This year’s international class features four potential first round French players, starting with one giant prize at the top. The idea of changing the NBA All Star game to the USA vs the World may be getting closer every year. It also may be an unfair contest on the International side before long with more elite players now from outside the US than from the US. With that being said, here are our top 10 International prospects for 2023.

2001 International Rankings
2002 International Rankings
2003 International Rankings
2004 International Rankings
2005 International Rankings

1. Victor Wembanyama (2004, 7-4, F/C, Metropolitans 92)

The wait is over. The most anticipated international prospect of all time is about to get drafted. That sentence itself is more than enough to understand the magnitude of what Victor Wembanyama has done this season to justify that he is the number 1 pick. Unless someone was living on a desert island, then they knows what the French prospect can bring to the table. Wembanyama is a 7-4 prodigy, who behaves like a wing and can do (almost) everything on offense, while at the same time is an elite rim protector. What’s even more impressive though is the way he has handled all this pressure the last couple years, showing uncanny maturity.

2. Bilal Coulibaly (6-6, G/F, 2004, Metropolitans 92)

The French prospect is a rarity. Very few people knew him before this season. A crazy growth spurt (he went from 5-11 to 6-7 in two years!), changed everything in his case. Still, it wasn’t until January that scouts really started to notice him, watching him gain playing time alongside Victor Wembanyama, which definitely helped his stock. It’s easier to get noticed when a dozen scouts are at your games, even if it’s for someone else. With that said, it’s still impressive that Coulibaly was able to showcase his talent on the big stage and his stock skyrocketed in the second half of the season. The fact that he was an afterthought at the beginning of the season and now is considered a possible lottery pick says it all. Coulibaly is an ultra athletic wing, with crazy length (wingspan is 7-3), who has the profile of a 3-and-D wing. He is a menace on defense and needs a lot of work on offense, where he does most of his damage in transition. He is far from a finished prospect, but the potential is there and it is really intriguing.

3. Leonard Miller 6-10, F, 2003, G-League Ignite)

Playing for G-League Iginite proved to be the right thing for Leonard Miller. The Canadian prospect had a very good season, having the chance to showcase his talent. A late bloomer, Miller also needed a growth spurt (going from 6-5 to 6-10 in 2 years) to get noticed by scouts, who acknowledged his potential. Miller is a lefty combo forward with a nice skill set. He is more of a mobile power forward than a small forward for now because of his loose ball handling and average (but promising) shooting, while he is also an above average Rim Runner and an ambidextrous finisher at the rim. He has the potential to become a unique player who could play all frontcourt positions, but he lacks the elite ball handling to play full time as a small forward and needs to bulk up to be able to move to center. Still, although he has a ways to go, he has intriguing upside.

4. Rayan Rupert (6-7, SG, 2004, New Zealand Breakers)

The French prospect chose the… NBL road, following in the footsteps of players like LaMelo Ball, R.J Hampton and Ousmane Dieng. The season he had was closer to what Hampton and Dieng had before him, but he still was able to show scouts some interesting things. Ryan Rupert is an athletic wing with great size (and a crazy 7-3 wingspan). He is not an elite athlete, but he is as smooth and agile as it gets. He has the skills to become a playmaking wing and an All NBA defender. For him to make the next step though – especially considering that it is really difficult to find a team that will give him the ball in his first years – he has to improve as a shooter, or else he may just become a defensive specialist.

5. Sidy Cissoko (6-7, G, 2004, G-League Ignite)

Another prospect who decided to showcase his talent in the G-League with the Ignite. The first European player who took that route actually, leaving behind an established team in Spain (Baskonia). Truth to be told, despite some (expected) ups and downs, he actually had a solid season, solidifying himself as an NBA prospect. Cissoko is an all around guard, with potential to play (and, more importantly, defend) every perimeter position, thanks to his size. He started his career as a point guard before a growth spurt moved him up one position, without losing his mobility and ball handling. He has an NBA body, he is a joy to watch in transition with the way he runs the floor and can be a multi positional defender. It’s when the game slows down that problems start to emerge. Cissoko doesn’t have the skillset to be a constant threat on offense (he is more of a catch and drive player, and can’t really create his own shot) and he is a below average 3-point shooter with inconsistent shooting mechanics. Size, athleticism and defensive versatility intrigue every team, but he has to show more things on the offensive end to make the next step.

6. James Nnaji (7-0, C, 2004, Barcelona)

It has been almost two years since the NBA really decided to take a good look at James Nnaji. The truth is that since then there weren’t many chances for scouts to evaluate him the way they would like, since he played at European powerhouse, Barcelona, with a lot of veteran bigs in front of him. With that said, the Nigerian prospect still managed to make an impression the last couple of months. Nnaji is a beast. A teenager with a man’s body, a ridiculous 7-7 wingspan, with great mobility and bounce. He is raw on offense and his lack of playing time has hurt his stock. But it’s not that easy to pass on a player with his size and athleticism, who grew in a great system and has shown potential as a rim runner and a rim protector.

7. Tristan Vukcevic (6-11, F/C, 2003, Partizan)

The Serbian prospect decided to keep his name in, knowing that he showed enough at the NBA Draft Combine to gain interest as a potential second rounder. It was necessary for him to have good moments in Chicago, since he had a strange season with Partizan, with plenty of playing time in ABA League and a lot of DNPs in EuroLeague. Vukcevic is an interesting case. He is almost 7-feet tall with a 7-2 wingspan and is a Stretch-5. A great shooter in Spot Up situations and Pick and Pops (even has some catch and drive game in him), someone can imagine him opening the floor in this era’s NBA. His lack of athleticism and iffy defense are considered red flags by many, but bigs with his touch don’t materialize that often.

8. Malcolm Cazalon (6-6, G/F, 2001, Mega Soccerbet)

The French prospect has been on the NBA radar for many years. This season was the one that he finally looked like he figured all out, albeit he continues to have some holes in his game. Malcolm Cazalon has been a scorer all his life. A lefty swingman with ideal size and athleticism, who does a lot of his damage on the open floor and a very good slasher, who has made strides as a facilitator and his physique helps him on defense. 3-point shooting is still the skill that needs to be added in his arsenal to make him a more complete player, while his ups and downs – even in the same game – remain an issue. But the potential is there.

9. Nadir Hifi (6-3, PG, 2002, Le Portel)

The French-Alrgerian prospect burst onto the NBA scene this season, having a great season in the French League. And he solidified himself as an NBA prospect with his showing in Treviso’s EuroCamp, where his stock really improved. Hifi is a menace on offense. He is undersized and not overly athletic, but plays at full speed and attacks the rim like few players of his size (and not elite athleticism) have done in the past. His Pull Up game is also nice, his playmaking is improving and he knows how to pressure the ball. At the same time though he is still undersized, he is a just average athlete by NBA standards and he is not an elite scorer. For a player his size, length and athleticism, he must have at least an elite skill to be able to stand in the NBA and – for now at least – he doesn’t have that.

10. Mojave King (6-5, SG, 2002, G-League Ignite)

Once considered one of the best international prospects of his generation, the New Zealander guard struggled the last couple of years before deciding to play with the G-League Ignite and find his footing, with some promising moments. Even if this didn’t happen all the way. Mojave King is a bulky shooting guard with nice length (6-8 wingspan). He has prototypical size, he is already a good defender and has the tools to become a solid 3-and-D wing. He gets most of his points in transition or with cuts to the basket for now though, he is an inconsistent 3-point shooter and can’t really create his own shot or for his teammates. If he doesn’t manage to improve as a shooter, he won’t be able to reach his ceiling.

Honorable Mention

Nikos Rogkavopoulos (6-8, G/F, 2001, Denizli Belediye) is probably the best shooter of this year’s international class and had a good season in the competitive Turkish League, but lost some ground with his showing at the Treviso EuroCamp.

Tom Digbeu (6-6, SG, 2001, Alliance Sport Alsace) had to play in France’s second division to finally showcase his talent after years of struggle. Athletic playmaking wings, who excel on the open floor and have the size and athleticism to hold their ground defensively have value, but the French prospect lost a lot of fans the last couple of years. Still, crazier things have happened in the NBA Draft.

Vincent Valerio Bodon (6-10, F, 2001, Sopron) has gained some steam. The auto-eligible forward is a Stretch-4 with good size, who can occasionally put the ball on the floor and is a smart cutter. Already 22 years old and playing in a low competition League in Hungary definitely doesn’t help his cause, but he is a player to keep an eye on.


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