2016 FIBA U17 World Championship Scouting Reports: Big Men

2016 FIBA U17 World Championship Scouting Reports: Big Men
Jul 10, 2016, 12:06 pm
Scouting reports on eleven of the top big men prospects seen at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship, including Wendell Carter, Kevin Knox, Olivier Sarr, Simi Shittu, Jaren Jackson, Austin Wiley, Ragip Atar, Francisco Caffaro, Rongzhen Zhu, Samson Froling and Jordan Brown.
More 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship Scouting Reports:
-FIBA U17 Point Guards
-FIBA U17 Wing Players

Wendell Carter, 6'9, PF/C, Pace Academy, 1999

-Strong, mature frame. Somewhere between 6'9 and 6'10, but has a huge 7'3 (or possibly 7'4) wingspan that will allow him to play the center position at any level considering his ripped 254 pound frame
-Mobile and explosive. Looks like he's improved his athleticism. Quick off his feet
-Outstanding finisher around the basket. Has great hands. Bouncy and powerful off two feet. Great pick and roll target
-Has some skill around the paint as well. Throws in swooping hook shots with either hand
-Made a handful of 3s in the EYBL as well as in the USA Basketball training camp. Looks like something he can continue to develop
-Mid-range stroke looks good
-Shows some flashes putting the ball down in a straight line. Can bulldoze his way through the lane with his strength
-Solid passer. Has a good basketball IQ
-Protects the rim with timing, length and smarts
-Loves to compete on the interior on both ends of the floor. Has no qualms about throwing his body around
-Plays with great intensity level defensively. Covers ground well

-Early bloomer physically. Body hasn't changed much in the last two years.
-Very good athlete, but not a freak
-Relies heavily on his strength operating with his back to the basket. Will need to continue to add counter moves and polish as the competition stiffens.
-Still working on the consistency of his outside shot. Mechanics are sound. Just not always on balance with his footwork. Leaves a lot of his misses short
-Shot just 59% from the free throw line in EYBL play. 67% at the U17s. Career 63%
-Bites on fakes defensively. Will get backed down at times. Still working on making the right rotations and reads, particularly on the pick and roll

Outlook Starting center of US team and a catalyst of the squad. Only played 15 minutes but was dominant in his time on the floor, averaging 25 points, 18 rebounds, 2.8 steals, 2.5 blocks and 2.5 assists (and 4.9 turnovers) per-40 minutes on 62% TS%. Hasn't changed much physically, but is improving his skill-level continuously and really showing signs of becoming someone who can play both the power forward and center positions at a high level. Has an ideal combination of tools, toughness and intelligence. Mature frame and game may cause some to question the extent of his long-term upside.

Kevin Knox, 6' 8.5”, PF, USA, 1999

-Not overly tall or freakishly long for a power forward at 6' 8.5” with a 6' 11” wingspan but he has a good frame with wide shoulders that will fill out nicely. Big feet and hands. May still be growing.
-Very good athlete. Fluid runner with long strides who fills the lanes smoothly in transition, which made up 47.1% of his offense at the FIBA U17 World Championships. Good body control. Can mix in Eurosteps.
-Explosive leaper (especially off of two feet) in space. Quick off the floor. Excellent second jump. Finishes above the rim with relative ease.
-Comfortable grabbing a rebound and pushing in transition.
-24.3 points per 40 minutes on 65% from 2-point range at the U17s. Good hands around the rim. Can finish with either hand. Makes himself available by finding gaps in the defense. Fairly rigid handle but can attack a closeout in space.
-Shows some potential as a shooter although he has a ways to go. Inconsistent mechanically but when he's dialed in and shooting it with confidence he gets rotation and arc. 9-of-31 (29%) from 3-point range and 86-of-124 (69.4%) from the free throw line based on 37 games in our database. Can make an occasional uncontested one-dribble pull up.
-While the numbers don't suggest it, he shows some semblance of feel and passing ability both on the move and in high low situations.
-Elite defender who can guard nearly every position on the floor. Fast-twitch muscles and outstanding instincts. Excellent at reacting to the opponent's initial move. Able to cover ground quickly to recover for blocks (1.1 per 40 minutes at the U17s). Very good instincts in the passing lanes. Active hands - 4.7 steals per 40 minutes at the U17s.
-Can sit down and slide his feet. Makes an effort to contest. Has a good understanding that this is his identity at this stage of his development. Very competitive. Football background.
-Flies in for rebounds - 9.8 per 40 minutes at U17s, 8.0 of which came on the defensive glass. 3.4 offensive boards per 40 minutes based on the 37 games in our database. Plays with toughness and a high motor. Quick leaping ability helps him get to rebounds faster than his opponents.

-Good profile for a combo forward but ‘good not great' tools for a four man, which is where he is skill wise at this stage of his development.
-Great frame in the upper body but is a little light in the lower body, especially the thighs - 203 pounds, although he's still only 16 years old.
-Made 1-of-8 3-pointers at the U17s. Has some touch but his mechanics are very loose - flops it up there without a lot of arc and variable rotation. Not much rhythm to his jumper. Very little fluidity in his lower body. Slow getting into his shot. Can improve his footwork - doesn't always get his feet under him.
-Doesn't have much off the dribble game at this stage aside from occasional straight line attacks. Not going to go create a shot versus a sound defender. Limited ball handler in the half court. Struggles a bit to get to pull up jumpers.
-Turnover prone - 0.7 assists and 5.1 turnovers per 40 minutes at the U17s. While he shows some feel at times he isn't strong with the ball in traffic, can improve his vision on the move and struggles a bit executing the simple play.
-Has some skill but relies mostly on athleticism and effort at this stage of his development. What is his calling card on the offensive end?

Outlook Knox finished with the fifth highest PER on the USA team (29.0) and had an impact in transition, around the rim, on the defensive end and the backboards. While he may not have the most polished offensive skill set, Knox is a very intriguing prospect for a 16-year-old old, especially considering the way the NBA is trending. His ability to defend multiple positions, get out in transition, play above the rim and fill in the cracks in a lot of areas could allow him to play a Shawn Marion-type of role before it's all said and done. Knox's outside shot will be the key to unlocking his potential, but until then he has a lot of value as a tough, athletic, versatile forward.

Olivier Sarr, 6'11, Center, INSEP Academy, 1999

-Very good size for a big man at 6'11
-Has a lanky frame that should fill out really nicely in time.
-Long arms, big hands
-Fluid and agile. Covers ground exceptionally well. Runs the floor with ease
-Has tremendous potential defensively. Active and competitive with ideal physical tools
-Good timing as a shot-blocker. 4.5 blocks per-40 at the U17s
-Can hedge out onto the perimeter and rotate back to make plays at the rim. Can also switch out onto smaller players, getting low and moving his feet
-Closes out on shooters impressively
-Grabbed 12.5 rebounds per-40 at the U17s. Especially good on the offensive glass (4.0 in Zaragoza, 4.4 at ANGT this season)
-Very good finisher around the basket. Quick twitch off his feet. Appears to have some touch
-Late bloomer who is still at an early stage of development physically and skill wise. Grew five inches in the past two years.

-Lacks strength in a major way at the moment, which affects him in every facet of the game
-Very limited offensively at this stage. Strictly a catch and finish guy. Needs to be spoonfed on offense
-Doesn't have any footwork or ability to operate with his back to the basket
-Doesn't want to use his left hand
-Lacks a degree of aggressiveness. Doesn't always assert his will on games. Seems to have a little more in the tank than he's supplying at the moment
-Gets pushed around inside on both ends of the floor
-Could stand to improve his fundamentals as a post defender. Doesn't get low. Can get backed down
-Better defending off the ball than on it right now
-Doesn't have great timing or awareness on the defensive glass. Mistimes his jumps
-Didn't register a single assist in 96 minutes in Zaragoza. May be more a product of his role (strictly a finisher) than his ability (he appears to be unselfish and moved the ball ahead in transition a few times intelligently), but something to monitor down the road.
-Averaged 7.3 fouls per-40 at the U17s and 6.4 at the ANGT.

Outlook Late blooming big man who only played 14 minutes per game for France, but left a strong impression in his time on the court. Appears to have significant potential to continue to develop, particularly defensively. Father played professionally.

Simi Shittu, 6'9, Power Forward, Montverde Academy, 1999

-Has a man's body at age 16.
-Powerful athlete
-Plays very hard. All over the glass. Will put his body on the line defensively
-Strong first step in a straight line
-Draws fouls at a great rate. Too quick and aggressive for most big men this age to handle
-Tremendous offensive rebounder. 6.7 per-40 at the U17s. 6.6 career in 31 games in DX database
-Has the makings of a multi-positional defender
-Gets in the passing lanes exceptionally well. 6.2 per-40 at U17s. 3.6 per-40 career

-Really struggled offensively at the U17s. Shot just 41% for 2 and 37% from the free throw line
-Still largely the same player he's been the past two years. Jump-shot doesn't seem to have made much progress
-Doesn't have great touch around the basket
-Mostly a straight line driver. Advanced ball-handling skills need work
-No left hand on drives or finishes
-Somewhat stuck between the power forward and center positions offensively. 7-foot wingspan means he'll likely have to guard perimeter players long-term if he doesn't grow
-Has an average feel for the game. Tries to force his way into traffic with his head down looking for fouls. Runs into brick walls.
-Doesn't have great fundamentals defensively. Doesn't do much work early. Allows opponents to get deep post-position on him without resistance. Got posted up quite a bit at the U17s with a good amount of success

Outlook Shittu, a very highly regarded player in North America, had a fairly disappointing tournament by his standards. He had a very difficult time scoring efficiently, and while his energy level was very high, he struggled defensively as well. He appears to have picked up some bad habits the last few years fundamentally that he'll need to shake, as long term he won't be able to rely on his tremendous combination of quickness and power that allows him to dominate AAU games as an undersized center. He'll have to improve his skill-level and feel for the game in the half-court as the competition level stiffens, but he still has some very good attributes to build off. It was recently announced that Shittu will be leaving Montverde Academy for his final two years of high school basketball.

Jaren Jackson, 6'10, PF/C, Park Tudor High School, 1999

-Tremendous physical profile. 6'10 in shoes with a 7'3 wingspan and a 9'1 ½ standing reach. Big hands
-Very mobile. Quick off his feet. Runs well
-Highly proportioned frame that will continue to fill out. Already 225 pounds as a 16-year old. Will add as much strength as he needs in coming years
-Can make an outside shot. 32/81 in 21 Nike EYBL games this spring/summer. Awkward mechanics but has the touch to throw the ball in the basket. Shoots it the same way every time
-73% free throw shooter in EYBL
-Length and quickness gives him significant potential as a shot-blocker and rebounder, as well as getting in passing lanes.
-Shows potential stepping out on the perimeter and moving his feet when fully engaged
-Shows flashes of competitiveness and will make some incredibly impressive plays when he's operating at full speed. To his credit, he realizes he needs to work on playing hard all the time, and is actively trying to improve on that
-Could become a really effective rim protector in time
-Shows some flashes of passing ability. Will move the ball and find the open man
-Has as much upside as any player at the tournament given his physical tools and natural talent. Only 16 years old. Somewhat of a late bloomer

-At an early stage of his development on both ends of the floor. Game moves a little too fast for him at times. Feel for the game is a work in progress
-Fairly limited offensive player at this point in time. Skill-level is not polished
-Prefers to face the basket. Doesn't have the footwork or mentality to take advantage of his height and strength advantage inside the paint
-Has had success from the high school 3-point line, but has funky (but consistent) shooting mechanics. Shoots a moon ball it from his fingertips with a low release point and little rotation
-Lacks a degree of awareness and physicality on the glass. Averaged only 7 rebounds in 25 minutes in the Nike EYBL
-May lack a degree of toughness. Allows himself to get pushed around at times. Doesn't always look fully engaged. Gets down on himself
-Looks like he's playing at half speed sometimes
-Mobile, but not terribly explosive. Can play above the rim, but not a high flyer. Not fast-twitch with his reactions to things happening on the floor

Outlook Son of former San Antonio Spurs player Jaren Jackson Sr. Played a fairly small role for USA, 14 minutes per game, mostly in garbage time. Looks like a lottery pick from a physical standpoint on first glance, and shows flashes of potentially developing into one down the road, but has a long ways to go at this point.

Austin Wiley, 6'9, Center, Spain Park, 1999, USA

-Although not all that tall at 6' 9”, Wiley has excellent tools for a center prospect thanks to his 7' 4.5” wingspan, 9' 2” standing reach and strong, proportionate 250-pound frame.
-Mobile for his size. Can get out and run the floor with solid fluidity and high effort level. Scored 1.4 points per possession in transition (22% of his offense) at the FIBA U17 World Championships.
-Size and strength allows him to catch deep in the post. Gets wide and gives a target.
-Can make a short-range right-handed jump hook. Shows flashes on the block, although he has a ways to go.
-Has a very developable shooting stroke that could make him a mid-range threat in time. Gets good rotation, sound mechanically, just needs more reps.
-Excellent rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. Grabbed a monstrous 20.8 rebounds per 40 minutes at the U17s, 11.1 of which came on the offensive boards. Plays with a high motor and uses his strength and length to keep plays alive. Good instincts. Finds a body on the defensive glass. Good box out technique.
-Fairly post defender. Uses his strength to battle and his length to alter shots. Needs to improve fundamentally but he shows flashes.

-Not all that explosive in traffic, has to gather. Needs time and space to play above the rim. Shot only 8-of-24 (33%) at the rim in the half court at the U17s.
-Not overly skilled on the interior - 45.5% from 2-point range. Very left shoulder and right hand dominant both in the post and around the rim. Gets by on sheer size and strength but could use more counter moves and fluidity in his footwork while on the block.
-Sold mechanics from mid-range spots but isn't a threat at this stage of his development - 0-for-3 on jumpers, 16-for-32 from the line.
-Hands can be a little bit shaky. Brings the ball down in traffic. Dribbles rather than drop stepping and going up strong. A bit too rushed in finishing situations.
-Doesn't have a great feel for the game. Too sped up. Dished out only 1 assist and committed 10 turnovers in 82 total minutes. Not always the most willing passer.
-Underwent two knee surgeries in 2015 (one on each knee). Struggles to sit down in a stance and defend the perimeter. Still a little stiff in the knees. Has issues keeping the ball contained in pick and roll both in terms of lateral quickness and fundamentals. Reaches on the perimeter.
-Not the most fundamentally sound post defender. Struggles to get through cross screens. Caught leaning on his defender, allowing his opponent to spin off of him. Foul prone.
-His lack of standstill explosiveness and still developing awareness limit him a bit as a rim protector despite his impressive length and reach.
-While he's an excellent offensive rebounder and very good in the paint on the defensive glass, he doesn't quite have the quick-twitch mobility to get rebounds outside of his area consistently.

Outlook From a pure numbers standpoint the Auburn commit had a tremendous U17s as he posted 25.9 points and 20.8 rebounds per 40 minutes. His sheer size and activity allowed him to have a major impact on the backboards while showing his mobility in transition. With that said, Wiley's game and athletic ability is very much a work in progress. He doesn't bring much to the table offensively outside of rim runs and put backs and has a ways to go with his skill development and feel for the game. Wiley's pick and roll defense and fundamentals on that end will also need some polish before he can be a consistent contributor defensively. Wiley is still shaking off the cobwebs after missing a large chunk of time with injuries and there's quite a bit to like about his physical profile, he's just more of a long term prospect than an instant impact type of guy at this stage of his development.

Berke Ragip Atar, 6'11, Center, Banvit, 1999

-Good size for a center at 6'11. Has decent length
-Strong frame. Big upper body and thick calves
-Has some mobility. Relatively quick off his feet
-Comfortable operating inside the paint
-Soft touch around the basket. Swooping hook shots down the lane
-Soft, reliable hands. Catches everything thrown his way
-Moves off the ball well and presents himself for easy finishes
-Shows good timing on the offensive glass. 6.9 per-40 at the U17s. 6.8 career in 25 games in DX database
-Strong enough to hold his ground inside the post defensively. Doesn't allow other big men to back him down.

-Average athlete. Not particularly explosive from a standstill
-Not the toughest big man you'll find
-Shies away from contact on both ends of the floor
-Needs to diversify his arsenal with his back to the basket. Heavily reliant on his size and strength advantage.
-Doesn't show much versatility offensively. Plays five feet and in.
-Struggles from free throw line. Career 49%.
-Energy level comes and goes. Disappears for long stretches
-Avoids his off hand on finishes
-Poor passer. Generated just two assists in 147 minutes in Zaragoza compared to 12 turnovers. Career 5/30 assist to turnover ratio in 25 games in DX database.
-Struggles to cover ground defensively, particularly when forced to step outside the paint. Slow laterally and somewhat lethargic moving his feet
-Highly reactive on the court. Complains to refs. Gets down on himself

Outlook Was able to assert his will inside the paint in Zaragoza, thanks to his superior size and strength. Had one especially great game against Canada in the quarterfinals with 28 points and 15 rebounds, absolutely dominating the undersized Canadians on the interior. Will need to continue to diversify his skill-level and become more consistent with his energy level and approach on both ends of the floor as the competition stiffens.

Francisco Caffaro, 6'11, PF/C, El Trebol, 2000

-Good size for a 4/5. Frame that will fill out nicely in time
-Extremely mobile big man. Bouncy off two feet
-Shows some ability to back down opponents in the low post
-Uses his body to create space
-Shows some intriguing skills inside the post.
-Tremendous target as a roll man. Soft hands and very quick off his feet
-Finds creative ways to finish with touch around the basket
-Shows some potential putting the ball down in a straight line
-Draws a lot of fouls by virtue of his quickness for a big man
-Gets up around the rim for offensive rebounds
-Will show some flashes at times of putting a body on opponents in the post
-Only 16 years old. Still at a very early stage of his development, physically, emotionally, skill-wise and in terms of his overall maturity

-Neither a prolific (11.5 points per-40) or efficient (45% TS%) offensive player at the moment for his career
-Struggles to make free throws (42% career, 55% at U17s)
-Really poor defensive rebounder. Horrendous 4.8 defensive rebounds per-40 for career. Struggled even worse at U17s (3.7 per-40) in Zaragoza
-Never boxes out. Lets rebounds fly right over his head
-12-15 months younger than most of the big men here, and it showed. Will get pushed around
-Awareness on defense and as a rebounder leaves a lot to be desired. Only averaging .6 steals and .6 blocks per-40 minutes on career.
-Poor pick and roll defender
-Doesn't know how to protect the rim. Didn't register a single block in 110 minutes at the U17s
-Doesn't do any work early defensively. Lets opponents get deep position on him. Gets backed down inside
-Not always strong enough with the ball offensively. Takes some very difficult shots inside the paint
-Approach to the game is not consistent at all. Highly reactive if things aren't going his way. Sometimes decides not to run the floor.
-Very emotional

Outlook Talented Argentinean big man who did not have a very good tournament overall (9.7 PER). Moves exceptionally well and has some power forward skills. Looks far more talented than how he actually plays. Hasn't been productive in any setting yet. Really looked out of place at the Jordan Brand Classic international game practices and game. Shows some toughness at times, but looks very soft in other occasions. No consistency in his approach.

Rongzhen Zhu, 7'0, Center, Shandong, 1999

-Good size for a center at around 7'0. Solid frame, especially in the lower body
-Fairly mobile for his size. Runs the floor well
-Shows some potential operating with his back to the basket. Decent footwork.
-Good hands and body control as a finisher. Very effective as a pick and roll finisher and off cuts. Can catch and finish on the move while in full stride.
-Strong rebounder. 16.5 rebounds per-40 at the U17s. 15.9 career.
-Blocks shots using his size and mobility. Career 3.4 per-40
-Has soft touch. Career 71% from the free throw line. Will hit an occasional mid-range jumper, even banking them off the glass

-Has average length
-Lacks a degree of explosiveness. Struggles to power up in traffic off two feet. Gets his shot blocked more often than you'd like. Misses some good looks around the basket
-Not an efficient offensive player. Shot just 42% from 2-point range at the U17s. 46% at Albert Schweitzer Tournament.
-Very right hand dominant. Struggles when forced to turn over right shoulder
-Doesn't quite know his limitations offensively. Somewhat predictable. Tries to force the issue at times.
-Motor, intensity level comes and goes. Doesn't always display the kind of mean streak you want to see from your big man

Outlook Productive Chinese center who had strong showings at both the U17 World Championship at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament (where he played up a year). Not exceptionally talented or gifted physically beyond his height, but has a fairly well rounded set of skills and should, at the very least, develop into a solid player for the CBA and senior national team.

Samson Froling, 6'10, Power Forward, Australian Institute of Sport, 2000

-Very good size for a power forward at 6'10.
-Skilled offensive player who can score in a variety of ways
-Has a solid mid-range jumper, with the touch to potentially stretch it out to the 3-point line long term (2/3 3P in Zaragoza. 69% career FT%)
-Very good touch around the basket. Career 62% 2P%. Uses both hands. Likes to use the glass
-Lacks strength, but is willing to use his body a little around the basket to carve out space
-Good footwork and body control inside the paint. Shows potential operating with his back to the basket
-Will put the ball on the floor a little in a straight line in transition or short iso situations. Can do some things out of dribble hand-offs. Team ran a decent amount of offense through him in both the low and high post
-Crashes the glass aggressively. Career 15 rebounds per-40

-Very underdeveloped physically. Lacks strengths in a major way, which affects him on both ends of the floor
-Frame is narrow and will take a few years to mature
-Not clear how athletic he will become long term. More fluid than explosive at the moment
-Extremely turnover prone at the moment. 5.9 per-40 for career. Doesn't take much to knock him off his spot and take the ball away
-Tries to force the issue with his passing. Lack of experience shows. Doesn't value the ball enough. Tries to thread the needle too aggressively.
-Lacks a degree of toughness. Doesn't always fight back the way you might hope when other players push him around
-Gets posted up and struggles to offer resistance

Outlook Australia's most productive player at the U17s, averaging 16 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per-40, shooting 67% from 2-point range. Skilled lefty. Has a Dragan Bender type frame. How will it fill out long term? Has two sisters and one brother playing college basketball. On the NCAA track himself. Someone to monitor depending on how his frame evolves

Jordan Brown, 6'10, Power Forward, Woodcreek High School, 1999

-Great size for a big man at around 6'11
-Fluid athlete with some nice bounce. Runs the floor well and is quick off his feet
-Good leaper off one or two feet
-Has good hands and soft touch around the basket
-Shows some budding footwork inside the paint
-Draws fouls at a nice rate
-Nose for the ball on the offensive glass
-Can handle the ball fluidly in the open floor
-Young for his class. Born in late December. Not turning 17 for some time

-Body hasn't changed much the past two years. Still very narrow, especially in the lower body
-Has a relatively poor wingspan relative to his height. +1-2 inches. Sub-9-foot standing reach
-Shooting mechanics don't allow him to use his touch as a jump-shooter. Flings the ball from his wrist
-Doesn't have the strength or mentality to utilize his size consistently around the basket
-Struggles to score against better competition. Can't create any offense for himself
-Needs to develop his off hand. Uses his right hand on the left side of the basket
-Not a comfortable passer. Very turnover prone. 9 assists compared with 49 turnovers in 302 minutes in DX database thus far
-Very poor defender at the moment. Gets tossed around inside the paint by stronger players. Not tough enough to offer much resistance
-Effort level comes and goes
-Struggles to guard on the perimeter as well. Very upright in his stance
-Not much of a rim-protector due to his lack of length (1.7 per-40 career)

Outlook Played just 12 minutes per game for USA at the U17s, mostly in blowouts with the game already out of reach. Shot 46% from the field. Has been a somewhat low efficiency offensive player for most of his career. Very highly regarded by recruiting services (top-5 by everyone), likely based on a very long-term projection. Body will take some time to fill out. Young for his class, may not be ready to play at the highest levels of college basketball right away.

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