By Hocine LOUKKAF on 9/8/2022
With U17 World Cup and multiple continental championships, this summer allows many prospects to shine, with Spain, France and the US (U17 only taken into account) as the best talent suppliers.
Juan Nunez, 2004, 6-5 Spain (Club : Ulm)
Stats : 11.6pts 4.9as 3.9rbds U20 Euro
MVP of the U20 Euro against players often two years older, Nunez may not be the most impressive athlete but has poise beyond the years with an almost 2.5 a/to ratio while shooting 43% from three. He reminds me of former NBA PG Beno Udrih or Lithuania PG Jokubaitis. He decided to leave Real Madrid to join Ulm in Germany where he should have the opportunity to gain minutes with the pro team.
Mario Saint-Supery, 2006, 6-4 Spain (Malaga)
Stats : 21.9pts 6rbds 4.1as 2.9st U16 Euro
The star of the U16 Euro, Saint-Supery is an agressive PG with already good size at his spot. Of course, he still needs to learn how to control the pace of the game and improve his shot selection as he can force the issue like it was the case in the Final against Lithuania with 2/12 from three and 6tos.
Elliott Cadeau, 2004, 6-2 Sweden (Link Academy)
Stats : 21.3pts 4as 4.3rbds 3.2st in U18 Euro Division B
A top 15 player in ESPN class of 2024 ranking, Cadeau is a scoring PG with great talent and good athleticism. He dominated the u18 Euro division B where he led Sweden to victory. Improving his a/to ratio and turning into a real PG will be the key for him if he wants to make it to the NBA.
Christian Anderson, 2006, 5-9 Germany (Lovett HS)
Stats : 16.5pts 2.8as 60% 3pt in u16 Euro Division B
Another US-based player, Christian Anderson has been dominant in the U16 Euro Division B despite his size. He has all the tools on offense to score and create separation from his defender while showcasing great consistency from three. He’s already committed to a top school, Michigan, and could potentially become an NBA player if he reaches the 6ft bar.
Ilias Kamardine, 2003, 6-4 France (Évreux)
Stats : 10.9pts 4as 3.3rbds 2.7st U20 Euro
A late bloomer in the French basketball world, Kamardine is a smooth combo guard who used the U20 Euro to gain exposure. After a slow start, he averaged 14.3pts 6.3as and only 1.6to over the last three games while combining 10st over the last two classification games.
Nolan Traore, 2006, 6-3 France (PFBB)
Stats : 13.6pts 4.6as 3.9rbds 2.4st U16 Euro
Still a raw player, normal for a 16yo kid, Traore has impressive size and athleticism at his spot, considering that his big brother Armel is 6-8. Yet, he has many things to work on, from his inconsistency (three games with 33% or less FG%) to his shooting (two games with no basket from three and at least four attempts) and being more under control on offense (4.7tos including two games with 9 and 7 tos).
Sidy Cissoko, 2004, 6/8 SG/SF, France (G-League Ignite)
Stats : 11.3pts 4.9rbds 3.1as 2.4st 0.7bl U18 Euro
One of the most hyped prospects of France u18 team, Sissoko had his ups and downs during the competition. He showcased his versatility with 4.9rbds 3.1as 2.4st and 0.7bl but struggled shooting the ball (6/24 combined from three) and had his worst game in France’s only loss against Slovenia with 3/9 FG, 0as and 4tos. He will join Team Ignite hoping to be a first rounder in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Ilian Fibleuil, 2005, 6-5 SG/SF, France (PFBB)
Stats : 12.6pts 5.9rbds 1.9st 61% 3pt U17 World Cup
One of the surprises of France u17 team, Fibleuil has elite athleticism that he uses on both ends of the floor as illustrated by his 5.9rbds and 1.9st in 19min. He also has some “unicorn” stats with 60+% from three on almost two attempts per game and a unusually low 0.9to. He may never be the #1 option in a team but has glue guy potential for sure.
Hugo Gonzalez, 2006, 6-5 Spain (Real Madrid)
Stats : 9.3pts 5rbds 0.6bl U17 World Cup
Despite being younger than most players, Gonzalez displayed great agressivity and athleticism on both ends of the floor. He will need to improve his shooting percentages which are low from three (28%) and from the charity stripe (62%) to become even more dangerous.
Dame Sarr, 2006, 6-5 SG/SF, Italy (Orange1 Basket Bassano)
Stats : 14.4pts 4.1rbds 2st 1.6bl 1.6as U16 Euro
Another rare stat-specimen, Sarr combined elite defensive numbers (2st and 1.6bl) with a very nice 39% from three on almost seven attempts per game. Yet, his lack of strength and skills inside the three point line make him a very ineffective offensive player, which he also is from the charity stripe with 59% on almost five attempts.
Cooper Flagg, 2006, 6-7 USA (Montverde Academy)
Stats : 9.3pts 10rbds 2.9bl 2.4st 1.9as 43% 3pt U17 World Cup
One of the most intriguing prospects this summer, the “Maine Attraction” was a terror for the U17 WC winner. An elite defender at age 15 with 10rbds 2.9bl and 2.4st, Flagg was also able to handle the ball, shoot and dish to his teammates. He’s still very young and it will be interesting to see how he will grow and what kind of player he will become within 2/3 years. A potential Kirilenko 2.0 in the making.
Zacharie Risacher, 2005, 6-8 France (ASVEL)
Stats : 10.4pts 4.4rbds 2.6as 0.9to 1.1bl 36% 3pt U17 World Cup
Maybe the highest projected NBA prospect, Risacher has been a bit underwhelming. On the one hand, he displayed incredible versatility with an almost 3 a/to ratio, 1.1bl and 36% 3pt like in the game against Spain where he had 5as 4rbds 2b and 0tol. Yet, in the same game, a semi-final in a U17 World Cup, he only took three shots, scored 2pts for -11 when he was on the court. Risacher needs to act like a leader, take his shots and be more agressive as illustrated by his low nine FT attempts during the competition.
Koa Peat, 2007, 6-7 USA (Perry HS)
Stats : 9.6pts 4.3rbds 1.4as 1bl U17 World Cup
Born in 2007, the son of former NFL offensive lineman Todd Peat wasn’t shy going against players often two years older. Blessed with great athletic genes, Peat came as an energizer from the bench to bring defense (4.3rbds 1bl and 0.9st) and be aggressive on offense (five games with 50% FG or more). Main weakness to work on is shooting as Peat only shot 1/5 from three and a poor 45% FT during the competition. Obviously a potential lottery pick if he can fix that issue.
Declan Duru, 2007, 6-8 Germany (Real Madrid)
Stats : 11.9pts 8.1rbds 2.4st U16 Euro Division B
Another physical freak, Duru has been dominant in the U16 Division B. He may not been the most skilled player, often using his athleticism and strength to attack the rim while shooting a poor 3/20 from three and 50% FT, but has great potential as a defensive stopper (2.4st 0.9bl). Improving also his overall IQ will be the key to develop from a raw athletic prospect to a real basketball player.
Izan Almansa, 2005, 6-10 Spain (Overtime Elite)
Stats : 12.1pts 11.9rbds 1.6bl at u17 WC, 15.7pts 10.7rbds 1.6st 1bl at U18 Euro
It’s hard to have a better summer than Almansa, who went to the Final in the U17 WC before getting the win at the U18 Euro, gaining MVP honours in both competitions. He may not be the most skilled but he’s a smart player who gives it all on the court, averaging 10+rbds and 1.1bl in both competitions, thanks to his nice mobility for a player his size and his motor. His lack of shooting (no 3pt made and a combined 17/44 FT) could limit in term of upside if he can’t improve it.
Ruben Prey, 2005, 6-10 Portugal (Joventut Badalona, Spain)
Stats : 16.3pts 8.4rbds 1.4bl 38% 3pt U20 Euro
Contrary to Almansa, Prey, who played against players three years older during the U20 Euro, was impressive offensively thanks to his ability to hit the three (38% on three attempts per game), albeit inconsistently. He also showed good rebounding and blocking skills that could help him gain minutes against pros in Spain.
Alexandre Sarr, 2005, 7-0 France (Overtime Elite)
Stats : 12pts 3.9rbds 1.4bl 44% 3pt U17 World Cup
Like Risacher, Sarr may be one of the prospects with the highest ceiling. A mobile 7ft with the ability to stretch the floor (4/9 3pt), He was one of the most consistent French players with at least 11pts on 50% FG or more in six of the seven games he played. Yet, he struggled in the semi-final against Spain and its bigs (7pts on 3/8FG 4fo) and needs to be way more impactful in the paint as he couldn’t get more than 3rbds during each of the last three games despite playing an average of 20min.
Aday Mara, 2005, 7-3 Spain (Zaragoza)
Stats : 12.6pts 5rbds 1.9bl U17 World Cup
One of the top 5 prospects of the summer, Mara displayed great IQ and offensive skills despite being that tall at such a young age. Shooting at least 58% FG in each game, Mara also had four games with 2as or more and was dominant in the Final with 16pts on 7/9 FG 5bl and 3as. Despite the small-ball trend, he’s a can’t miss prospect with rim-protection potential who will deserve a top 10 draft selection if he remains healthy.
Adem Bona, 2003, 6-9 Turkey (UCLA)
Stats : 17pts 10.9rbds 2.4bl U20 Euro
A tremendous athlete with great strength, Bona was dominant in the U20 Euro with 10.9rbds 2.4bl on 66% FG. His two main axes of development are his shooting, as he didn’t take any 3pt shot during the competition (a decent 68% FT yet), and his overall IQ as he only averaged 0.7as for 2.6tos. He will have tremendous exposure at UCLA which should lead him to a first round selection in the next draft.
Rocco Zikarsky, 2006, 7-1 Australia (Centre of Excellence)
Stats : 13.6pts 9.3rbds 3.1bl U17 World Cup
Still a bit clumsy, Zikarsky has yet evident potential, and talent, despite his age. Born in 2006, the Australian center, who might grow a few inches, was efficient both on offense and defense, shooting at least 53% FG in all but one game while getting 3blks or more in five of his seven games. He also displayed already good mobility and motor which could help him become a dominant center in the years to come.
Honorable mentions :
Bilal Coulibaly, 2004, 6-7 SG/PG, France (Boulogne-Levallois)
Stats : 7.7pts 3.9rbds 1.4st 0.7bl U18 Euro
Another breakout performer from France, Coulibaly used the competition to become an NBA prospect. A long-limbed swingman with nice athleticism and footspeed, Coulibaly uses his physical tools on defense to defend multiple positions. Like many of his country fellowmen, the shooting is the thing he has to improve the most as he only shot 3/10 from three during the U18 Euro.
Mohamed Diakite, 2006, 6-8 France (PFBB)
Stats : 9.4pts 8.4rbds 1.9st 1.6as U16 Euro
Still very early in his development, it’s hard to know what kind of player Diakité will become. Yet, despite his nice athleticism, he doesn’t project as a rim protector (only 0.3bl) and needs to improve his shooting to become efficient as a forward or stretch four (3/18 3pt before he hit 4/5 against Greece in the 3rd place game of the u16 Euro)