Sekou Doumbouya had one of the most impressive performances you will ever see at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championships last December. According to RealGM, the teenager posted averages of 21.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per 40 minutes against players almost three years older than him, as he was yet to turn 16 at the time of the tournament.
That was possible because despite his age, Doumbouya already has an NBA-caliber frame, listed at six-foot-nine and 210 pounds by Draft Express, so he’s able to not only compete above his age group but even dominate from a physical-standpoint, as France used him as a big man who made most of his plays close to the basket.
Without a whole lot else to improve in terms of size, except maybe grow another inch or two and fortify the strength he already possesses, Doumbouya is off to the pro level, as INSEP has loaned him to Poitiers 86, a club that plays the French LNB Pro B – the country’s second division, where he’s already logged 214 minutes in 15 appearances this season.
Doumbouya excelled at everything related to athletic ability at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championships.
He got consistently deep post position due to his combination of size and strength. According to RealGM, Doumbouya finished 30.4% of France’s possessions with a shot, foul shot or turnover in his 29.4 minutes per game on the floor, with a good chunk of his touches coming with his back to the basket.
He used his strength to back his way into short range hooks and even flashed some fluid footwork, though he is yet to develop a diverse set of moves. Relying heavily on his power moves, Doumbouya drew fouls in volume and averaged 8.2 foul shots per 40 minutes.
Put in the pick-and-roll, he was a pretty shitty screener who almost never to draw contact but flashed elite explosiveness elevating off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs.
His effort on the offensive glass wasn’t all that impressive but Doumbouya appears to have elite length to rebound outside of his area, collecting 11% of France’s misses when he was on the floor – far from an elite mark, but a meaningful contribution nonetheless.
When he stepped outside on the perimeter from time to time, Doumbouya showed a lot of fluidity attacking closeouts and coordination to take it from outside the three-point line all the way to the basket on straight line drives, able to cover a ton of ground with his long strides and maintain his balance through contact.
On the other end, Doumbouya showed flashes of potential elite defense. When he is in position and puts in the effort to make plays, his quickness and length can act as difference makers.
During his best moments, Doumbouya used his mobility to defend all over the floor; running shooters off the three-point line on long closeouts, showing-and-recovering on pick-and-rolls way high in the perimeter, keeping pace with dribble drivers when they got downhill in the pick-and-roll and picking up smaller players on switches – working hard on ball denial, bending his knees to get low in a stance, showcasing lateral quickness to stay in front and using his length to intimidate shots.
His biggest impact was still close to the basket, though. When he finds himself well positioned, Doumbouya can elevate explosively off two feet stepping into the front of the basket to block shots.
He’s also attentive to his boxout responsibilities and proved himself able to hold his ground and get physical against older competition, collecting 20.2% of opponents’ misses at this event.
SKILL LEVEL & AWARENESS
But though he’s shown some flashes, Doumbouya is still in his infancy with regards to the finer details of the game, those related to skill level and recognition of what’s going on around him in a given moment.
He’s shown glimpses of intelligent play on defense, rotating inside to cut off the roll man diving to the basket but his awareness is still mostly iffy and he doesn’t challenge enough shots at the basket because of it. Despite his explosiveness elevating off one foot as well, Doumbouya doesn’t often make it to the rim in help defense, which is why he averaged just 1.1 blocks per 40 minutes at this event – a good chunk of those in transition defense.
And though he did very well in individual defense, Doumbouya is still easily tricked by shot fakes, as he’s prone to leaving his feet to try blocking jump-shots and makes himself vulnerable to fouling.
On offense, Doumbouya can handle the ball in transition but isn’t yet a viable option to initiate offense regularly because his handle is loose and he struggles against pressure.
Doumbouya can get to the basket in isolation thanks to his explosive first step and long strides, proving himself able to blow by just about every opposing big he faced in that tournament, but doesn’t yet have a particularly advanced set of dribble moves. He did flash the abilities to hesitate-and-go and go between the legs but doesn’t have much side-to-side shake.
At the basket, Doumbouya struggled to finish through contact and with his touch on non-dunk finishes, which explains his below average .452 effective field goal percentage, despite the fact he didn’t take many jumpers.
Most of the jumpers he did take were catch-and-shoot three-pointers out of spot-ups, as he didn’t show any dynamism in his shot to get looks out of the pick-and-pop or coming off screens. His release is not all that consistent yet, as he missed 17 of his 20 three-point shots at the 2016 U18 FIBA European Championships but has nailed 10 of his 25 such attempts with Poitiers in the French LNB Pro B.
He is still very raw in terms of being able to create for others as well. Doumbouya has flashed some very appealing ability to make drop-off passes on dribble drives with Poitiers but struggled mightily in traffic or when double teamed and crowded in post at the Euros U18, averaging 5.1 turnovers per 40 minutes and handing out just three assists in six appearances at the event.
 The French sports academy sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Youth and Sport
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara