1995 born, early draft entrant Guerschon Yabusele impressed numerous scouts at the 2015 adidas Eurocamp. He has a massive frame but also possesses very good body control, agility, explosiveness and shooting touch. His 7-foot-1 wingspan helps make up for the fact that he’s a short (6-foot-8) power forward. He has strung together four straight 20 point performances and is one of the intriguing international prospects for the first round this year. We got the chance to interview him to learn more about his future NBA plans and background.
NBADraft.net: Rouen has had a tough season in terms of wins and losses, falling near the bottom of the standings, can you explain your choice of club and was consistent playing time a factor in your choice?
Guerschon Yabusele: At the beginning of the season during the summer, with my agent we picked this team because we know the team we’re going to play in the middle of the championship and it was an opportunity for me to play a lot of minutes and to succeed on the court.
NBADraft.net: How do you describe your season this year? And how do you explain the vast improvement in production over the past few weeks?
Guerschon Yabusele: We lost a lot of players but I think I played good this year and I think I really showed what I can do in the pro game on offense and defense.
NBADraft.net: Any veterans or teammates serve as a mentor for you?
Guerschon Yabusele: Yes, Jean-Michel (Mipoka) and Alain (Koffi), they talk to me all the time. Everybody on this team talks to each other discussing how to be better, even me because I’m young. I’m really trying to go to the NBA so I’m trying to play the game with concentration.
NBADraft.net: How has your experience been playing with the national team (u-20)? Did it help develop your game?
Guerschon Yabusele: Yes, this was really good for me because I was the leader of the team so I tried to talk to the players every time to be close to each other and on the court, so it was a good experience for me and I will never forget this year.
NBADraft.net: On draft night, many American fans may be unfamiliar with you, how do you describe your game to them?
Guerschon Yabusele: First of all, I can make sure the defense does very well, I have to move my feet and I know I can take a rebound. I can shoot. I can dribble.
NBADraft.net: What position are you most comfortable guarding 3’s, 4’s, or 5’s?
Guerschon Yabusele: Fours, but I can guard threes and fives.
NBADraft.net: You have a huge, very strong frame. Is weight lifting a big part of your success? How long have you been doing weight training?
Guerschon Yabusele: I was doing the weight training like five years ago with a trainer. But a lot of my strength is natural so I think I can get bigger.
NBADraft.net: Do you feel that the NBA three pointer will be a part of your game?
Guerschon Yabusele: Yes, I am watching a lot of NBA games and I really think I can play over there. I really like the way they play and I really like the NBA and think I can be good.
NBADraft.net: Is there anyone you try to model your game after?
Guerschon Yabusele: Draymond Green and sometimes I watch a lot of old highlights of Charles Barkley.
NBADraft.net: Who has been your biggest influence in your basketball career?
Guerschon Yabusele: My family. Most of the time my mom. I think about my family every time for motivation.
NBADraft.net: What aspect of your game do you most want to add to or improve upon?
Guerschon Yabusele: The three ball. The shot a little bit, I have to work on it and that’s it.
NBADraft.net: Who has been the most difficult opponent you have faced?
Guerschon Yabusele: It was on the French team U20 my first year, it was (Alexander) Vezenkov, he plays in Barcelona right now.
NBADraft.net: You played at adidas Nations last year, you only practiced at the event why didn’t you play in the games?
Guerschon Yabusele: I was supposed to play but they found out I was playing in France and I got a pro contract so they wouldn’t let me play because they said the other players were so young.
NBADraft.net: How have you improved since then?
Guerschon Yabusele: I work every time, every day. Like I said I’m thinking about the NBA, I work every day. I won’t let anything stop me. I just keep my head up and focus all my energy on the court.
NBADraft.net: Are you planning on participating in this year’s Adidas Eurocamp?
Guerschon Yabusele: Maybe, I have to figure it out with my agent and maybe I’ll play over there but I don’t know yet.
NBADraft.net: How long have you been playing basketball?
Guerschon Yabusele: 12 years.
NBADraft.net: What age did you realize the NBA was a realistic goal and how important is making it to the NBA?
Guerschon Yabusele: I think maybe two years ago and it was so important for me because like I said I really like the NBA. I am watching games every time so when I realized I can play over there, it gave me motivation and I really gave all my energy on the court to play over there.
NBADraft.net: Have you had any setbacks with injuries or anything else?
Guerschon Yabusele: No.
NBADraft.net: Did the thought of coming to the US to play in college ever come to mind?
Guerschon Yabusele: Yeah I was thinking about it but I was getting paid, I was under contract so I know I can’t play over there, I would miss some games so I stayed to play professionally here.
NBADraft.net: If you had come over, which college appealed to you?
Guerschon Yabusele: I don’t really know. I watch the college game but maybe like a big school like North Carolina but I don’t know.
NBADraft.net: Next season, who are you looking forward to competing against the most?
Guerschon Yabusele: I really want to play against Draymond Green. I like to see how he plays. I really want to play against LeBron’s (James) team. Those two.
NBADraft.net: What are your contract obligations for next year? Will you have a buyout?
Guerschon Yabusele: Yes we have a buyout but I have to figure it out with my agent and see how we can do it.
NBADraft.net: What separates you from everyone else entering the draft? What does an NBA team get in Guerschon Yabusele?
Guerschon Yabusele: I’m undersized, I know it but I really got a lot of energy. I think I have more energy and more strength. I can run, I can dunk hard, I can jump. I’m young and I know I’m getting better. I can rebound and I can defend.