|Euroleague Final Four: Nike International Junior Tournament|
May 10, 2008
Showing up in Madrid without his inside African buddy Michel Diouff, Papa Abdoulaye enjoyed more chances to showcase his abilities, but ended up exposing his extremely raw game.
Nobody will argue about his superb physical tools. Enjoying nice size, he possesses a terrific wingspan and a nicely built and already pretty strong frame, a lot better than your typical skinny African. On the other hand, his well-developed body only fuels the uncertainty about his real age.
Anyway, when it comes time to play basketball, Abdoulaye has little to offer. The most intriguing part about his game is probably his jumper, which he seems to be working hard on, having delivered pretty orthodox mechanics with a high release point while showing decent accuracy (actually solid if we talk about the charity stripe). He also tried to produce from the low post, but struggled here noticeably to get anything going, as he doesn’t enjoy the footwork and the basketball IQ to take advantage of his body. At least, when he managed to release the ball, he did show a very raw jump hook that he could actually deliver with his left hand also.
On defense, he stands out with his intimidation skills, especially his ability to elevate really high for blocks on defensive rotations, showing nice timing in his leaping efforts. However, he’s not a solid player here, easily being baited with pump-fakes, his positioning is not the best around, and he’s neither particularly physical in the paint.
We’ll see what the future is for Abdoulaye. History unfortunately tells us that African players in this mold struggle to develop and overcome their lack of knowledge of the game, especially those taking up basketball as late as Abdoulaye (he has reportedly been playing basketball for not much more than a year).
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L’Hospitalet 2008: It’s a Big World
January 16, 2008
A greatly intriguing inside player, Abdoulaye brings to the table a terrific physical/athletic profile with some already decent notions of what this game is about, despite having been playing organized basketball for (reportedly) only one year. Not only is this kid an excellent athlete, but his frame is extremely solid and he enjoys a superb wingspan, while he easily gets off the floor, showing notable leaping ability. Indeed the most spectacular part of his game comes on the defensive end in the form of blocks, where he takes advantage of his length, vertical leap and decent timing. However, he’s still not a very good defender, as he tends to overreact, losing his defensive position too easily sometimes. Anyway, his tools are outstanding in this regard, especially since his already strong frame will readily accept the bulk he needs to battle against stronger inside players.
When it comes to offensive skills, there’s not much to speak of, but enough to keep the intrigue high. Abdoulaye already enjoys a solid mid-range jump-shot that he gets off with a rather high release point, therefore not easy to block. He also shows a real soft touch around the basket, which combined with the good coordination he enjoys, should provide him with a solid low post game down the road. The tools are there for him to work and take advantage of. Besides, he seems to understand the game nicely, reading some passes, asking for the ball in the right place, flowing with the offense. As usual with African kids who come out of nowhere, his real age is a bit of a mystery, but even though his body is notably developed, his face doesn’t look particularly mature.
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