Nikola Jovic (2003, 6-10, F, Mega Soccerbet)
He’s had his ups and downs the last couple of months. And his shot isn’t falling with regularity. With all that said, Jovic is still intriguing. And one of the main reasons is his playmaking ability, an area where he has taken strides showing his talent.
Jovic is a new era all around combo forward. He has great size, loves to run in transition, has shown the ability to knock down the open 3, he is already very good in Catch and Drive situations, he likes to Post Up smaller defenders, has good court vision and is really competitive. Sure there could be some questions about his perimeter defense and he is more of a streaky shooter for now. But his skill set just can’t be ignored. He is one of, if not the top international prospect of his class.
Hugo Besson (2001, 6-3, G, New Zealand Breakers)
Besson is probably the most consistent performer among this year’s International class. He made a big decision last summer to sign with the New Zealand Breakers after a season in France’s second division (Pro B), and it’s proven to be a great fit as Besson has continually been productive for his team, showing potential as a 3-level scorer. It’s obvious that he is better with the ball in his hands, but he is still a threat as a Spot Up shooter, while he has also improved as a facilitator, which is a necessity for him to make it at the next level.
Besson has his flaws. He can be a little streaky at times, he is undersized and not athletic enough for a 2-guard and his assist/turnover ratio – although improved – remains a minus. But his feel for the game and ability to score are tough to ignore.
Ismael Kamagate (2001, 6-11, C, Paris Basketball)
It is fair to say that Kamagate is having the best season of any big in this year’s class. Being on the NBA radar since 2019, the French center has put everything together this season – his first in France’s 1st division – displaying his potential, and looking better every game.
Kamagate has good size and athleticism. He is a classic rim runner, he is good in Pick and Roll situations, setting good screens and rolling to the basket, while also being a rim protector. Those things could just be enough for him to get drafted, despite the fact that it is well known that his game needs polishing and he is not as a good rebounder as someone would think. At the same time, what is interesting is that he is shooting in low 70% from the free-throw line, which suggests that he could actually add a mid-range shot in his arsenal.
Ousmane Dieng (2003, 6-9, G/F, New Zealand Breakers)
To say that Ousmane Dieng was disappointing at the beginning of the season would be an understatement. The French guard/forward looked out of place, he struggled and nothing was going well for him. But he sure has turned things around in the last couple games.
Having a bigger role – or more fitting – a role, Dieng has flourished. He is being utilized with the ball in his hands more, having finally adjusted to the pace and physicality of the NBL League and has built confidence. He attacks the basket more (although he rarely goes all the way to the rim and prefers floaters), shoots pull ups (even from the 3-point line) and has begun to impact games. With that said, since he is considered a “playmaking wing”, it can’t go unnoticed that he has just 0.9 assists per game this season with 1.3 turnovers. For a player who is supposed to be an all around combo guard who is more of a facilitator than a scorer, this number should be much better. He’s looking better, but will need to prove it over a full season to recapture draft hype as a first round hopeful.
Matteo Spagnolo (2003, 6-4, G, Vanoli Cremona)
Matteo Spagnolo continues to have a solid season in the competitive Italian League. The Italian prospect has had his ups and downs as a shooter the last couple of months – which is critical for him, since it is one of his strong points – but has shown improvement as a facilitator. To put this in perspective: After having four or more assists in just two of his first twelve games of the season, he had four such games in his next seven showings.
Spagnolo has good size for a combo guard, with his ability to score off the dribble being one that stands out. If he continues improving as a facilitator, the game will open more for him, making it easier for teams to look past his athletic limitations.
Ziga Samar (2001, 6-6, G, Fuenlabrada)
The Slovenian guard has really blossomed this season, playing mostly as a point guard and holding his own in a very competitive Spanish League. He has his ups and downs, but this doesn’t change the fact that he has shown a lot of promise, playing on and off the ball.
Samar is a point guard with good size. He is an average athlete at best by NBA standards, but he has high basketball I.Q, can play the Pick and Roll at a very good level thanks to his excellent passing instincts and he rarely makes mistakes, which is rare for a young point guard. Shooting has always being the issue for Samar, but this season has been a revelation in that regard, since he is shooting above 40% for the season from the 3-point line, despite some wild misses from time to time. If he manages to keep that going, then he could get consideration in the second round.
Karlo Matkovic (2001, 6-10, C, Mega Soccerbet)
Playing for a team that knows how to showcase players more than any team in Europe, Karlo Matkovic has really stood out this season. After spending last season mostly backing up Marko Simonovic and Filip Petrusev, the Croatian big has really shined this season, having a very good season in a League that has produced a lot of NBA prospects.
Matkovic is a late bloomer. He is a great athlete, with nice mobility, who runs the floor very well. He is already really good in Pick and Roll situations and has shown promise in the few Pick and Pop actions where has been involved, having good mechanics. He likes to finish plays strong, but at the same time has the ability to finish with either hand at the rim and crashes the offensive boards. On the defensive end he needs some work, but is a good rim protector. If Matkovic continues playing like this, he could really have some late second round buzz around draft time.
Gui Santos (2002, 6-6, G/F, Minas)
After a good showing in the 2020/21 season, Gui Santos raised the expectations this season. Truth to be told, he actually has been better in almost every area, except on, although this could cause him: Shooting.
Gui Santos is a player that is easy to like. He is 6-6 (might be 6-7 now) with a 7-0 foot wingspan. He is an all around wing, who plays with energy on both ends of the floor. He has improved considerably as a playmaker, showing that he could become a good second creator. He can do just about everything on the floor at a good level, while at the same time averaging almost 1 steal and 1 block per game. It’s not that common – on any level- to find a wing who averages a block per game. Shooting is probably what is holding back Santos, for now, but he sure has shown some things that could intrigue scouts.
Khalifa Diop (2002, 6-11, C, Gran Canaria)
Khalifa Diop is having a solid season with Gran Canaria in a competitive Spanish League. He doesn’t do too much on offense – and he is not asked to do. But he definitely has his moments on defense, which was always the case for him.
Diop is an interesting case. He runs the floor well, he is a solid screener and good roller, has a basic Post Up game- nothing flashy but semi dependable – and is a good offensive rebounder, while he can keep his ground on defense. He is still a work in progress and needs work in every area, but has shown some glimpses this season.
Ariel Hukporti (2002, 7-1, C, Melbourne)
A solid role, for a winning team, in a competitive league is always good. Hukporti checks all 3 boxes and that’s good for his stock, despite the fact that he hasn’t exactly blown up this season. But a role player being able to play within his role is something that a lot of scouts appreciate when they evaluate a prospect.
The lefty center was always intriguing due to his size, above average athleticism and just above average mobility. He needs work on both ends of the floor, but has shown potential as a Pick and Roll big, with a basic Post Up game, who rebounds the ball well, while at the same time he is a great rim protector and can cover the Pick and Roll at a very good level. His stock might not be as high as it was a few years ago, but he could still draw some interest.
Gabriele Procida (2002, 6-8, G/F, Fortitudo Bologna)
The Italian prospect continues to have an impact for his team. Playing quality minutes at a good level, Procida is establishing himself as a future 3-and-D player. Now it’s time for him to make the next step. If he does, the chances of him getting drafted in the 2nd round should increase.
Procida is a wing with good size and an acceptable level of athleticism for the NBA level. He is a threat in Spot Up situations and has shown versatility on the defensive end. He is not elite in any area and should improve his decision making. But he has made a case to at least be considered as a potential second rounder.
Yannick Nzosa (2003, 7-0, C, Unicaja)
The struggle is real for Yannick Nzosa, who continues having problems adjusting to playing at a higher level. It was in the first few days of 2022 when he had a decent game for the last time, with Nzosa practically out of the rotation since then, playing sparingly.
It was never about the present for the center from Congo. What everyone saw in him, what everyone is still trying to see in him is the potential. He is long, he is athletic and has shown promise as a Rim runner and rim protector. Everyone knows that bigs mature at a slower pace and he is still young. But at some point he has to show something, otherwise it’s difficult to imagine him keeping his name on the board.
Tristan Vukcevic (2003, 6-11, F/C, Partizan)
After being transferred from Real Madrid to Partizan, many thought that Tristan Vukcevic would have the chance to shine playing for a lower level team. What all these people couldn’t understand was that Partizan is also playing at a very high level in Eurocup. Even worse, the Serbian team was already really deep in the frontcourt, making it difficult for Vukcevic to have the playing time he might have hoped for.
Playing behind established veterans, is more like the 5th big in Partizan’s rotation. That’s better than being constantly out of the rotation like he would be if he had stayed in Real Madrid, but it’s still not enough for him to show what he can do on the floor. Vukcevic is an intriguing prospect, with a nice feel for the game and Stretch-Big potential. But if he doesn’t play, then it will be difficult for him to demonstrate that.
Roko Prkacin (2002, 6-9, F, Cibona)
An injury kept Prkacin out of action for more than two months, with the Croatian combo forward returning to action just recently. And he has a lot of ground to cover in the months ahead to convince NBA scouts that he is ready, especially considering that his stock has been falling since last season.
Prkacin has been scouted heavily the last couple of years. It couldn’t go any other way considering his success and performances in FIBA’s junior level events. He has an interesting skill set as a – do it all combo forward – on offense, with his physicality and ability to play Face Up or Back to the basket being his strong points. But his shooting isn’t there yet and he might be a tweener in a bad way on defense. In his case though, it all goes down to his shooting. If he has a strong finish on the season and improves as a shooter, he could turn the tables.
Ibou Dianko Badji (2002, 7-1, C, Lleida)
Playing in the Spanish 2nd Division, Ibou Dianko Badji continues to struggle. That’s at least strange considering that he has probably one of the most athletic profiles (if not THE most athletic profile) for an international big in years, being 7-1 with a 7-8 wingspan and great level of athleticism. He is just too raw though with his feel for the game and basketball I.Q needing work.
With that said, Badji is still as intimidating as any international prospect has been. He can play the Pick and Roll and is a great rim protector. He just has to put things together.
Carlos Alocen (2000, 6-5, G, Real Madrid)
A deep Real Madrid roster, injuries and COVID-19 have limited Carlos Alocen this season. The Spanish prospect just can’t catch a break, being mostly out of the rotation and his stock has plummeted.
Alocen still intrigues as a big point guard with the ability to make his teammates better, despite the questions about his shooting. But that’s his second bad season in a row. Recent past has shown that you could never be too sure about an international player’s stock. There have been some surprises in recent Drafts (Vanja Marinkovic in 2019 and Giorgos Kalaitzakis last season, both drafted at 60 come to mind). As things stand now though, it’s really difficult to imagine Alocen getting drafted.
Nikos Rogkavopoulos (2001, 6-8, G/F, Promitheas)
A coaching change in Promitheas proved to be a negative for Nikos Rogkavopoulos. The Greek wing started the season with some encouraging performances, had the ball in his hands more and looked to be on the right track to at least be considered as a second rounder. The last couple of months though have been rough for him, since he has a different role, playing mostly off the ball.
Rogkavopoulos is still considered a player with 3-level scoring potential. He is a good – but streaky – shooter, has shown that he can shoot off the dribble, he moves great without the ball and has a rare ability for a wing to crash the offensive boards. Average athleticism, decision making and inconsistency were always the issues for him. And although there’s not much he can do to improve as an athlete, playing time and a different role could convince scouts that he can improve.