National Prep Showcase--Best of The Rest|
November 26, 2008
Standing a tall 7'2 with intriguing athleticism to boot, Mbao (Unranked by Rivals, Scout, and ESPN) definitely passes the initial look test for a basketball prospect, even with his skinny frame that could use quite a few more pounds. He's very long and fairly mobile, though he doesn't seem to be at his physical peak just yet, lacking in coordination, conditioning, and quickness, all of which could improve over time, though.
Looking at his actual game, Mbao is clearly still a work in progress, not being able to consistently contribute much on the offensive end. He relies heavily on an awkward turnaround jumper in the post, which he actually hit a handful of times this weekend, but he struggles to get post positioning, he's not especially quick with his moves, and he doesn't show great awareness in choosing his moves. When trying to go to counter-moves, you see the game slow down dramatically for him, and it's easy to see his effectiveness dropping when guarded by more formidable opponents.
Aside from flashes of post moves, Mbao gets some boards due to his size, but doesn't show great pursuit, and doesn't really fight especially hard in crowds. He also doesn't show the ability to power up much around the rim, mostly relying on finesse moves despite being half a foot taller than most of his competition. On the defensive end, he actually shows decent timing on his blocks in the lane without drawing fouls, though doesn't show great range in rotating over.
Clearly still a work in progress, Mbao might need some time to develop, but should wind up on a high major somewhere due to his excellent size and potential.
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Looking ahead: Spanish U-20 Circuit
August 3, 2007
Another intriguing international recruitment for Gran Canaria (with the likes of the first-round draftee Joel Freeland and the Hoop-Summit participant Ryan Richards), Mbao is an extremely raw young big man, but at the same time enjoys the kind of potential that only his great length can provide. Standing over seven feet and coupled with a nice wingspan, the kid displays a skinny body in an average frame. For a guy his size, Mbao is a pretty athletic player, running the court quite well and showing some interesting reactiveness (always considering his young age). He's a coordinated player who moves on the court with a certain feel for the game; nothing spectacular, but still you can see a serious project of a basketball player.
At this point, Mbao does most of the damage on the defensive end. He fully takes advantage of his length to change many shots, actively contesting either his own opponent's shots or on defensive rotations. Actually, he shows quite good positioning and mobility on the defensive end, and some interesting timing when he goes for the block, which is not that often. Offensively, he lacks any serious go-to move. He barely shows any type of shooting stroke (his free-throw percentages are awful) and his low post game is still pretty ineffective; not only is he not strong enough to play physical down low, but his footwork looks unpolished and his jump-hook very rusty at this point. On the other hand, he's a pretty nice passer out of the low post and can eventually put the ball on the floor. Sometimes he lacks some aggressiveness to attack the rim, and as the game advances, he might look a bit passive on court, too static without the ball, not filling spaces quick enough.
A long-term project, extremely raw on the offensive end, very immature on the physical side, still intriguing but extremely unpredictable as far as his eventual development is concerned.
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