U17 World Championship: Top-5 USA Prospects

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:26pm

In July we looked at the Top 10 International prospects from FIBA’s U17 World Championships in Zaragoza, Spain. Team USA dominated the event, confirming its supremacy once again. The rest of the world clearly didn’t have an answer to the superiority of Team USA in the aspects of athleticism, strength and advanced skills set. We'll take a look at the top prospects from the U19 European Championships soon. Here is a break down of the top five from the U17 USA Select team.

Kevin Knox (1999, 6-8, SF)

Kevin KnoxKevin KnoxPlaying on a team full of wings, Kevin Knox was forced to play a lot at power forward during the FIBA U17 Tournament, but he was still able to show nice flashes of his talent. The truth is that maybe this wasn’t too bad for him, since his skill set fits more of a power forward than a small forward for now. If he wants to play at the next level though he has to develop his perimeter’s skills on offense. Knox is a great athlete with a long wingspan. His coordination is impressive for his height and age and can really run to the open floor and fill the lanes as a wing. When he has room to gather can jump high and finish with either hand, but for now he is not able to finish through contact due to his thin frame. He can’t create his own shot because of his average ball handling. He is a below average shooter for now because he changes his mechanics, especially under pressure, but his free throw percentage in the tournament (85.7%) is a sign that he can become a good shooter in the future. Where he excels, is on defense. He knows how to use his athleticism and has good lateral quickness. He is always active and can guard perimeter players and even some power forwards, although he has problems against physical bigs, but this is natural due to his thin frame.

Wendell Carter Jr. (1999, 6-9, PF/C)

Carter Jr. was a beast in FIBA’s U17 Tournament, averaging 10.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in just 15.3 minutes of playing time. He was really productive, taking advantage of the clear edge he had against his opponents thanks to his strong body, explosiveness and athleticism. He is a little undersized for a center at the next level, but his huge wingspan and high motor make up for it. His back to the basket game is very solid and has shown the ability to turn on either shoulder and score using a hook shot with either hand, but he has the tendency to depend too much on his strength and must add some moves. His shooting mechanics are nice and he has the potential to develop a mid-range game in the future. He is not overly fast running the floor, but he is able to protect the rim thanks to his good instincts, although at times his opponents got him out of position by using pump fakes. He has some problems against length on both ends of the floor. His Pick and Roll Defense is at a good level thanks to his good lateral quickness.

Troy Brown (1999, 6-7, SG/PG)

The one thing that stood out about Brown playing for FIBA’s U17 World Championship was his versatility. He mostly played as a wing, but he also thrived in playmaking duties, showing fragments of his all-around talent. Brown has good size for a wing, with a solid wingspan. He is very strong athlete, who can do just about everything on the floor at a high level. At the same time though, he doesn’t do anything at an elite level. He is a very good ball handler, with good court vision. He is unselfish and seems like the ideal teammate, but he must be able to learn when to take over a game. He is good on Isolation situations, but he has to improve his pull-up jumper. The biggest concern is probably his ability to play off the ball and shoot the ball. He has a low release and brings the ball in front of his eyes before he shots it and his shooting mechanics aren’t consistent yet, which explains why he shot just 25% from 3-point line in the Tournament. At the same time, the fact that he shot an impressive 94.4% from free throw line is a reason to be optimistic that he will improve in that part of his game. One of his calling cards is his ability to guard multiple positions thanks to his quickness, length and high basketball I.Q.

Gary Trent Jr. (1999, 6-5, SG)

Starting at shooting guard for Team USA, Gary Trent Jr. had good and bad times. And perhaps that’s his bigger problem: consistency. He is a little undersized to play shooting guard at the next level, but he is already built like a bull and has a very strong body structure. He was too strong for his opponents in FIBA’s U17 Tournament. He is just an average athlete for the next level though, with an average first step and lacking great jumping ability. His main weapon is his scoring ability and range. His shot wasn’t falling in the Tournament, but he was able to mix it up, put the ball on the floor and find different ways to be effective, even posting up smaller opponents at times. His shooting mechanics aren’t ideal and he is more of a streaky shooter right now. His ball handling is average for a shooting guard and he drives almost exclusively on straight lines. On defense he knows how to use his strong body, he has a good low stance and has active hands, but his lateral quickness isn’t at an elite level.

Colin Sexton (1999, 6-2, PG)

He was the MVP of FIBA’S U17 World Championship for a reason. Sexton was the best player of team USA in this Tournament and also the most vocal player of the team, although at times he went too far, even being cocky. He is extremely fast and a great athlete who is always in attack mode. He loves to drive to the basket and initiate contact. In fact, he loves finishing through contact. He is an excellent ball handler and a very good passer, but at times he looked like he preferred to look for the highlight rather than to just do the simple thing. Nobody in the Tournament managed to guard him due to his explosiveness and ability to create his own shot. At the same time, his decision making isn’t there yet, he suffers from tunnel vision when he drives and at times he searches more for his own shot then to find the open teammate. He is an average 3-point shooter for now, mainly because he changes his shooting release, but outside shooting will come through time and work. On defense he is always motivated, has excellent lateral quickness and knows how to use his athleticism. He loves to pressure his opponent and has active hands, but loses concentration when he is on the weak side, mainly because he is too willing to help, looking for the block and as a result loses assignments.

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