By Aran Smith and Michael Visenberg
Ben Simmons 6-9 240 SF/PF LSU Fr.
Simmons showed up for just one day at Nations as the LSU squad was off to Australia for a tour. He was clearly the top college prospect and it wasn’t close. He toyed with the competition and got by his man at will, making some nice plays. He hit one impressive 15 foot fadaway while being guarded by Buddy Hield, but he forced his next shot while falling way out of bounds. One scout, in comparing him to LeBron, said he felt that Simmons wasn’t nearly as aggressive attacking the rim and usually penetrates to kick the ball out. He wasn’t quite as impressive at Nations as he had been at Nike Academy, but then again he wasn’t matching up with Davis from New Orleans or Harden, like he did in Santa Monica. He had just one day, but it was a solid performance, and remains the top prospect for the 2015 draft.
Buddy Hield 6-4 215 SG Oklahoma Sr.
Hield made a lot of believers out of scouts at Nations. We probably had him rated a little high as a late lottery pick after Nike Academy, due to his lack of ideal size, but his great offensive skill set and high basketball IQ make him sort of a poor man’s Harden. He has tremendous heart and determination, and is a high character kid who was fortunate enough to skip all of the AAU BS and shows no sense of entitlement. Scouts felt that he was a borderline first round guy before seeing him at Nations, but now see him as a surefire mid to late first for 2016.
Guershcon Yabusele 6-8 260 PF/SF France 1995
Yabusele was one of the hidden attractions at Nations, along with Sidy N’dir. The pair put on a small workout together in front of a handful of scouts. Scouts that were familiar with Yabusele from Eurocamp and his play in Europe made a point to watch him in warm ups and drills as he a mid/first round talent but was scratched from participating for Team Africa in games since he has signed with a pro team. We included him here instead of in the International report due to his age. He showed in 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 half court drills that he has an improved outside shot. And his physicality was far too much for his African teammates to handle as he tossed them around like rag dolls. With a 7-plus foot wingspan, he makes up for being a little undersized with a great length, skill level, explosiveness and body control. He’s also a great kid with thirst to improve and positive attitude. Late lottery is not out of the for this late bloomer.
Tim Quarterman 6-6 185 PG/SG LSU Jr.
Quarterman was good in his lone day of action, showing nice court vision along with PG skills while also displaying the ability to get by his man and make plays for others on the move. He’s a competitive kid who has excellent size for the PG position. It will be interesting to see how the point guard responsibilities get doled out in Baton Rouge. Ben Simmons may handle some of it, while Quarterman could possibly handle even more.
Devin Robinson 6-8 190 SF/PF Florida So.
Robinson is an intriguing prospect. While scouts question his ability to play the wing posiiton due to his inability to defend on the perimeter, his high level athleticism and shooting ability make him intriguing as a new wave stretch 4. He doesn’t appear to have great confidence and his play can suffer through bouts of inconsistency. But there’s a lot of upside due to his elite athletic attributes. If he has the break out season he’s capable of having at Florida, we could be looking at a late lottery level prospect. If he proves not ready for prime time as a sophomore, he could be a guy that needs another year and ends up as a bubble first rounder.
Isaiah Taylor 6-2 180 PG Texas Jr.
Taylor still has shot issues, although it does appear to have improved, as he knocked down one three ball with decent form. The trademark of his game remains his ability to get by his man, using crafty floaters and solid vision around the basket to set teammates up. His strength also appears to have improved, which is a real positive for him. Lack of strength may have been a contributing factor in his fragility over the past couple seasons, and also should allow him to play more physical and absorb contact on drives.
Aubrey Dawkins 6-6 200 SG/SF Michigan So.
Amongst the college counselors, Dawkins was one of the pleasant surprises. He made great use of the playing time he received due to Caris LeVert’s injury last season, and some scouts feel he might be a better prospect than higher rated Zak Irvin. Dawkins had some huge games at the end of the season. He didn’t blow up at Nations, but was solid. He has an extremely strong body and plays both smart and aggressive. Scouts noted that he’s a guy with a chance to be a first rounder in the future.
James Webb 6-9 210 SF/PF Boise St. Jr.
Webb was one of the better performers at both Nations and Nike Academy. His outside shooting and all around play was very solid. He was forced to match up against much stronger post players defensively, and at times his lack of strength was exploited. But he showed a willingness to battle and excelled offensively. His outside shooting is what makes his potential intriguing. He’s still skinny as a rail and at his age that’s a concern. But if he can develop a better handle and ability to create shots for himself on the perimeter, as well as guard, his lack of strength won’t be quite as big an issue.
Jake Layman 6-9 220 SF Maryland Sr.
Layman is not a great scorer and is sort of unselfish to a fault. But he played hard and flashed above average athleticism and nice assertiveness. His numbers weren’t the greatest, but he appeared to be hustling and making plays. He’s a jack of all trades, master of none type. Layman’s impact should be key for a team vying for a championship and is considered the favorite by Vegas at this point.
Troy Williams 6-7 200 SF Indiana So.
Man of Troy was an athletic dynamo once again. He has NBA athleticism and then some. And even considering the wildness and mental mistakes at times, his athleticism really has piqued the interest of NBA scouts. This is a kid that makes plays around the rim routine. His ability to crash the glass and get out on the break and finish is breath taking. But his decision making and shot selection and form need a lot of improvement.
Amida Brimah 6-11 230 C UConn Jr.
Brimah was a bit of a disappointment. He excels in the role of rim protector and made his presence felt in the role. His massive wingspan allows him to patrol the paint and be a force. But his offensive game is severely limited by his lack of good hands. He struggles to make simple catches off teammates entry passes and also has trouble on rebounds as the ball doesn’t seem to stick to his hands easily. He’s robotic in his post moves and has not put on ideal strength in his 2 plus years in college. While he had some dunks and did show effort, there was more to dissect than appreciate.
Wayne Selden 6-5 230 SG Kansas Jr.
Selden was solid once again at Nations. This is his kind of setting, as he’s better in a wide open, less structured basketball environment. He looked very good early on, utilizing his strength and athleticism to get to the rim for finishes. His shot was decent as well. But his game seemed to trail off some as the event went on. His decision making remains his biggest drawback as he often forces things and lacks discipline when on offense. His ball handling and shooting have not shown much improvement and it’s difficult to argue against those that claim that he peaked at 17. He was a point guard while in high school, but seems to have lost his feel for passing and ball handling. His speed off the dribble is another weak spot, and it’s possible that his huge frame and strength slow him down to a degree. Regardless, he has natural athleticism and ability. If he can develop some confidence and get back to where he was speed wise while in high school, he could have a break out season.
Nigel Hayes 6-8 240 PF Wisconsin Jr.
Hayes now has some big shoes to fill heading into his junior season, where he is expected to be Wisconsin’s main scoring option following the departure of Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker. An undersized PF who does his best to make up for it with a massive wingspan, Hayes was probably seen as one of the more highly regarded prospects here, though he failed to standout much during the camp’s five college scrimmages. Hayes firmly entrenched himself as the third option on the NCAA Tournament Runner-up as he showed an ability to stretch the floor to the college three point line. While he was more often than not one of the first players getting in to get some extra shots up at Nations, he does have a tendency to shoot on the way down and has his guide hand on top of the basketball, both of which are concerns for consistency and extending his shot. He also had issues with longer, more athletic players, without a real go-to move to get his offense flowing. His improvement from his freshman to his sophomore season on such a high level team was encouraging, though there were certainly things here that could point to signs of difficulty taking on the role of main option this upcoming season.
Abdul Malik Abu 6-8 245 PF NC State So.
The standout quality for Malik Abu is his explosive leaping ability; he can make plays above the rim and provides a great deal of energy. This helps him on the boards, where he is particularly effective on the offensive glass. He played in his team’s first three games, providing a nice complementary role in a pair of wins. Right now he does not do much to stretch the floor and he does not possess ideal size at the 4 spot, with rather limited ball skills as well. He still was one of the better athletes among the college counselors here and has some upside as he works on his skill set and expands his game.
Thomas Bryant 6-11 250 C Indiana Fr.
While he was the youngest college counselor by a considerable margin, Bryant’s combination of physical tools and effort helped him make a strong impact, as he seemed to improve more than anyone as the games went on. He has solid dimensions for a young center, with a massive wingspan and a nice frame, especially for having just turned 18-years old at the start of the camp. His lateral quickness is still a work in progress, as is his low post footwork and offensive arsenal, but he provides intensity rarely exhibited from a player his size. Bryant may be viewed by some as a project but his skill level is surprisingly advanced for his age, and he should be a force as a rebounder and shot blocker right away. He certainly has one of the higher upsides of any college players at this year’s adidas Nations.
Yogi Ferrell 6-0 180 PG Indiana Sr.
After a very rough first game, Yogi provided a steady hand for his Mavericks team, saving his best game for last in the “college championship” game. Size will be something that is brought up as one of his main detriments, as it may be a stretch to say he is 6-0 tall. Even so, he has a great court sense and has proven himself to be a deadly outside shooter time and again. Where his size may hurt him most is on the defensive end, where as he is more shifty than fast offensively. While a solid leader, scouts complain that Yogi passes as a last resort far too often and pounds the rock instead of moving it and finding teammates more quickly. He has the makings of European level PG.
Antonio Blakeney 6-4 190 SG LSU Fr.
He only got one game under his belt before he and his LSU teammates had to leave for their exhibition trip to Australia, so we did not have a lot to judge Blakeney by here. Having seen him at the Nike Skills Academy shortly before, much of the same still applies. It does seem like he was worked on his body, though it is still a work in progress. He still tries to do a bit too much at times and needs to become more discerning with his shot selection. It certainly seems like he could develop into a much better playmaker for others if he focuses on it. While he has a good level of explosiveness and can be a dangerous offensive threat, he still has a lot of things to work on before weighing his draft options.
Frank Mason 5-11 185 PG Kansas Jr.
Few players attack the rim harder than Mason, as he also provides some of the classic full court pressure you like to see out of smaller PG’s. He arrived after the first day and scored in double figures in each of the four games he played. The major thing with Mason is that he can sometimes be reckless, getting himself into awkward positions with his aggressive style and sometimes having “blinders” on when driving to the hoop. More often than not if Frank makes a move toward the basket, his teammates can begin boxing out. While he has proven to be a talented scorer, as seen during his run during the World University Games in Korea, he has yet to prove himself completely considering his lack of size. He has made some strides as a playmaker, but has plenty of room for improvement entering his junior year.
Anthony Barber 6-2 180 PG NC State Jr.
Barber got better in each one of his three games, culminating with an unfortunate foul which brought an end to his camp. He was certainly one of the quicker players on the floor and has an ability to penetrate which he uses well to kick out. He still is not the most physically imposing guard and his jump shot remains a major question mark. He did show some improvement as an outside shooter during this past season, it just does not seem that he is confident in midrange looks and is more streaky than consistent. He was unable to convince NBA scouts of his pro readiness, but he still has some qualities, in particular speed, that could eventually give him an NBA chance.
Sheldon McClellan 6-5 205 SG Miami Sr.
McClellan may not possess the greatest top end speed, but he impressed some people here with his lateral quickness and ability to defend the perimeter. He lacks consistency as a shooter and is not the most creative player off the dribble. He has decent size for a SG and has displayed some ability to finish at the basket, though he is more of a slasher than creator. His developing an ability to hit the open look off of screens and catch-and-shoot scenarios will be key as far as his next level prospects are concerned.
Monte Morris 6-2 170 PG Iowa St. Jr.
The thing Morris is most well known for is his precision; he is the player you want with the ball in his hands and boasts an incredible 4.7:1 assist-to-turnover ratio during his first two seasons at Iowa State. He also greatly improved his efficiency as a shooter while showing leadership and confidence that belies his age. At Nations, he was solid, just not spectacular. Even with his level headed play, there are concerns about how he may translate to the NBA given his lack of strength. A player who has produced as well for a big time team while minimizing errors will definitely get looks, it will be about whether he can truly separate himself from opposing PG’s in other facets as well that dictate his future worth at the next level.
Georges Niang 6-8 235 PF Iowa St. Sr.
Niang’s versatility on offense is something that continuously makes him effective, as he managed to score and create in many different ways. It also is quite obvious that while he has a really good mind for the game to go with strong reflexes, he is a tweener by NBA standards due to his lack of size and athleticism. He has been among the Big 12’s best players for the last two seasons, improved his outside shooting and remains a great passer. Still, it is very hard to project him in the NBA due to questions about who he can guard, much less whether he would remain close to as effective as he has been in college. Even though he averaged double figures here, one could see issues he had dealing with the PF’s at the camp, many of whom are well below the level that he will be facing in the NBA.
Caleb Swanigan 6-8 265 PF/C Purdue Fr.
The immediate thing that was noticeable about Swanigan was how much more toned he looked at Nations in the few months after seeing him at the Hoop Summit. It does seem like he is very focused on conditioning for the college level and it did seem to help him here. What also stood out is that even with his lighter frame, he did not appear to have gained much in terms of athleticism. He has very soft hands that he combines with his massive arms and body to create space for post opportunities. He also has a nice understanding of spacing and does a good job of carving out space to help out on the boards. The huge question mark will be who he defends at the next level, as he is a player that relies much more on smarts and size as opposed to athleticism. This should help him make a major impact at Purdue, but it is still questionable whether it will translate when he faces players his size who are considerably faster and more explosive.
Joel Bolomboy 6-8 230 PF Weber St. Sr.
The Weber St. Product made his presence felt, as he was among the better run / jump athletes at his position at Nations. He gave a strong effort defensively and showed tenacity as a rebounder. Though he certainly looks the part of a PF, he may be a tad undersized and is more than likely an inch shorter than the height listed by his school. He also still has to prove he can be a consistent outside shooter. If he cuts down on turnovers and refines his ball skills, he could possibly get some 2nd round looks.
Brice Johnson 6-10 230 PF North Carolina Sr.
Johnson has always looked the part of a NBA prospect, even as a rail thin McDonald’s All-American. He has grown into his body considerably and at times shows a very nice activity level. This is all underscored by the phrase “when he is on the floor”, as he has been plagued by foul trouble and showed why at times with a lot of questionable decisions. In a league that is leaning more towards players who can stretch the floor, Johnson still may have a place if he can prove he can develop a consistent mid-range shot plus bring positive energy and defense. If he can manage to get more consistent minutes, while showing a bit of refinement as a post option, it would do wonders for his draft stock.
Zach Auguste 6-10 240 PF Notre Dame Sr.
For some fans, the Notre Dame-Kentucky Elite Eight game was an introduction to Auguste, who had a very nice junior season even up until that point. As he made some very nice plays that almost won the Irish the upset and helped him finish with 20 points, people also seem to forget that this was also the game where Karl-Anthony Towns had the performance that seemed to solidify him as the 1st in 2015. Auguste is a lefty who has some good physical qualities for a big man, but still is not incredibly consistent as far as go-to post moves and is more comfortable facing up. He also has major concerns as far as post defense, as he was exposed by more than just Towns as he took on his larger role as a junior. Auguste needs to improve his conditioning and tone his body. He is still a player to watch and moves fairly well given his size, he just did not do a lot to ease scout’s minds in terms of his potential weaknesses.
Kyle Wiltjer 6-10 235 PF Gonzaga Sr.
After sitting on the bench for a majority of the Pan-Am games for Canada, Wiltjer was ready to go here and finished as the 2nd leading college scorer after Buddy Hield. He is a dangerous outside shooter, who also seems to find clever ways to get decent looks close to the hoop. He appears set to have a monster senior year at Gonzaga and is an early favorite to be a 2016 1st Team All-American. So, does this guarantee him a spot in the draft? It helps, but people still question who he guards at the next level. He does not have what many would call “an NBA body” and his lack of quickness will be something that could be preyed upon. His high level shooting should gain him a spot, but he must get stronger and tougher to not be a huge defensive and rebounding liability on the block.
Thomas Welsh 7-0 240 C UCLA So.
The young big man plays hard and even has a decent touch out to the midrange. Coming off of a Gold Medal with USA’s U19 team, he seems primed to have a larger role this season for the Bruins. Even without a huge wingspan, Welsh is a legit 7-footer who blocks and changes shots near the basket, has decent hands and is developing confidence in his post game. He was probably the most solid of all of the Bruins at the camp (outside of a one game appearance by former Bruin and current Toronto Raptor, Norman Powell). He is nothing to write home about athletically and needs to develop more of a killer instinct at the basket, though it was apparent that he has made some strides.
Isaiah Whitehead 6-4 210 SG Seton Hall So.
His time at Nations had its ups and downs, with the highlight being the 28 points he put up in his final game. Whitehead certainly has talent as a scorer and a shot you have to respect, though at times he is a bit wild with his decision making. He is a good athlete, though does not have fantastic quickness and really does not blow by defenders. Improving his shot selection and playing more within the flow of the offense will be key for his long term prospects. He did his time at Nations as the 3rd leading scorer among college counselors and showed that he could up his efficiency as a sophomore.
Jalen Jones 6-7 225 SF Texas A&M Sr.
Jones is a slasher who can finish at the rim and was very active in multiple facets. His outside shooting still lacks consistency, but he is coming off of a solid junior season and should be a good senior leader for the youth movement entering Texas A&M. Already 23-years old, he nonetheless showed a level of maturity here and a workman’s attitude that definitely was noticed. He works very well as a slasher, with long arms and strength that will make him a tough match-up for most opposing wings.
Mamadou N'Diaye 7-6 300 C UC Irvine Jr.
It is sort of hard not to love the big man as a person; he works very hard and was focusing on his post game with trainers before a majority of games. The first few times he runs down the floor, he even seemed to have a surprising spring to his step. The problem is, after a few possessions, his energy appears to be zapped. Ndiaye is a real presence when he is on the floor and was alleged to have been measured with an 8’3” wingspan that would even put Rudy Gobert to shame. Even so, his reflexes are painfully slow, he had many passes bounce off and through his hands. To make matters worse, physical play pushing him from the basket also does wonders to further drain his energy. His overall lack of speed in his reflexes relegate his pro prospects to leagues that would allow him to camp in the paint on defense.