Malaga, Spain was host for the 2022 FIBA U17 world cup where Team USA defeated Spain to win gold. This event gave scouts the opportunity to watch many of the best 2005 and 2006 born basketball talents across the world in a single location and to start filling out their 2024 NBA draft boards. Here is the list of the top international NBA prospects from this event:
1) Zaccharie Risacher #35 6’8 Forward, France: Risacher’s jump shot is silky smooth. He possesses a quick release and an effortless shot. But he is not solely a jump shooter as he has advance footwork and some polish to his game consistently making the right pass on the fast break or into the post. Risacher had some timely back cuts and finishes throughout the tournament. He works hard on defense and with his length was able to get some big blocks as a weak side defender and some clutch rebounds. While there is no doubt that he needs to put on weight on his rail thin body what he lacks the most is some offensive assertiveness at times, a good example of this is in the semi final loss to Spain where he only took 3 total shots (8th most on the team). A player of his caliber needs to find a way to take more than 3 shots in an elimination game. He is the best shooting prospect from France since Evan Fournier and a likely lottery pick for the 2024 NBA Draft. You can watch this sniper play this season at ASVEL. HIGHLIGHTS
2) Pacome Dadiet #1 6’7 Shooting Guard, France: Dadiet Had a disappointing tournament, specifically after he hurt his wrist in the second game versus Canada. His stats are no doubt underwhelming but he has all the tools to become an NBA player. At 6’7 He has prototype measurables for an NBA wing: tall, explosive, strong. In his limited action he did demonstrate good footwork with his turnaround jumper and a strong shooting stroke. He has the ability to create his own shot but like Risacher lacks assertiveness and needs to show production that is more in line with his abilities. He gets a mulligan but scouts are going to need to see more production from him once his injured shooting wrist heals. You can continue to monitor him with Paris Basketball.
3) Ilane Fibleuil #10 6’5 Shooting Guard, France: A relative unknown prior to the tournament he was named as one of the tournament’s all star 5. He quickly became a fan favorite as one of this event’s most exciting and entertaining players. Fibleuil has good bounce for his size, routinely entertaining the crowd with reverse dunks on the fast break or challenging big men at the rim after breaking down primary defenders on the half court set. While selective he demonstrated he could shoot the 3 going 8/13 for the tournament. On the defensive end he jumps the passing lanes deflecting shots and making steals. On switches he was a wiling defender on opposing bigs. Mentality he is different from the other French prospects in this tournament in that he shows consistent aggressiveness and at times a flamboyance more typical with US born players than a French player. What he is missing relative to the players ahead of him as a prospect is polish and height. An example of his lack of polish was when he negated an and 1 attempt from his teammate Penda because he hung on the rim and offensive interfered well after the whistle was blown. He needs to continue to develop his foot work and was quite frankly terrible at the free throw line for a guard. Often times rushing his shot at the charity stripe. Nonetheless this tournament put Fibleuil squarely on scouts’ radar. HIGHLIGHTS
4) Alexandre Sarr #20 7’0 France Center: Physically resembles his older brother and former Kentucky center Olivier Sarr. He came off the bench for France early in the tournament as he was recovering from COVID-19. Has a long wingspan and quite agile and quick for a 7-foot bigman. Has good feel around the rim and has good form on his outside shot shooting 4/9 from three and 83% from the free throw line. Has good tools on offense when facing the basket which makes him an ideal fit for today’s pick and pop or pick and roll options. Does not yet possess an advance feel of his game which can lead to a tunnel vision approach on offense and like his older brother can be pushed around some in he post. Nor is he yet a good screen setter. On defense he has good lateral quickness and with his length and height is a decent shot blocker however like his offensive instincts, his defensive instincts can at times be lacking. This is particularly noticeable with his low defensive rebounding numbers. He is one of two players in the top 10 that you can find playing for OTE next year.
5) Aday Mara #15 7’3 Spain Center: Mara is a traditional center for an NBA that has become very selective about drafting traditional centers. He is tall and long and is a good athlete for a player his size. He has polished footwork in the post with a go to pump fake baseline spin move that players at this level were unable to stop. It is questionable how well he can defend an NBA level pick and roll as he rarely defended anyone above the free throw line extended but what makes him an interesting prospect is his feel for the game and touch around the basket. He reads defenses well and is an excellent passer as Spain at times had him play the point center role even making a few Jokic like handball passes. On pick and rolls, he was athletic enough to be a strong alley oop threat and even running down court was quicker than many of the other centers in this tournament. What he didn’t prove in this tournament to be a viable NBA player is his shooting from deep. He made one three all tournament and that one shot banked in. He also was only a 55% free throw shooter during this tournament. You can watch him play for Basket Zaragoza.
6) Killian Malwaya #23 6’6 France Wing: Killian athleticism is NBA level. He kept France in the game versus Spain through 3 quarters just by doing what he does best: Slashing and attacking the rim. He has decent form and good rotation on his shot but still lacks the consistency from beyond the arc to be rated higher in these rankings. What is encouraging was his free throw shooting at 77%. He also was not much of a factor on the defensive end (0 steals and 3 blocks in 7 games) With his athleticism scouts are going to expect more from him on that side of the floor. He will play for ASVEL this season.
7) Illan Pietrus #11 6’2 France Point Guard: Pietrus was excellent the first half of the event but faded from the quarter finals on, yet still had a 3.1 Ast/To ratio for the tournament. When Pietrus was on the court France seemed to be much better in half court sets. On the defensive end he is an able and willing defender who is adept to get deflections and is a strong rebounder for a point guard. Offensively, while a good athlete he didn’t go downhill as much as you would expect from a player of his caliber; settling at times at end of the shot clock for outside shots. To transition into an NBA point guard he will need to continue to work on his English along with his maturity and skillset. Father Florent played for the French national team over a 14 year span, and uncle is former Golden State Warriors and Orlando Magic Mickael Pietrus. Plays for Strasbourg.
8) Izan Almansa #13 6’9 Spain Power Forward: Was voted MVP of this event and helped lead Spain to a second place finish. Averaged a double double with 12.1 ppg and 11.9 rebs while also blocking 1.6 shots and 1.1 steals per game. Almansa was a defensive anchor for Spain. Almansa’s body and athleticism is ideal for today’s NBA, the question is how will he continue to develop offensively. Almansa’s offensive repertoire currently consists of lobs and put backs. He shot 7/24 from the free throw line and took 0 shots from 3. And while he was consistent throughout the tournament, there is a dip in offensive efficiency when he faced the two as athletically gifted teams in France and USA. You can watch him play for OTE this season.
9) Mohamed Diawara #12 6’8 France Power Forward: Diawara might have the longest wingspan at this event. France often utilized him in trapping situations at mid court due to his measurables, strength and ability to quickly recover back into guarding his man. Listed at 6’8 his pro position is as a 4 and in a small ball lineup as a 5. It’s easy to become enamored by this player in highlights as he can make a great read with a beautiful pass, hit an occasional 3, have a strong finish at the rim, and even handle the rock a little but unfortunately he lacks consistency in all aspects of his offensive game. 25% from the free throw line, 32% from the field and 2/15 from 3 (albeit at least 5 of his 3s were end of shot clock desperation heaves) and had 0 blocks for the tournament. He will play this year for Paris Basketball.
10) Jan Vide #7 6’6 Slovenia Combo Guard: Vide led the event in scoring after leading the U16 European championships in scoring the previous year. Has a similar style to play then countrymen Goran Dragic, as he loves to drive and possesses a quick first step. He demonstrated a turnaround fadeaway jumper to create separation. He still hasn’t quite adapted to players being bigger, stronger and faster as his event scoring title came at an offensive efficiency expense shooting 29% from the field and 27% from 3. He still needs to add a consistent floater to his arsenal and needs to pass it out when he is getting double or even triple teamed. Has some point guard skills, an ability which would be his potential NBA ticket but right now has too much tunnel vision to score. Vide will play next season for Real Madrid.
Hugo Gonzalez #16 6’4 Spain Combo Guard: Gonzalez a year younger than most players at the event (2006 born) had some highlight reel plays through out the tournament and even a big dunk on Fland against team USA in the final. Plays for Real Madrid
Christian Nitu #1 6’9 Canada Forward: Nitu like the Canadian team under performed for this event. But Nitu possesses a long wingspan good bounce and good lateral quickness.
Lucas Langarita #12 6’5 Spain Point Guard: tall point guard with some length and leaping ability. 2 to 1 Ast/To and a good outside shooter. He will play for Basket Zaragoza this season.
Yuto Kawashima #10 6’7 Japan Forward : Had some positive hype going into the tournament as being one of the better players from the FIBA Asia tournament. Second in the tournament in scoring at 19 ppg. Good shooter, strong body. Needs space to get shot off and needs to be little more physical.
Petras Padegimas #12 6’7 Lithuania Forward: Padegimas is going to DME Academy in Florida this fall. Athletic big who had some highlight reel dunks and shot 8/23 from 3. He needs to work on his handles and slow things down to cut down some of his turnovers.
Noah Penda #9 6’6 France Power Forward: Undersized power forward who was France’s best distributor when Pietrus wasn’t on the floor. Strong and good around the rim and one of the leaders in steals. Needs to work on his outside shooting.
Rokko Zikarsky #11 7’1 Austalia Center: 2006 born was dominant in the low post at this event both offensively and defensively. Slow footed as other bigs like Mara consistently beat him down the floor. If he can continue to improve his shooting (nearly shot 70% from free throw line) his chances would improve.
Ladji Coulabali #21 6’10 Mali Center: Good athlete with an NBA level wingspan. Skill set has not yet matched his athleticism. Plays in Spain for Manresa
Lucas Giovannetti #12 6’7 Argentina Forward: Giovannetti can handle the rock for a forward, has a good feel for the game and can shoot it on occasion but prefers to go to the rack. He lacks NBA athleticism and needs to improve his shooting to an elite level to compensate for this lack of athleticism.
Szymon Nowicki #10 6’7 Poland Forward: Nowicki will hit the open outside shot. Shot nearly 42% from 3 while shooting more than half his shots from beyond the arc. Averaged 2.3 blocks per game for the tournament. Doesn’t have the handles for a 3 but tough to see him being able to play as an NBA 4.