2007 adidas Basketball Experience: Recap
By Simon Dresden
New Orleans, LA
Team USA 2008
The adidas 2008 US national team dominated the competition. Their only close game was against Team Africa where athleticism was matched but the US team was miles ahead skill wise. Leading the way was the premier big man in the country BJ Mullens. He dominated the competition without bringing his A game. Luke Babbitt had an impressive showing shooting the ball superbly beyond the arc. Jrue Holiday and Matt Simpkins were very solid along the way, and Yancy Gates has the attributes to be an inside force . At the point, Jerime Anderson ran the team like a true point guard, and back up tiny guard Korie Lucious could well be an impact player in college due to his ability to shoot the ball from very deep.
Team USA 2009
Team US juniors ? No… Team Lance Stephenson. After Stephenson was slowed early in his first game against team Africa by the terrific defensive effort of 6’3 jr G Mohamed Koita, he destroyed the African team by himself down the stretch in a close battle, and was absolutely unstoppable, hitting jumpers, getting to the rim, leading the way. Stephenson has the intensity and drive of the best players, and is a winner. The team was slowed down by Derrick Favors' injury, and didn’t have much of an inside presence. Favors was one of the most dominant players in drills the first day. He is a strong and explosive raw athlete, who has big upside. Point guard … was good running the team, getting to the basket and making things happen. Stephenson’s performance overshadowed the other talents on the team.
The big highlight of the Adidas Nations camp was the level of talent, athleticism and play of Team Africa. Africa needed more depth at the guard spot, as only 3 players were under 6’8. The team’s biggest performance was how they matched up head to head with the US national team Srs, losing by 7 in the last minute. The team’s best player and highlight film was the best athlete at camp 6’10 Serge Ibaka. Basically coming out of nowhere, this Vitoria signee is a reminiscent of Shawn Kemp. He measured higher than all players that were drafted last june on the vertical leap. But more than being a freak athlete, he is more advanced than any other player on the African team, displaying good footwork in the post, with a solid turn around jumper, and a balanced jump shot from the 3pts line. Has the tools to become a first round pick very soon, as he is not far from having an NBA ready body, and plays hard, though he was slowed down by cramps the whole event. He was the team's top rebounder and shot blocker. Speaking of shotblockers, 7’2 Youssoupha Mbao excels there, despite his still skinny frame (he gained 20 lbs in 2 years), and though his offensive game is limited to good passing skills, he is a huge prospect for the future. Needs strength but plays with intensity, and had a shotblocking fest against the Sr US bigs. 6’9 Florida bound Kenny Kadji, played out of position due to the lack of perimeter players in the team. He showed the ability to shoot the ball, though he can really improve there, with solid athleticism and good footwork. He’s still overweight and gets tired quickly, but that should take care of itself when he becomes a Gator. 7’1 C Abubakar Zaki, who showed some good hook shots over BJ Mullens, and nice touch from the 3pts line, can become a real prospect if his legs get stronger and his motor stays on. The main reason why the African team was able to compete at a high level was he play of 6’3 sr point guard Seydou Njoya and 6’3 jr guard Mohamed Koita. Both guards played in France last year respectively in Nancy and Le Mans under 20 league. Njoya stood out as one of the point guards at camp, using his strong upper body, ball handling like he was a US born guard, and his huge ability to get in the paint, and pass the ball. He will be a HM point guard when it’s all said and done in college. Has to work on outside shooting, Koita is a world class athlete and without a doubt the best guard athlete in camp. Started basketball 3 seasons ago, after being a track star for years. His style is remincent of Dwayne Wade, and once his body gets stronger, he could well end up being one of the best players in the country. He has nice touch in his 3 pts shot but still inconsistent, competes and rebounds at a high level, and can defend top notch guards. Both guards are heading to Stoneridge International, a Los Angeles based, highly ranked prep school directed by Babacar Sy, the specialized African scout who put the Adidas Team Africa together. Another intriguing prospect was athletic 6’8 Pape Maghate Beye who played the wing and showed glimpses of solid potential.
Team Latin America
No one noteworthy
Team Asia struggled a little with the high level of athleticism in camp. They played organized and competed, almost beat the much superior athletes of Team Africa. Ater Mojak, a 6’10 Sudanese playing in Australia who just committed to Baylor University showed decent athleticism, nice touch from the 3pt line, and competed hard. Not yet a top prospect and needs tons of work to get there, but he stood out as being the best athlete in that Asian/Pacific team. Australia was well represented by the talented 6’8 Clint Steidl, a skinny and long 2/3 shooter with good basketball IQ, very solid skills and decent athleticism.
The European Team was hurt by the under 16 and 18 European championships going on in July and August. Most players were born 1991 here, and had skills and good overall IQ. Lack of toughness, adjustment to the US made it hard for them to compete against better athletes and older players. 6’9 French Portugese swingman Fernando Raposo looked like a giant in the youngest squad of the tournament. Raposo comes off an outstanding year in France where he had MVP honors for the French national cadets cup, and is a great rebounder, explosive athlete, who can put the ball on the floor, and could well transition as a wing player. That would make him an automatic high level prospect, but odds are he will play inside at Pau Orthez who just took him for the professional team.
Top 10 Prospects
BJ Mullens C 7’1” Canal Winchester Canal Winchester, OH
Lance Stephenson G 6’5” Lincoln Brooklyn, NY
Serge Ibaka F 6’10” Tau Vitoria, Congo
Youssoupha Mbao C 7’1” Canal Winchester Canal Winchester, OH
Derrick Favors SF/PF 6’9” South Atlanta Atlanta, GA
Jrue Holiday G 6’4” Campbell Chatsworth, CA
Mohamed Koita SG 6'3"
Abubukar Zaki C 7'1"
Jerime Anderson PG 6’2” Canyon Anaheim, CA
Kenny Kadji PF 6’10” IMG Academy FL