set to go along with his physical tools and defensive versatility.

Dimitrios Moraitis 6-2 PG, Panionios Greece, 1999
-Excellent feel for the game. Plays like a vet. Doesn't get rattled. Big-time swagger.
-Leader. Vocal. Runs the show.
-Moves the ball ahead in transition. Good pick and roll playmaker. Can make pocket passes or find shooters.
-Changes speeds and direction. Can create his own shot. Crafty ball handler.
-Aggressive going to the rim both in transition and the half court. Solid finisher. Doesn't shy away from contact. Decent body for his age.
-Smooth catch and shoot jumper. Ball comes out of his hand nicely. Not quite knockdown yet but shows great potential.
-Average athlete. Has decent burst but isn't going to finish above the rim.
-Defensive potential is a bit limited given his lack of length and elite athleticism. Hunched over in his stance. Average effort on D.
-Good not great shooter at this stage. Not super comfortable pulling up off the dribble.
-Average size.
Outlook Moraitis was head and shoulders ahead of the other international guards, in large part due to his experience playing for Panionios at age 16. Moraitis may not have huge upside given his average physical tools but he makes up for it with his outstanding feel for the game, potential as a shooter and savvy that's well beyond his years. He would be a major prospect for colleges if he elected to go that route.

Njegos Sikiras 6-8 PF, Stella Azzurra Roma Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1999
-Strong frame
-Very active. Sometimes out of control but plays hard. Finds the ball. Good offensive rebounder.
-Capable shooter with range out to three. Shoots too many off-balance, flat jumpers but shows promise.
-Good footwork. Can play with his back to the basket. Very good scoring instincts overall.
-Not a great athlete.
-Strong frame but isn't overly long or defined.
-Out of control. Can be a bit of a black hole. Needs to slow down at times. Feel for the game and decision making isn't great.
-Shoots fadeaways when he doesn't need to. Shoots it flat. Pulls his head back on his jumper. Not a consistent shooter.
-Doesn't have great defensive potential given his average athleticism and length.
Outlook Sikiras was up and down all week but turned in an MVP performance in the game, knocking down threes, making jumpers out of the post, and finishing inside, oftentimes off of offensive rebounds. Sikira can do a better job of playing under control but he's fun to watch and really knows how to score. It will be interesting to see how he progresses.

Philipp Herkenhoff, 6-8, PF, Artland Dragons, Germany, 1999
-Skinny, but has a frame that should fill out in time. Long arms
-Fluid and mobile. Has a lot of room for improvement physically
-Very good shooter. Was very consistent with his feet set all well
-Solid feel for the game. Makes the extra pass
-Needs to improve the quickness of his release
-Not particularly athletic at this very early stage. Needs to improve his explosiveness
-Defensive potential is not clear. Not very tough. Struggles to bend his knees. Gets burned off the dribble quite a bit.
Outlook Skilled future stretch 4-man with a framework of an interesting game. Has a long ways to go but players in his mold are highly in demand.

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