Usman Garuba, 6-7, PF, Spain, 2002
-Outstanding physical profile considering his age second youngest player at the tournament as he doesn't turn 15 until March 9. Could theoretically play in the U16 Euros for three consecutive years. Very mature frame. Proportionate upper and lower body. Around 6' 7 with long arms and big hands. Excellent runner who can finish above the rim in space.
-Very competitive in every aspect of the game. Plays with an edge. High-level rebounder who pursues the ball with aggression 16.6 rebounds per 40 minutes. Strong hands. Carves out space thanks to his frame. Quick to the ball. Good instincts. 6.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes.
-Makes a lot of plays on defense due to his combination of tools and instincts. Defends multiple positions. Has the strength to defend the interior and the feet to guard the perimeter. Works hard to contest. Anticipates in the passing lanes. Recorded 10 blocks in the championship game and averaged 2.5 steals and 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes.
-Can grab and go in transition. Showed some potential as a ball handler in transition. Good passer while on the move. Likes to move it ahead quickly.
-Knows his strengths and weaknesses and plays a fairly efficient game 71.6% from two and a 39.2 PER, the best at the U16s. Active cutter. Moves well off the ball.
-Very good operating inside of ten feet in the half court. Can straight line drive a bit and finish through contact regularly. Excellent in drop off situations. Uses both hands around the rim.
-High intangible player who doesn't need plays ran for him to have an impact.
-More of a slightly undersized power forward at this stage. Although he's young, he's very developed for his age. How much more will he grow?
-How is he going to score in the half court as the size, length, athleticism and level of play increase?
-Really can't shoot at all at this stage. Stiff, funky mechanics with very little touch 8-for-23 from the free throw line and took only three jumpers all tournament.
-Over 75% of his offense came from transition, offensive rebounds, and cuts. Not a guy who's going to go get you a bucket at the end of the clock.
-Relies more on his tools around the rim. Can improve his touch versus length.
-Ball skills are average in the half court. Limited to strictly straight line drives, although he shows some potential in transition.
-Checks quite a few boxes but is missing some important ones (namely shooting). Projects more as a high level role player right now. Is his production mostly a product of his physical gifts and motor in comparison to where most 15-16-year-olds are physically?
There's a whole lot to like about the Real Madrid product given his age, physical tools, motor, intangibles, and feel for the game. He won MVP of the tournament as the second youngest player to take the floor and played a huge role in leading Spain to a U16 Euro Championship. At the very least, he figures to be an excellent role player who checks a lot of boxes and brings a level of toughness to the floor. With that said, Garuba is being hyped as much more than that, and his statistics from the U16s would support the notion that he may very well be a future star in the making. The key to unlocking Garuba's potential will be either adding a few more inches or developing his shooting stroke and half court scoring ability (preferably both for Garuba). Regardless of what his upside may be, for Garuba to come in and produce the way he did at age 14 says a lot about his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor at a very high level.