USA Basketball U16 Training Camp Scouting Reports: Big Men

USA Basketball U16 Training Camp Scouting Reports: Big Men
Jun 04, 2015, 10:53 am
A look at nine of the most intriguing big men prospects in attendance at the USA Basketball U16 Training Camp, including measurements, scouting reports and video interviews.

A consensus top-10 recruit, Wendell Carter (#5 Scout, #10 ESPN, #8 Rivals, #3 24/7) continues to grow, adding around an inch of height, wingspan and reach since last October according to the measurements, bringing him closer to NBA center dimensions. The same can be said for his basketball ability, as he was an absolute dominant force at times during the training camp this past week. Carter can score with his back to the basket thanks to his ripped 249 pound frame, solid footwork, and nice instincts, using hook shots and powerful explosive finishes, but didn't force the issue much, as he's extremely patient for a player his age. He was a consistent presence on the offensive glass with his near 7-4 wingspan, and defensively, wasn't afraid to throw his body around, even if he isn't much of a shot-blocker at this stage considering his excellent reach.

Carter is very mature physically, which can be misleading at this age, so he'll need to continue to work on his skill-level, particularly his jump-shot, which is not very pretty at the moment. He was one of the easiest players to pencil into the 12-man final roster from the 33 invited, as there are very few 16-years old in the world who can handle a player with his size, strength, skill and feel. He has a great future ahead of him.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

One of the youngest players on the roster, pogo stick Jalen Hill (#33 Scout, NR ESPN, #37 Rivals, #35 24/7) measured 6' 7” in shoes with a long 6' 11.5” wingspan and a 209-pound frame. Hill is undersized for a big man at this stage of his development but he could very well still add a couple of inches, as he doesn't turn 16 until December. Hill already sports an excellent, chiseled frame that still has room to grow. The Corona native is one of the most athletically gifted players in his class, evident by the way he moves around the floor like a wing and springs off the floor with ease, showing terrific instincts for the ball.

Hill is more of a shot-blocker and finisher right now, as he struggles to score outside of the paint and doesn't show great touch in general. He has good hands, though, and some developing ball-handling skills. The Centennial High School big man has the tools to defend multiple positions, and if he's able to add a couple of inches he could very well become one of the better long term prospects to come out of this group.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

Class of 2017 forward Kevin Knox (NR Scout, NR ESPN, NR Rivals, #42 24/7) measured 6' 8” in shoes with an average 6' 9” wingspan, but an impressive 194-pound frame with a ton of room to grow. While Knox's length is underwhelming, there's a good chance the 15-year-old will still grow a couple of inches, evident by his big feet and hands. Despite the lack of length, Knox should have a very good physical profile for a power forward as he continues to grow and develop.

The Tampa product (and dual-threat quarterback) is already a tremendous athlete, showing the ability to play above the rim with ease. He's quick off the floor and has a lot of pop as a leaper. Knox isn't all that polished on the offensive end, but he always seems to find the ball and has the fundamentals to develop a reliable mid-range jumper in time. Defensively Knox already shows good instincts as a shot blocker and has the athleticism and size to check both perimeter players and bigs. Knox is still a bit raw but he should continue to improve as he develops physically and polishes his offensive game. His play throughout the week left a great impression, as he came in as one of the bigger unknowns and left having established himself as one of the best long-term prospects in attendance.

He discussed his football background and more with us in the following interview:

One of the most improved players from October to June among those that attended both the USA Basketball Development Camp and this training camp, 2018 recruit Jordan Brown (#6 Future150) not only grew an inch and added 7 pounds to his now 190-pound frame, but also became a significantly better player.

He has good size for a big man at 6-9, to go along with a near 7-foot wingspan and nice athletic ability. Offensively, he showed very intriguing versatility, with the ability to create his own shot from the perimeter in a straight line, execute pretty spin moves with impressive body control, and very soft touch on his floaters. He has good shooting form, with the ability to knock down mid-range jumpers fairly consistently, and even some off the dribble shooting prowess too. He was active on both the offensive and defensive glass utilizing his length, quickness, explosiveness and solid timing, even if his lanky frame doesn't always allow him to finish around the rim.

While Brown's frame has a long ways to go, it looks like should fill out nicely considering he's only 15 years old and has big shoulders. That will help him defensively, where he struggles at times. He's not going to wow anyone with his production anytime soon, but has a chance to develop into a nice versatile power forward down the road if he continues to work hard.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

New Jersey native Nazreon Reid (#2 Future150) hasn't grown since last October, but has added eight pounds to his impressive (now 223 pound) frame, and still has an excellent 7-1 wingspan and 9-foot standing reach.

One of the most talented players in attendance, Reid nevertheless didn't make it past the first roster cuts, as he doesn't seem to have a great understanding of what his strengths and weaknesses are on the floor, and too often got caught up in trying to show off his perimeter skills. Reid himself told us he views himself as a perimeter player, not a power forward, and from a skills standpoint, we can see why he feels that way. He can handle the ball smoothly, is a capable 3-point shooter with his feet set, and has outstanding footwork, body control and natural scoring instincts for a player his size. Some of the most impressive plays of the week belonged to him, including going coast to coast off a defensive rebound, pulling off impressive spin moves, and finishing with both hands around the basket with some nice oomph off two feet.

Unfortunately, he was also responsible for some not so pretty moments as well, forcing the issue badly at times freezing out his teammates, committing wild turnovers, and jacking up bad shots early in the offense. If Reid can develop his basketball IQ and ability to fit within a team concept to match his extremely impressive talent-level, we're almost certainly looking at a future NBA player as a versatile and skilled power forward. But he'll need some good coaching and plenty of guidance to get there, as he didn't always leave the best impression, and it was not particularly surprising to see him eventually released from the roster considering what USA Basketball is looking to accomplish from a team standpoint.

Still, it's important to remember that he is only 15 years old…

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

Austin Wiley (#8 Scout, #11 ESPN, #12 Rivals, #9 24/7) was in street clothes in Colorado Springs, as he was only invited by USA Basketball to rehab the torn patella tendon surgery he had back in April. Wiley told us he foolishly played through the injury over the course of the season, but eventually elected to have the surgery, which will sideline him through most of the summer.

Despite not taking part in any of the competitive action, Wiley was still a standout just by virtue of his measurements, which revealed continued physical development that made him one of the most impressive specimens in attendance. Wiley now stands just a hair under 6-10 in shoes, with a 241 pound frame (8 pounds heavier than last October), a 7-4 wingspan and a 9-2 standing reach. Only 16 years old, he is well on his way to being a NBA-sized center, as long as he can stay healthy. He went out of his way to tell us that despite the fact that both his parents played at Auburn, he is still very much wide open as far as his college recruitment is concerned.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

Connor Vanover was perhaps the biggest surprise of the 30 players participating at this training camp, eventually earning a spot in the final 12-player roster that will travel to Argentina for the U16 FIBA Americas Championship. The 15-year old added 12 pounds to his frame since last October and now stands 7-1 without shoes, with a Rudy Gobert-esqe 9-6 standing reach.

Despite the added weight, Vanover is still very frail physically as you would imagine a player his age might be, weighing just 211 pounds at the moment. He struggles to hold any real position inside the paint on either end of the floor, but shows an impressive skill-level facing the rim, including terrific shooting touch and range that extends out to the 3-point line.

Vanover is very much a work in progress, but drops small glimpses of talent from time to time, including solid mobility, a strong basketball IQ and a terrific attitude, which all hints at good things to come in the distant future. He needs to be very careful not to add too much bulk too quickly, as the biggest challenge many players his size encounter is often just staying healthy.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

The youngest among the 33 players invited, not turning 16 for another nine months, Carte'Are Gordon (#15 24/7) was among the last players released from the final roster, but nevertheless had an extremely positive week and proved to be among the most productive prospects in attendance. He showed up in much better shape than at the USA Basketball Development Camp last October, and also appeared to play with a greater sense of urgency and with a higher intensity level.

Gordon is undersized for a power forward, standing around 6-7 in shoes, although his 7-foot wingspan and big hands helps compensate for that somewhat. He's already relatively mature physically, at 251 pounds, with big, thick calves, so hopefully for his sake he can continue to grow another inch or two, which would help him significantly. He's also not particularly athletic, at least not in a traditional sense, as he's neither incredibly quick nor explosive.

He makes up for his average physical tools with tremendous instincts and polish for a player his age. Gordon was constantly in great position on the offensive glass, outworking players significantly bigger and more athletic than him thanks to his long arms and outstanding timing and anticipation skills pursuing loose balls. He also has a nice skill-level offensively, particularly inside the paint, where he was very good footwork and soft touch as a finisher. His jump-shot is very much a work in progress, something he'll need to work on considering his lack of size, but he did prove capable of handling the ball a bit and executing some advanced moves for someone his age. He's also a very good passer, which is not a surprising considering the feel for the game he shows on the glass.

Gordon is not a great defender at this stage, and probably doesn't project as one considering his average physical tools. He did prove capable of stepping out onto the perimeter and sliding his feet a bit on the pick and roll, and also got in the passing lanes a bit as well. He's not explosive enough to protect the rim, so becoming as versatile as he can defensively (and likely slimming down a bit) will help his chances quite a bit.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

Kaleb Wesson posted some of the most impressive measurements of anyone in the camp, with his 7-2 wingspan and 9-1 ½ standing reach. That's pretty impressive considering he's only 15-years old. He measured 6-8 without shoes, and 290 pounds, which is very much on the high side for someone that age, and something that affects him constantly on both ends of the floor.

Wesson has excellent footwork inside the post, helping him executing some very pretty spin and pivot moves throughout the week. He has huge hands, and very soft touch, which gives him great potential as a back to the basket scorer considering his strength and length. He's very much a below the rim player at the moment, showing very little explosiveness, and struggles badly on defense due to his poor lateral quickness and inability to get off the ground to protect the basket. Wesson was one of the lesser known prospects attended to this camp, and for good reason, but if he continues to work on his body and skill-level, this certainly won't be the last we hear of him.

We talked to him about as development as a basketball player and much more in the following interview:

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