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Nike Global Challenge Scouting Reports: Power Forwards

Nike Global Challenge Scouting Reports: Power Forwards
Jul 25, 2015, 09:47 am
Scouting reports on the top power forward prospects who played at the Nike Global Challenge including Jonathan Isaac, O'Shae Brissett, Miles Bridges, Jarred Vanderbilt, Simi Shittu, Eddie Ekiyor and Jinqiu Hu.


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Jonathan Isaac, 6-10, PF/SF, Bronx, New York, 2016 High School Class

The ultra-talented forward played only one game (15 minutes) before leaving with what appeared to be an injury. During those 15 minutes Isaac scored six points, grabbed six rebounds and showed some of his strengths and weaknesses in the process.

Having shot up a reported six inches in the past year and a half, Isaac has elite fluidity for a player his size while sporting a solid base, decent length and a thin upper body. With his blend of physical tools and skill set, Isaac is simply capable of doing things most players at his size may never be able to do.

The Bronx native looked very comfortable handling the ball, attacked in a straight line going both right and left, threw down a big tip dunk, and finished a give and go while displaying soft hands and nice touch around the rim. Isaac has a very advanced handle for his size, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The 6' 10” forward broke off plays and went into isolations several times, only to miss pull up jumpers or turn it over. He can make the simple pass but his overall feel for the game and decision-making can improve, which should come with more experience at his new height.

Although he was quite out of control at times, Isaac's aggressive nature was a pleasant surprise, especially considering his young frame and lack of bulk. From an offensive standpoint, Isaac is more of a combo forward right now, but if he continues to develop physically he'll be able to play either on the wing or operate as a face-up four who can stretch it out and put it on the deck to attack in a variety of ways.

While Isaac is extremely versatile on the offensive end, he has the tools to be very much of the same defensively while rebounding his position thanks to his size and quick leaping ability. The IMG product has tremendous footwork for a player his size, making him very comfortable defending perimeter players. He's able to get in a stance, slide side to side, and use his size and length to contest jumpers or make plays on the ball if he gets beat. Isaac is better-suited guarding threes than fours right now given the development curve of his body, but as he continues to fill out his interior defense should improve.

Isaac does have quite a ways to go in terms of defensive fundamentals, however. He reaches far too often on the perimeter and isn't very comfortable defending pick and roll as the defensive big man. Isaac can do a better job playing with a more consistent motor to help mask some of those limited fundamentals as well. Isaac has stretches where he'll jog up the floor rather than rim run, or reach on defense rather than slide with his man.

All things considered, Isaac is a big-time talent who will be able to play multiple positions at a high level on both ends of the floor, making him a very interesting prospect to continue to monitor moving forward.


O'Shae Brissett, 6-6, PF/SF, Pickering Ontario, 2017 High School Class

Brissett had a fairly quiet tournament from a production standpoint, in large part due to the role he played – 18 minutes a game (at mostly the four and five) in more of an energy role.

Despite his somewhat limited level of responsibility, however, the bouncy forward still found ways to impact the game on both ends of the floor, while showing his talent level and high ceiling.

After all, it's hard to miss on O'Shae's upside after watching him get up and down the floor a few times. At 6' 6” with a 7' wingspan, thin legs and a solid frame, he has the physical tools, fluidity and athleticism of a wing prospect. He plays above the rim with ease, moves well laterally, and can attack in a straight line from the perimeter.

Brissett did most of his damage in transition, filling the lanes with energy and even hammering home a pair of dunks in the process. In the half court, the forward is still a bit raw offensively. He doesn't have the most natural basketball instincts and can tend to look like an athlete playing basketball rather than a true basketball player.

But with that said, the foundational skill set is there for Brissett. He shows really nice touch and fundamentals on his perimeter jumper (he knocked down at least three mid-range jumpers during the tournament), has the fluidity to put it on the deck and get to the rim, and can finish effectively thanks to his length and explosiveness.

Brissett's offensive skill set isn't completely developed at this stage, but he has the tools to become more of a wing player in time (or a face-up four if he's able to grow a couple of inches).

On the defensive end Brissett is still a work in progress both from a reaction time and fundamental standpoint. He can move and cover ground but his natural instincts, ability to play without fouling and pick and roll defense still have quite a bit of room for growth.

On the bright side, Brissettt plays with impressive energy and toughness despite weighing about 190 pounds with very little mass on his lower body. Although he's not one to move bodies with a box out, Brissett isn't afraid to mix it up and attack the ball at its peak on the glass. He does a nice job crashing the offensive glass as well, using his length and leaping ability to keep plays alive.

Brissett is a bit caught between positions both skill-development and height/strength wise, but his blend of physical tools and potential as a floor spacer make him a very interesting prospect to track moving forward.


Miles Bridges, 6-8, PF/SF, Detroit, Michigan, 2016 High School Class

Bridges had an impressive four-game tournament, filled with highlight dunks, rebounds, blocks, steals and overall efficient play. The Detroit native and combo forward has had a tendency to play outside of himself at times in the past, but at Nike Global Challenge he did a nice job playing to his strengths (for the most part) and it showed statistically. Bridges averaged 24.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 1.9 steals and 2.2 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted while shooting an outrageous 73.7% from inside the arc.

Bridges punched home what seemed like at least 10 thunderous dunks over the course of the four-game tournament, which played a big part in his high field goal percentage. Despite a fairly thick frame, Bridges is a big-time leaper (mostly off of two feet, however) who thrives in transition, catches lobs in pick and roll and can be a nightmare on the offensive glass when motivated.

Bridges also has impressive body control when he attacks off the bounce and can more or less get wherever he wants on the floor thanks to his combination of strength and explosiveness.

While his ball skills have improved, Bridges still has the skill set of a face-up four/hybrid forward than a straight three. He's not overly advanced with the ball in the half court, struggles to make shots from the perimeter (1-of-9 from three with loose mechanics), and isn't the most comfortable passer on the move or versus pressure.

Bridges is steadily improving in all of those areas, but his success at the college level will most likely come as a mismatch power forward given his ability to finish above the rim inside, rebound, and defend bigs.

On the defensive end, Bridges plays much bigger (and longer) than his measurements thanks to his quick and explosive leaping. While he's more vertically explosive than he is quick twitch laterally, he's constantly altering shots both as an on ball defender and weak side defender. Bridges played with good energy defensively and was flying all over the defensive glass.

From a mental standpoint, Bridges does have a tendency to get a bit too emotional, showing less than stellar body language on misses or negative plays. In addition to his maturity level, Bridges also still has to improve his handle, shooting ability, and feel for the game to be able to play the three full time, but for the time being he'll be an absolute nightmare of a matchup as a four at the college level while he continues to develop the skill set to match his excellent combination of strength and leaping ability.


Jarred Vanderbilt, 6-8, PF/SF, Houston, Texas, 2017 High School Class

As is the case with almost every tournament or showcase he attends, Jarred Vanderbilt was easily one of the most versatile players at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge. The 6' 8” Swiss army knife out of Houston does a little of everything on both ends of the floor and finds himself around the ball on nearly every possession.

Vanderbilt finished the four-game tournament averaging 18.0 points, 14.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.2 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted on 46.4% from two and 25% from three.

The lanky lefty is at his best crashing the defensive glass, pushing the ball in transition and making something happen. Vanderbilt has a nose for the ball on the defensive boards and shows tremendous instincts and effort in that area. Once he grabs the board he's very fluid with the ball, playing with his head up, looking for quick-hitting opportunities.

While Vanderbilt can rebound, handle and pass, he does have a tendency to get very careless with the ball or try and make the homerun play (4.9 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted). The vision is there but Vanderilt can improve his ability to protect the ball when on the move.

In the half court, Vanderiblt does most of his damage off the ball. He's an excellent cutter and an outstanding offensive rebounder. He shows tremendous feel moving off the ball and almost always crashes the glass from the weak side. Vanderbilt can operate with the ball a little bit in the half court as he's a comfortable straight line slasher, but he doesn't have overly long strides, he isn't a threat to shoot it (either off the catch or the bounce) and has very average touch around the rim with both hands. While he's excellent off the ball, Vanderbilt doesn't offer much in terms of scoring in the half court.

On the defensive side of the ball, Vanderbilt is a monster. He can guard at least three positions thanks to his size, length, lateral quickness and instincts. Vanderbilt is better defending the perimeter at this stage because of his extremely thin lower body coupled with his ability to fight over screens and contest jumpers.

Overall Vanderbilt is a very unique prospect who is going to do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor at the college level. He has some major areas of improvement to take the next step as a prospect (become a capable shooter, cut down the turnovers and finish effectively inside) but for now, it's important to appreciate the bevy of talents that the 16-year-old has to offer.


Simi Shittu, 6-9, PF/SF, Burlington, Ontario, 2018 High School Class

The youngest player at Nike Global Challenge at age 15, Shittu fit right in physically and, as he always does, played with constant energy on both ends of the floor. Shittu hauled in an outrageous 8.9 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, a testament to his motor and physical tools at 6' 9” with a 7' wingspan and a fairly developed frame for his age.

Shittu was all over the place, both good and bad. While his energy and effort certainly help on the offensive glass, Shittu is very out of control when he touches the ball offensively. He doesn't have a great feel for who he is as a player and will force up contested jumpers or drive into a pack of defenders without a plan (5.2 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted).

For all of his out of control maneuvers, however, Shittu will make a play or two that cause you to wonder how he'll look in a year or two with more polish and experience.

Shittu showed outstanding body control on a couple of half court drive and finishes, one featuring a quick left to right behind the back dribble and the other a smooth spin move and finish in traffic.

Again, Shittu does a lot of wild things with the ball in the half court and is more fluid than vertically explosive at this stage, but it's those one or two plays that show his talent level for his age.

Shittu also appeared to have made some very slight improvements in his jump shot as well. He still features a very slow release with a varying release point, but his feet aren't nearly as wide as they have been in the past. Although the results weren't there, the ball is starting to come out of Shittu's hand more fluidly at the free throw line.

On the defensive end, Shittu was a mixed bag, making plays with his length and quickness off the ball, but also finding himself in a bit of foul trouble. As is the case with virtually every 15-year-old on the planet, Shittu doesn't have great fundamentals on the defensive end. Shittu is able to get by with his length, quickness and motor, however.

Overall Shittu is still more of an out of control energy forward at this stage, but all of the high-level experience he's gotten at such a young age will serve him well and he'll most likely look like a much more polished prospect as he gets older.


Eddie Ekiyor, 6-9, PF, Ottawa, Ontario, 2016 High School Class

Canadian big man Eddie Ekiyor undoubtedly helped himself at Nike Global Challenge and most likely vaulted himself into high-major status with some of the best college coaches in the country on hand.

Ekiyor is a physical, high-motor big man who can really rebound, move, and defend his position. Ekiyor is no dud offensively either, as he possesses soft hands and touch around the rim, and has very solid footwork for a player his age.

From a physical standpoint, Ekiyor has adequate size (6' 9” in shoes), good length (7' 1” wingspan), very wide shoulders and torso (still not overly developed but frame will fill out nicely), and is pretty light on his feet although he may not be a lob threat every time down.

Ekiyor does a nice job combining that physical profile with a high motor and tough mentality. He's physical on the boards and showed an ability to elevate and grab defensive rebounds in traffic.

Ekiyor also does a nice job defending his position, giving up little ground in the post and moving well laterally in face up situations. He can hedge and recover versus pick and roll as well, although he may not be a consistent “switch and contain” type of big man just yet.

On the offensive end, Ekiyor relies mostly on rim-runs, offensive rebounds, drop offs, and an occasional face up drive. Ekiyor's strength and motor shine through most on the offensive boards (4.1 per 40 minutes pace adjusted at Global Challenge), where he's able to move bodies and relentlessly pursue his own misses in the paint.

Ekiyor also does a nice job making himself available and keeping the ball high on the interior. He dives hard to the rim and can finish with either hand. He's a good, not great athlete from a vertical standpoint, but Ekiyor shouldn't have all that much trouble finishing versus length at the college level.

The Ottawa native also showed glimpses of a face-up attack game from 15 feet and in. He went to an up and under move on two different occasions, and uses his combination of mobility and strength to get where he wants out of face up situations, although it's not a consistent weapon yet as he struggles to make jumpers from mid-range spots.

All things considered, Ekiyor was a pleasant surprise and one of the more steady bigs at the Nike Global Challenge. Whichever college nabs the Canadian big man is getting a tough, mobile big who has the makings of a developing offensive game.


Jinqiu Hu, 6-11, PF/C, Xinjiang

The 6' 11” mobile big man had a lot of peaks and valleys during three games at Nike Global Challenge, highlighted by a 26-point, 14-rebound performance against USA South. For the tournament, Hu averaged 19.5 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted and shot 47.2% from the field.

The Xingjian native is an intriguing long-term prospect from a height and mobility standpoint. At 6' 11” he has excellent size for a power forward and is very fleet of foot, evident by his ability to run the floor, catch and pivot fluidly, and defend the perimeter in pick and roll/face-up situations. Hu possesses soft hands and good footwork, which resulted in a number of impressive dive and finishes out of pick and roll situations.

Hu's quick feet were most apparent on the defensive end, as he more than held his own defending the pick and roll, often switching onto guards, staying in a stance and forcing them to give up the ball.

Hu also had a couple of textbook closeouts versus guards where he not only ran them off of their spot but was able to slide and deter any shots in the paint.

Although he's not a monster rim protector due to average length and leaping ability (he did meet a US player at the rim and send the dunk attempt away with force), Hu can more than hold his own guarding perimeter oriented power forwards.

The 17-year-old big man does need to add quite a bit of strength to bang on the interior, however. Hu sports an average frame that should be able to fill out somewhat in time, though he will most likely never be a dominant physical force from a strength standpoint. Hu may not be a physical specimen, but he plays tougher than his appearance in spurts.

Though that toughness can come and go, he isn't immune to putting his body on an offensive rebounder or diving into the post after a switch. With that said, there's no question that Hu goes through bouts of passivity in which he doesn't call for the ball on a duck in opportunity or fails to go into the body of the defender. Hu had a handful of shots blocked by Pan-Africa big man Ike Obiagu, mostly because he went up soft, didn't use shot fakes, and never really tried to hammer one home. Hu's mean steak is inconsistent, but that should improve as he begins to add weight to his frame.

Hu also has room to expand his offensive game. He has nice overall touch around the rim and is willing to use both hands, but he came up empty handed on several short-range jumpers. His natural touch isn't bad, but he tends to torque his body and bit too much and hang onto the ball a tad too long on his jumper.

With that said, Hu should be able to develop a reliable mid-range game in time given his natural touch and mechanics at the free throw line. Hu also isn't much of a distributor at this stage of his development. He can do a better job reading the defense and finding cutters out of the post (0.5 assists and 3.6 turnovers per 40 minutes pace adjusted).

All in all, Hu is a very intriguing big man prospect thanks to his size, agility, touch on the interior, potential in the mid-range and flashes of toughness. Hu has been playing in the FIBA circuit since 2013 and should have many more opportunities to prove himself as he continues to develop physically.

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