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2016 FIBA U17 World Championship Scouting Reports: Point Guards

2016 FIBA U17 World Championship Scouting Reports: Point Guards
Jul 07, 2016, 06:57 pm
Scouting reports on seven of the top point guard prospects seen at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship, including Collin Sexton, Arnas Velicka, Immanuel Quickley, Andrew Nembhard, Javonte Smart, Eray Akyuz and Lautaro Lopez.

Collin Sexton, 6'2, Point Guard, Pebblebrook HS, 1999



Strengths
-Very good physical tools for a point guard. Solid height. Near 6'7 wingspan. Strong frame that will continue to fill out in time
-Tremendous athlete. Incredibly quick, explosive
-Can create offense without a screen. Quick and powerful first step driving left or right
-Hungry, aggressive scorer
-Unstoppable in transition at this tournament
-Can make shots with feet set or off the dribble
-Strong ball-handler. Gets low to the ground, changes gears impressively. Turns the corner and gets into the paint frequently. Puts constant pressure on the defense. Very difficult to stay in front of with his ability to change speeds
-Finishes with both hands around the basket
-Tough player. Not afraid of contact. Will drive with a full head of steam and draw contact, getting him to the free throw line quite a bit
-Flashy, creative passer. Pushes the ball ahead impressively. Uses both sides of the floor. Doesn't always use it, but has better court vision than you'd assume on first glance. Especially in drive and dish situations or tossing lobs
-Uses his athleticism to get on the offensive glass, block shots
-Plays with a chip on his shoulder. Always in attack mode. Has a strong desire to make things happen on the floor

Weaknesses
-So hungry to score he gets out of control at times and freezes out teammates.
-Can be somewhat of a volume scorer at times, still working on his efficiency. 49.6% for 2 in EYBL play.
-Shot-selection, decision making still a work in progress
-Goes for too many homerun, highlight reel type plays. Can do a better job of being solid
-Tends to put his head down in traffic and try and force his way to the basket. Struggles with his vision in traffic or when pressured.
-Capable outside shooter, but still working on finding consistency from behind the 3-point line, partially due to shot-selection. Shot 33% for 3 in EYBL play. Mechanics aren't consistent yet
-Can't always finish what he creates around the basket. Degree of wildness on his drives
-Highly expressive and reactive on the floor. Can do a better job of controlling his emotions, which can get him in trouble with refs. Doesn't always look respectful of the opposition. Has a cockiness that borders on arrogance at times

Outlook A completely unheralded recruit just a few months ago, Sexton continued his breakout spring/summer by winning MVP honors of the FIBA U17 World Championship. He averaged an outrageous 34 points, 8 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 3.3 steals per-40 minutes, coming off the bench and playing 18 minutes per game as USA Basketball's designated spark-plug. Although he can rub people the wrong way at times with his on-court antics, it's difficult not to be impressed with his athleticism, scoring instincts and will to impose himself on games, while the sparks he shows as a playmaker give a lot of room for optimism regarding his development running a team. Clearly on an upward trajectory, so it will be interesting to see how he progresses over the next few years.


Arnas Velicka, 6'4, Point Guard, Zalgiris Kaunas, 1999

Strengths
-Great size for a point guard
-Very strong frame. Decent length
-Pure playmaker with a tremendous feel for the game. Has excellent vision and overall command of his team. 6.8 assists per-40 ranked fifth at the tournament. Led this season's adidas Next Generation Tournament in assists per-40 at 10.5.
-Not blazing quick, but gets where he wants to on the floor. Has excellent timing on his drives. Operates at different speeds
-Extremely advanced pick and roll player for his age. Uses drag screens in transition impressively
-Shows some ability to make pull-up jumpers confidently with a quick release
-Plays with unbelievable poise and confidence. Never changes his expression
-Smart, competitive defender. Uses his physical tools effectively. Big enough to guard multiple positions at this level
-Terrific instincts getting in the passing lanes and coming up with steals
-Born in December, still only 16 years old.

Weaknesses
-Not an efficient scorer. Really struggled to put the ball in the basket throughout the tournament.
-Poor shooting percentages in every setting he's played in, particularly from beyond the arc (career 24%), but also from the free throw line (career 52% in 33 games)
-Low release on his jumper. Sprays his misses all over the place. Makes some jumpers, and looks confident doing so, but is a volume shooter at this point
-Doesn't finish very well around the rim. Relies on underhanded scoop shots that make it fairly easy for rotating big men to contest. Career 45% 2-point percentage
-Will need to show he has the lateral quickness needed to stay in front of more explosive guards at higher levels
-Tends to fall asleep in his stance at times. Doesn't always fight over the top of screens

Outlook Catalyst behind Lithuania's strong 3rd place showing at this tournament. Has great size and a tremendous feel for the game, which bodes well for his future considering how young he is. Will need to prove he can score more efficiently moving forward, particularly with his jump-shot, to reach the highest levels. Moving to Barcelona next season, who paid a buyout to Zalgiris for his rights.


Immanuel Quickley, 6'3, Point Guard, The John Carroll School, 1999

Strengths
-Very good physical profile for a point guard prospect who just turned 17 years old - 6' 2.5” with a 6' 7” wingspan. On the thin side (170 lbs) but has a good frame that will fill out nicely in time. Wide shoulders, proportionate upper and lower body.
-Fluid athlete with long strides. Likes to push in transition - 37.5% of his offense at the U17 World Championships and 26.7% of his offense at Adidas Gauntlet playing for Baltimore Elite U17.
-Solid first step. Able to play at different speeds and change directions impressively for his age. Uses sweeping crossovers going to his right or left. Not an overly flashy ball handler but has a nice foundation for this stage of his development.
-Shows potential as a facilitator - 7.0 assists and 2.6 turnovers per 40 minutes in seven Adidas Gauntlet games. Can see over the top, make a basic pocket pass, and drive and kick or dish.
-Should become a fairly reliable shooter once he raises his release point. Gets nice rotation, has touch. Shot 15-of-33 from 3-point range at Adidas Gauntlet. Can make an occasional rhythm pull up.
-Nice potential defensively due to his physical tools and solid effort level. Can cover a lot of ground on closeouts thanks to his long strides, fluidity and length. Will occasionally block jump shots. Quick hands, fairly sharp instincts in the passing lanes. Solid lateral quickness. Should become an impact defender as his frame fills out.

Weaknesses
-Had a poor showing at the U17 World Championships posting an 8.0 PER in six games while playing 18 minutes a game.
-Really struggles to finish in traffic and score inside the arc in general - 10.0 2P% (1-of-10) at the U17s and 29.2 2P% (7-of-24) at Adidas Gauntlet. More smooth than explosive, especially vertically. Doesn't absorb contact all that well around the rim. Can improve his off hand and add more craft in the form of speed finishes and floaters.
-Still learning how to put all of his skills together and use his fluidity, strides and ability to change speeds and directions in order to create for himself and others. Has a tendency to blend in at times. Can be more aggressive. Turns down open looks at times.
-Has some touch from the perimeter but is slow getting into his jumper and has a very low release point that leads to a wide variance of results. Needs to have time and space to get his shot off, which limits him in mid-range spots and while on the move. 4-of-16 from 3-point range at the U17s. 68.4% from the free throw line in 13 games in DX database.
-Could use some polish and experience in terms of his point guard skills. While he has some vision he tends to kill his dribble at times or telegraph passes. Jumps to pass. Not always as accurate as he could be with his delivery. Not very vocal on the floor. Can become more advanced of a pick and roll playmaker use both sides of the floor more frequently.
-Good effort overall on defense but he doesn't always fully sit down in a stance and slide like he has the tools to do. Not all that adept at using his body to contain penetration. Awareness off the ball comes and goes. Can improve fundamentally.

Outlook
Quickly was the odd man out of sorts during the USA's dominant run through the U17 World Championships. He was the only player to post lower than a 16 PER and didn't have much of an impact in his 18.4 minutes per game. His performance showed that he still has a ways to go in terms of shooting the ball consistently, scoring inside the arc, and becoming a more reliable point guard. With that said, this is only a six-game sample and there's still quite a bit to like about Quickley long term given his physical tools, potential as a shooter, ability to play different speeds, flashes as a playmaker and defensive potential. Quickly figures to end up at a high major program and is certainly worth tracking as he develops, regardless of his less than stellar performance.


Andrew Nembhard, 6'4, Point Guard, Vaughn Secondary School, 2000, Canada

Strengths
-Good size for a point guard at 6'4.
-Solid frame
-Strong ball-handler. Can play at different speeds
-Good feel for the game for his age
-Unselfish player who likes to distribute and has solid court vision
-Pushes the ball ahead in transition intelligently
-Plays under control. Doesn't turn the ball over
-Will make an occasional catch and shoot 3-pointer
-Gets in passing lanes with nice anticipation skills. Size and smarts gives him some upside defensively long-term
-Born in 2000 (most players here born in 1999)

Weaknesses
-Doesn't have a long wingspan (6'4) relative to his height
-Average athlete. Fluid, but not overly explosive. Struggles to turn the corner in the half-court
-Very limited scorer. Neither prolific nor efficient.
-Lacks aggressiveness offensively in the half-court. Avoids contact inside the paint. Poor finisher around the basket. Just tosses the ball up at the glass.
-Almost never gets to the free throw line
-Jump-shot is a major work in progress, especially off the dribble. Mechanics are not consistent. Big ball dip. Elbow flailing all over the place.
-Lacks a degree of physicality on defense. Upright, falls asleep in his stance at times. Struggles to get over screens


Javonte Smart, 6'4 ½, Point Guard, Scotlandville Magnet HS, 1999

Strengths
-Excellent physical profile for a point guard prospect - 6' 4.5” with a 6' 7” wingspan and a strong, proportionate 190-pound frame. Can handle contact around the rim. Good rebounder.
-Not overly explosive but has a strong first step from a standstill
-Has improved his ability to change speeds and directions. Uses hesitation crossovers and in and out crossovers to beat the big defender. Strong “hang dribble” game. Can play out of ball screens effectively.
-Has the size to see over the top of the defense and facilitate - 6.9 assists and 1.9 turnovers per 40 minutes at FIBA U17 World Championships. Can use either hand to pass. Shows some occasional flair with no look drop off passes.
-Capable, although inconsistent, shooter out to three. Best with his feet set.
-Very good on ball defender thanks to his size, length and quick feet. Playing with good effort on the defensive end of the floor. Does a great job using his body to contain penetration. Should be able to guard smaller two guards as well in time. Good instincts playing the passing lanes.

Weaknesses
-More smooth than explosive. Lacks an extra gear. Needs a ball screen to get by an elite defender. Has to rely on his size and touch around the rim, where he made 6-of-13 shots at the U17s. Average leaper. Can add more crafty ways to finish around the rim. 42.9% from 2-point range at the U17s and 36.1% from 2-point range in 41 games in our database.
-Capable shooter but isn't all that consistent - 5-of-20 from 3-point range at U17s and 46-of-177 (26.0%) according to 41 games in our database. Flat-footed stroke from three. Doesn't get into his shot that quickly. Low release point. Ball comes off the side of his hand at times. Doesn't get that tight of rotation.
-How is he going to score efficiently in the half court? What's his bread and butter? 10.6 points per 40 minutes at the U17s. Doesn't get much separation in shot creation situations. Can add more ways to get to his pull up jumper. Improved handle but is still figuring out how to use it to get to high percentage spots on the floor.
-Doesn't get to the foul line all that often - 2.5 times per 40 minutes at the U17s.
-Can improve as a decision maker. Will settle for deep jumpers early in the clock or telegraph passes on the perimeter. 3.2 turnovers per 40 minutes in 41 games in our database. Feel for the game and basketball IQ are still progressing. Can be indecisive at times.
-Gets a bit loose with the ball. Commits unforced errors. Not the most vocal guard out there.
-Can get lost off the ball on defense

Outlook
Smart struggled to score efficiently at the U17s, posting the second-lowest PER on the team (16.0) while shooting 42.9% from 2-point range and 25.0% from 3-point range. The 17-year-old Baton Rouge native showed that he has room to improve his shooting stroke and shot creation abilities in the half court to make up for his so-so athleticism. Although he wasn't a prolific scorer, Smart still did some really nice things as a playmaker and defender. Albeit not dramatic, he's made strides in his game over the course of the last year and certainly has enough intrigue to continue evaluating thanks to his physical tools and overall versatility.


Eray Akyuz, 6'2, Point Guard, Banvit, 2000, Turkey

Strengths
-Good size for a point guard
-Basically the leader of the Turkish team that surprisingly made it all the way to the tournament Finals, despite being one of the youngest players in attendance at the tournament, at just 15 years old
-Very creative player
-Strong ball-handler
-Solid quickness off the bounce
-Operates at different speeds
-Plays with great confidence. Not afraid of the big moments
-Can make shots off the dribble in the mid-range area
-Has a nice feel for the game
-Strong anticipation skills allow him to get in the passing lanes

Weaknesses
-Narrow frame
-Limited offensive player overall. Not a prolific or efficient scorer
-Lacks the strength or explosiveness needed to finish effectively around the basket. Can't always finish what he creates. Rarely gets to the free throw line
-3-point shooting percentages have been low in every setting he's played in. 19% in 31 games
-Decision making is questionable at times. Extremely high turnover rate (5 per-40). Picks up his dribble unnecessarily
-Can't really guard anyone at the moment. Puts in a minimal effort. Barely bends his knees. Gets torched off the dribble relentlessly. Will he be able to defend his position down the road?

Outlook Young Turkish guard who shows nice creativity as a lead guard. Plays with confidence that belies his age. Has a lot of work to do on his body and offensive polish.


Lautaro Lopez, 6'2, Point Guard, Almagra, 1999

Strengths
-Quick and fluid guard who can operate at different speeds
-Strong ball-handler with excellent footwork as a driver
-Has an extra gear he can get to to help him create off the bounce
-Has impressive timing and body control attacking defenders and weaving through traffic
-Creative passer who can make very difficult passes look easy. Has a lot of flair to his game
-Loves to push the ball in the open floor
-Has a decent shooting stroke. Can make shots both with his feet set and off the dribble
-Advanced feel for the game for his age

Weaknesses
-Body is a major work in progress. Very narrow in both the upper and lower body
-Struggles mightily finishing inside the paint. Everything is a difficult floater
-Can get very wild with his decision making at times. Careless turnovers. Averaged more turnovers than assists in Zaragoza
-Shot selection is not ideal
-Jumper is definitely on the streaky side. Career 24% 3-point percentage in 28 games in DX database. 65% FT%
-Can he score enough to keep defenses honest?
-Very limited defensively due to his narrow frame and overall average tools

Outlook One of the tournament's leading scorers at 17 points per game. Had some impressive outings, but struggled with consistency and efficiency, which has been the case throughout his career. Shows tremendous creativity and moxy from the point guard position, but average physical tools may limit his overall upside.

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