Archive - 2013 - Article
A lot can change in a year. Don’t believe me? Ask the Kansas Jayhawks. Last season, this was a veteran squad led by four seniors and an eventual NBA lottery pick in Ben McLemore. All five players have moved on leaving the Jayhawks with a young, albeit talented, roster. It will be up to the younger guys to step in and fill the void, both from a production and leadership standpoint.
Dante Exum, a 6-foot-6 combo guard from Australia, is one of the top prospects on the NBA horizon. A stress fracture that forced him out of the adidas Nations event threatened to derail his momentum, but Exum bounced back in a big way at the Under-19 World Championships in Prague following the 2013 draft.
The FIBA Under-16 European Championships concluded last week in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a number of intriguing talents have emerged for the next generation as NBA prospects.
The African team featured its best group of talent ever at this event, competing in every game and winning third place. Here is a look at the top international talent from adidas Nations.
Sidy Ndir: 6-2, 180, PG, West Coast Academy, HS Senior, 1995
The early-August adidas Nations is, bar none, one of the top annual scouting events each year. It delivered the goods once again, thanks to an extremely high level of competition.
How good was the level of talent? adidas Team Africa head coach Babacar Sy told me that 6-foot-8 forward Guershon Yabusele, who also played in the July U18 European Championships, marveled at how much stronger the level of talent and competition was at Nations.
Turkey took home the 2013 U18 European Championships after narrowly defeating Croatia -- a team missing their superstar, Mario Hezonja, due to injury. Spain won the bronze-medal game in a thriller against Latvia. Despite the loss, the Latvians showcased an interesting tandem of mobile big men.
Here is a list of the top NBA prospects:
Kristaps Porzingis (1995, 6-11, PF, Latvia, Cajasol Sevilla)
Summer league isn’t just an opportunity for rookies to get their first taste of professional competition. It’s also a chance for young, up-and-coming stars to hone their skills and for journeyman veterans to possibly open some eyes and land an NBA or Euroleague contract. These 10 players truly took advantage of their Las Vegas Summer League experiences.
1) Jonas Valanciunas – 18.8 PPG, 10 RPG, 1.8 APG, 56% FG, 88% FT, 29 MPG
Semaj Christon 6-3, 185 lbs., 6-6 wingspan, PG, Xavier, So.
Christon has the attributes to be an NBA All-Star someday, but at this point, he's unrefined. His length, quickness and athleticism put him in elite company as a point guard prospect. His biggest weakness right now is the lack of a jumpshot. He will need to correct his shooting mechanics or it's unlikely he will ever be much of a threat from the perimeter.
1) Cody Zeller – 16.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.8 BPG, 52% FG, 72% FT, 32 MPG
Zeller got off to a slow start in his first game, putting up just eight points and five rebounds in 29 minutes. He was lethargic and quick to fatigue, but he looked like a different player after forgettable first outing, recording back-to-back double doubles.