Franz Wagner Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Seventh-ranked prospect in Europe, among those born in 2001[1];
  • Pure perimeter player listed at six-foot-seven[2] with a frame speculated to be around the 190-pound range[3];
    • Measured with a six-foot-eight wingspan in the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic a couple of years ago[4] but might be lengthier by now given his grown in height;
  • Will turn 18 in August[5];
  • Developed on Alba Berlin’s youth system over the past three years;
  • Appeared in 67 games and averaged 13 minutes per game as a pro last season: 58 games with Alba Berlin in the German BBL, the Eurocup and the German Cup and nine with Alba’s B team SSV lok Bernau Alba in the German Pro B (second division)[6];
  • Low level rotation player for most of the year but was relied on a little bit more towards the end of the season – had 21-minute and 16-minute appearances against Bayern Munich in the German BBL semifinals;
  • Acted solely as a floor spacer in the pros and did very little as a ball handler against older competition;
    • 59.7% of his shots were three-point attempts last season;
    • 17.5% usage rate;
    • Showed glimpses of being able to take shots on the move;
  • Weakside defender for the most part: impressed with his activity executing the scheme and making plays in the passing lanes but struggles when forced to navigate through screens and hasn’t shown be an asset in rim protection or rebounding;
  • Is said to be joining Michigan next season;
  • Selected for the German National Team that will play the U18 FIBA European Championships in Volos, Greece starting next weekend.

SHOOTING

  • Has a low release, launching the ball from out in front, but gets a good deal of elevation for someone his height and has a quick trigger due to compact mechanics – able to shoot over or prior to closeouts reasonably comfortably;
  • Has shown legit NBA range at times and tends to get a good arc under his shot for the most part;
  • Took most of his shots on standstill spot-ups but also flashed some ability to take shots on the move relocating around the wing, as the trailer in transition and sprinting to the ball on dribble-handoffs;
  • Good balance and fluidity shot faking into a three-pointer off an escape dribble against hard closeouts;
  • Nailed 38.4% of his 125 three-point shots last season, at a pace of 5.7 such attempts per 40 minutes;
  • Flashes of functional ball skills and balance to get off an elbow pull-up handling on side pick-and-rolls off handoffs.

OTHER AREAS OF OFFENSE

  • Struggles to get all the way to the basket putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position;
    • Has not shown a whole lot of speed with the ball on straight line drives or shiftiness shaking his defender side-to-side;
  • Yet to show much dynamism or particularly impressive court vision as a ball handler in pick-and-roll;
  • Has shown glimpses of explosive leaping ability off one foot in transition, which suggests he might have untapped athletic potential to develop as his body evolves;
  • Below the rim finisher in the half-court at this point of his development but has flashed some interesting resources in traffic;
    • Scoop finishes with both hands and off awkward balance;
    • Wrong foot, wrong hand layups;
    • Jump-stop into a shot-fake to bait the rim protector into leaving his feet;
    • 64% true shooting on 265 field goal attempts and 65 free throws last season;
  • Smart cutter;
  • Willing screener off the ball, sprints to screen;
  • Ball mover;
  • Tries to post up smaller players from time-to-time but is yet to develop a patient approach or many resources operating with his back to the basket, mostly looking for quick basic turnaround layups.

DEFENSE

  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance on the ball and stays in a stance off the ball;
  • Is active crashing in to help crowd the area near the basket on actions in the opposite side of the court, executes stunts, rotates in to pick up the roll man, clogs driving lanes and showed some reactionary instincts making plays in the passing lanes;
    • Averaged 2.5 steals per 40 minutes last season;
    • Not the sort of athlete who can help protect the rim as a shot blocking threat or a willing charge drawer;
  • Attentive to his boxout responsibilities putting a body on whoever is close by but is only average chasing the ball off the rim against older competition;
    • Collected just 12.4% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor;
  • Attentive enough to switch on the fly when needed, puts in the effort to try fronting the post to deny an easy entry, plays with pleasing intensity while trying to hold his ground and guards with his arms up;
    • Might develop into a legit option to pick up bigger players on switches regularly if his physical profile continues to develop, as he has already shown impressive tenacity for the task;
  • Has shown glimpses of being able to run the shooter off the line on hard closeouts and stay balance to defend off the dribble;
  • Struggles to negotiate multiple picks chasing shooters around the floor and tends to crash into ball-screens defending at the point of attack;
  • Unable to stay in front one-on-one against dynamic types and doesn’t have the strength to contain dribble penetration through contact;
    • Does not project to develop into a potential ace defender on the ball.

[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to Alba Berlin’s official listing

[3] According to Draft Express

[4] According to Eurospects

[5] DOB: 8/27/2001

[6] According to RealGM

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

Advertisements

Evan Mobley Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Top-ranked prospect in the 2020 high school class[1];
  • Temecula, California native who played his sophomore and junior seasons at Rancho Christian School;
  • Turned 18 last month[2];
  • Listed at seven-feet tall by the Compton Magic[3] with a thin frame for someone his height, speculated to be around the 192-pound range[4];
    • Measured with a seven-foot-four wingspan[5];
  • Has the potential to become a very dynamic center who can draw opponents out to the perimeter and drive by them out in space;
    • Rancho Christian even flirted with the idea of sending him a ball-screen to operate in 5-4 pick-and-rolls at the top of the key;
  • Gets most of his offense from the post at this point;
  • One-dimensional defender as of now but moves with a lot of fluidity for someone his height and might develop into a more versatile defender down the line;
    • Pretty good shot blocker at the high school level thanks to proactivity as a helper, quick leaping ability and standing reach but hasn’t shown much other than basic rim protection;
  • Was part of the US team that won the U19 FIBA World Championships in Crete earlier this month but played very little due to injury.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

  • Rarely put in the pick-and-roll;
  • Gets most of his touches in the post: doesn’t yet have the physicality to get a deep seal consistently and hasn’t yet developed a lot of versatility but has shown to be an effective scorer with his back to the basket in high school;
    • Doesn’t shy away from contact and plays with some physicality looking to bump back the opponent on attempted power moves;
    • Has very light feet for someone his height and can spin around stiffer defenders with ease;
    • Flashed the ability to face-up and go around his man off a rip-through move;
    • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach trying to get his defender out of position on shot fakes, head fakes or pivot moves;
    • Showed glimpses of quick reactions on touch passes against hard double teams;
  • Good finisher out of the dunker spot or roaming around the lane to present himself as a drop-off option;
    • Coordinated enough to catch within close range, take a dribble for balance and go up with power off two feet;
    • Showed glimpses of being able to go up without needing to load up;
    • Has the quick leaping ability and the standing reach to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense;
    • Doesn’t yet have enough strength to knock back the defender and create space to go up without an effective challenge;
    • Showed some power going up off two feet in a crowd;
    • Capable finisher through contact;
    • Adept at using a head fake to bait rim protectors into leaving their feet and exposing themselves under the basket;
    • Showed of glimpses of being able to find a corner shooter from under the basket;
  • Decent activity in the offensive glass;
    • Has great length to rebound outside of his area;
    • Has an impressive second jump to fight for 50-50 balls or play volleyball at the rim;
    • High leaper off two feet, which helps him reach the ball higher than most opponents at the high school level;
    • Can go up with enough explosiveness to act as a tip-dunk and put-back threat from time-to-time;
    • Collected 15.2% of his team’s misses in 109 minutes with AAU squad Compton Magic at the adidas Gold Gaunlet[6] last season;
    • Does get boxed out by smaller players from time-to-time;

PERIMETER OFFENSE

  • Can grab-and-go off a defensive rebound and take it end-to-end or slow transition into an isolation;
  • Was given the freedom to isolate against opposing centers way out on the perimeter a fair amount;
    • Doesn’t have a quick first step to just blow by his defender on speed;
    • Can’t power through similarly heighted players;
    • Can pivot on the fly into a spin move with so-so coordination;
    • Looks to gallop into a two-foot leap in traffic, yet to show he is able to attack the basket off one foot regularly;
    • Has shown flashes of smooth pull-up shooting when given the time and space to go up in rhythm;
  • Has not yet shown the ability to trigger offense in the half-court or run pick-and-roll against a set defense;
  • Rancho Christian flirted with the idea of sending him a ball-screen at the top of the key for 5-4 pick-and-rolls every once in a while, but it’s not yet clear he could be that dynamic a shot creator;
    • Doesn’t have a quick first step or much speed with the ball to turn the corner with decisiveness;
    • Hasn’t shown a lot of side-to-side shake;
    • Hasn’t yet developed an advanced handle manipulating the on-ball defender into the pick and stressing the big defender into overplaying or the ability to play with pace;
    • Hasn’t shown much in terms of court vision hitting the roll man or making passes across to the court to the opposite end;
  • Underdeveloped as a screener;
    • Jogs to screen;
    • Often unable to disrupt on-ball defender due to thin frame at this point of his physical development;
    • Hasn’t shown anything in terms of widening his stance, flipping the screen, re-screening, setting moving picks or slipping the pick;
  • Spaces out to the three-point line when his brother is posting up;
    • Usually sets up to elevate off 1-2 footwork, rises with great balance off the catch, launches it from the top and goes through his shooting process with good fluidity for someone his height;
    • More of a shot taker than a real shot maker at this point;
    • Often shows good touch on foul shots;
  • Can attack closeouts on straight line drives;
    • Doesn’t have a quick first step but has long strides to get all the way to the basket and enough ball skills to drive through soft contact – even going to his left;
    • Can adjust his body in the air and flashed an extended finish with his strong right hand to deal with a rim protector parked between him and the basket;
    • Shows good touch on non-dunk finishes for the most part;
    • Can make basic reads on drive-and-dish’s and drive-and-kick’s off drawing two to the ball;
  • Showed decent court vision reading the defense out of standstill position from the perimeter and inside a zone;
    • Might develop into an asset facilitating offense from the elbows and out of the short roll;
    • Assisted on 15.5% of Compton’s scores when he was on the floor at the adidas Gold Gaunlet.

DEFENSE

  • Often shows diligence with his boxout responsibilities but lacks the strength to be physical protecting his rebounding area;
  • Active stepping up to the front of the rim acting as the last line of defense and quick leaper off two feet to block shots;
    • Showed glimpses of being able to challenge shots via verticality as well;
  • Active coming across the lane in help-defense;
    • Hustles to contest or block shots shadowing isolations or post-ups;
  • Hasn’t yet developed the proactivity to switch on the fly and make up for breakdowns on the defense;
  • Often flat footed in drop-back pick-and-roll defense but agile enough to profile as capable of venturing above the foul line;
    • When engaged, can move his feet to completely prevent ball-handlers from turning the corner at the high school level;
    • Can show and recover to contest the roll man;
    • Can contest mid-range jumpers out of the pick-and-pop;
    • Puts in decent effort to contest pull-ups by the ball-handler and has the standing reach to be somewhat effective;
    • Can keep pace with ball-handlers from the foul line down and block a shot defending on the ball;
  • Found himself crossmatched on a smaller player on occasion;
    • Can’t stay in front but stayed attached well enough and leveraged his length into discouraging shots defending on the ball;
  • Hasn’t shown killer speed to run the shooter off his shot on closeouts but hustles to contest catch-and-shoot’s, though with only so-so effectiveness.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] DOB: 6/18/2001

[3] An AAU squad that plays the Adidas Gauntlet circuit

[4] According to Draft Express

[5] According to ESPN, during the broadcast of Rancho Christian’s game against Memphis East

[6] According to RealGM

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

James Wiseman Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Top-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class[1];
  • Nashville, Tennessee native who played his last two years of high school basketball at Memphis East High School;
  • One of five top 100 recruits joining the University of Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country[2];
  • Turned 18 last March[3];
  • Listed at seven-foot-one and 240 pounds[4];
    • Measured with a seven-foot-four wingspan at the U16 USA Basketball Training Camp a couple of years ago[5], might be lengthier by now;
  • Profiles as a modern center on offense who could offer vertical and horizontal spacing down the line;
    • Had the freedom to step out to the three-point line at Memphis East and even flashed some versatility to his release;
    • Wasn’t put in the pick-and-roll often in high school but has the combination of leaping ability and standing reach that suggests he will be asked to play above the rim more regularly at higher levels;
    • Tries to make plays off the bounce but hasn’t yet shown the handle and coordination needed to project he will become that dynamic;
    • Underdeveloped shot creator from the post as well, though did show glimpses of appealing court vision;
  • Impressed with his activity as a rim protector and rebounder on defense, making the sort of multiple effort plays that aren’t always a given for players of his stature;
    • Might offer the versatility to pick up smaller players on switches;
  • Currently ranked first on ESPN’s way-too-early 2020 mock draft;

ATHLETICISM ON OFFENSE

  • Can grab-and-go off a defensive rebound and take it end-to-end at times but doesn’t have the handle and the coordination needed to initiate offense in the half-court;
    • Doesn’t always sprint up the court in transition but can change ends in impressive fashion when he does do it;
  • Might need to work on his conditioning – was seen putting his hands on his knees and resting during live-ball play;
  • So-so screener who walks or lumbers into setting picks but does widen his base to try drawing contact and disrupt the on-ball defender, though his teammates often didn’t know how to use him;
    • Hasn’t yet developed or wasn’t asked to deploy more advanced techniques like flipping the screen, re-screening, slipping the pick or setting moving picks;
  • Wasn’t put into pick-and-roll regularly and hasn’t shown how capable he is of diving hard down the lane but can play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense in transition and out of the dunker spot;
    • Has flashed some ability to catch the ball high, keep it high and go up with quickness without ever bringing it down;
    • Has shown glimpses of powerful leaping ability off two feet without needing to load up;
  • Doesn’t play with particularly impressive intensity crashing the offensive glass but is a put-back threat when he goes for it and has a quick second jump to fight for the ball in scrums or play volleyball at the rim;
    • Does get physical trying to push smaller players out of the way when they are tasked with boxing him out on switches;

SKILL LEVEL

  • Lefty shooter who feels more comfortable facing up and sizing up his man in the post;
    • Doesn’t play with a lot of intensity trying to set up a deep seal against similarly sized players and at times lets himself get pushed out to the elbow extended area in order to face up against his man with a little more space to operate;
    • Does get physical trying to get deep position against switches;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach or a diverse set of moves operating with his back to the basket;
    • Despite his large frame, hasn’t yet developed power moves or the ability to create space via physicality;
    • Hasn’t shown anything in terms of being able to get his defender out of position with skill via head fakes, shot fakes or pivot moves;
    • Mostly looks for quick turnaround hooks or hooks off a jump-stop with his left hand over the defender and is yet to show he can go to his right hand at all;
    • Did show flashes of court vision throwing darts to the opposite corner over the crowd;
  • Spaced out to the three-point line a fair amount and showed some versatility to his release taking shots on the move – out of the pick-and-pop, as the trailer in transition and jogging to the top of the key;
    • Doesn’t have an impressively quick trigger but has a fluid enough release for a seven-footer, launches the ball from the top and gets a good deal of elevation for someone his size, so manages to get his shot off over closeouts somewhat comfortably;
    • Hit eight of 16 three-point attempts in 10 appearances with AAU squad Bluff City Legends at the Nike EYBL Circuit last season[6];
    • Tends to miss short;
    • Uneven foul shooter at this point – touch looks fine but hit just 58.5% of 41 free throw attempts at the Nike EYBL Circuit;
  • Can shot-fake into straight line drives attacking closeouts;
    • Has long strides to get all the way to the basket off the bounce;
    • Can attack the rim with explosiveness elevating off one foot;
    • Flashed decent touch on a lefty finger-roll finisher but hasn’t yet been forced to show the extent of his finishing ability in traffic and most often shows so-so touch on non-dunk finishes;
    • Showed glimpses of impressive passing on the move – on drop-offs off engaging the last line of defense on straight-line drives and darts to the corner on quick catch-and-throw’s in transition;
  • Isolated from the perimeter from time-to-time;
    • Doesn’t have a quick first step out of a standstill;
    • Can’t power through contact against similarly sized players;
    • Can pivot into a not-all-that-fluid spin move on the fly;
    • Tries to go between the legs on occasion, doesn’t have that level of ball skills for advanced dribble moves at this point;
    • Has a loose handle for the most part and isn’t strong with the ball on the go – prone to getting it stripped of him in traffic;

DEFENSE

  • Gets beat down the court by opposing big men in transition at times;
  • More of often than not attentive to his boxout responsibilities and gets physical defending his rebounding area;
    • Collected 22.7% of opponents’ misses in 202 minutes at the Nike EYBL Circuit last season;
  • Active stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line defense, quick leaper off two feet, guards with his arms up near the rim, has a nine-foot-four standing reach[7] to block shots and challenges shots via verticality;
    • Shadows isolations;
    • Impressed with multiple efforts stepping up to discourage a shot attempt by the ball-handler, then turn around and go up in a split-second to block a shot by his man roaming around the dunker spot;
    • Makes some of the mistakes you tend to see on teenagers – sells out for blocks at times, is a bit overaggressive leaving his man to try contesting a shot with a teammate between him and the opponent, and is prone to biting on head fakes;
  • Explosive leaper off one foot coming across the lane in help defense and has the length to make up for being a step late when needed;
  • Dropped back in pick-and-roll defense;
    • Agility out in space wasn’t tested all that much in high school;
    • Gets in a stance defending the two-man game;
    • Can slide laterally and backpedal fluidly to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick;
    • Kept pace with smaller players from the foul line down to discourage shots at the rim;
  • Proved himself attentive enough to switch on the fly to make up for breakdowns on the defense;
    • Bends his knees to get down in a stance guarding out on an island;
    • Can move side-to-side some to stay in front, though the poor spacing at the high school level didn’t make it that challenging;
    • Reacts quickly to leverage his length into discouraging opponents from trying to attempt a shot with him defending on the ball;
  • Puts in the effort to closeout to the three-point line;
    • Flashed killer speed to run the shooter off the line on occasion;
    • Has the body control to contest a shot without crashing into the shooter, which is impressive considering his size;
    • Can stay balanced and defend on the ball when he does manage to force the shooter into putting the ball on the floor;

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to ESPN

[3] DOB: 3/31/2001

[4] According to Memphis’ official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to RealGM

[7] According to ESPN, during the broadcast of Memphis East’s game against Rancho Christian

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

Precious Achiuwa Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • 17th-ranked prospect in the 2019 high school class[1];
  • Played his senior season of high school at Montverde Academy;
  • One of five top 100 recruits joining Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country[2];
  • About to turn 20 in September[3];
  • Six-foot-nine combo forward with the combination of frame (225 pounds[4]) and length (six-foot-11 wingspan[5]) the NBA looks for in its big wings from a physical profile-standpoint;
  • Got some chances to go at his man one-on-one on offense and was relied to show his versatility on occasion on defense but had a weakside role for the most part on both ends at Montverde Academy;
  • Has shown glimpses of developing perimeter skills but still mostly does best when he is able to leverage his athleticism in transition, on cuts and via straight line drives against a scrambling defense;
  • Puts in decent effort on defense for a teenager – rotates regularly, has quick leaping ability to make some plays at the rim, rebounds, gets in a stance and moves his feet in isolation, contests shots, and has shown flashes of being able to switch onto smaller players.

OFFENSE

  • Has good ball skills to grab-and-go off a defensive rebound – can take it end-to-end or slow transition into an isolation in the half-court, yet to shown much in terms of triggering offense or running a middle high pick-and-roll;
  • Fast and fluid sprinting without the ball in the open court and can play above the rim as a target for lobs in transition;
  • Has a lot of room to develop in terms of handle and coordination through contact but has shown some decent moves to create his own shot one-on-one;
    • Can pivot into a well-coordinated spin move against soft defense;
    • Has shown a little bit of an in-and-out dribble to attempt shaking his defender off balance and can crossover into his pull-up;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a lot of dexterity pulling up in rhythm but can take a smooth-looking stop-and-pop pull-up if left totally uncontested;
  • Has only shown iffy touch on floaters off 1-2 footwork;
  • Can attack the basket with good balance and explosiveness on straight line drives against a scrambling defense;
    • Can go up with power off one foot off momentum;
    • Is flexible enough to adjust his body in the air;
    • Can finish through contact;
    • Hasn’t yet shown much in terms of a versatile finishing package in traffic;
  • Hasn’t yet developed a patient approach in the post;
    • Doesn’t often play with enough intensity to try setting a deep seal;
    • Looks mostly for quick hooks with his inside hand;
  • Spaced out to the three-point line a fair amount – can make a shot with time and space to go through his motion but still a hesitant shooter for the most part;
    • Slow release, not yet consistently fluid;
    • Decent elevation but low release out in front;
    • Touch needs to improve;
    • Tends to miss short;
    • Missed 14 of his 18 three-point shots and hit just 53.7% of his 54 free throws in eight appearances with AAU squad New Heights at the Under Armour Association last season[6];
  • Flirted with taking some shots on the move – flashing to the foul line and even sprinting off a pindown for a three-pointer – but doesn’t yet have enough fluidity in his release for those types of shots;
  • Showed flashes of instinctive cutting and figures to be an asset playing above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense.
    • Should be used as a diver in pick-and-roll more often but wasn’t at Monteverde and probably won’t be at Memphis, as he figures to share the court with James Wiseman regularly and it’s really rare to see 1-4 pick-and-roll in college basketball;
  • Has shown to be a willing passer operating from inside zones but is yet to show particularly impressive court vision at this point of his development.

DEFENSE

  • Hustles back in transition and can pick up the occasional chase-down block;
  • Was active rotating off the weakside to make plays at the basket;
    • Quick leaper off two feet to challenge shots via verticality;
    • Averaged 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes in eight appearances at the Under Armour Association;
    • Prone to biting on shot fakes from time-to-time;
  • Helps off the strongside just as aggressively – unclear if given the freedom to do it, considering the poor level of outside shooting at the high school level, or if he was in fact breaking basic help defense rules;
  • Hasn’t yet developed the feel for using his length to help clog driving lanes;
  • Doesn’t fly around to create events in the passing lanes;
  • Bends his knees to get down in a stance defending on the ball, has a few lateral slides in him to stay in front of similarly sized players in isolation and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups;
    • Has shown impressive quickness contesting a pull-up and then chasing after a long rebound;
  • Picked up some smaller players on switches on a few occasions – can keep pace with them on straight line drives out in space and puts in the work to go over picks at the point of attack but needs to improve his hustle in pursuit chasing them to bother or discourage shots from behind;
    • Could maybe be an option to crossmatch onto smaller players for entire possessions?
  • Struggles negotiating multiple picks chasing shooters around the floor;
  • Hustles on closeouts – contests catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his length but is yet to show killer speed running the shooter off the line consistently;
  • Can become more physical but is attentive enough to his boxout responsibilities and has shown decent quickness chasing the ball off the rim at the high school and AAU levels;
    • Collected 23.1% of opponents’ misses in his 194 minutes at the Under Armour Association last season.

[1] According to ESPN

[2] According to ESPN

[3] DOB: 9/19/1999

[4] According to Memphis’ official listing

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to RealGM

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

Yves Pons Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Yves Pons is currently the ninth-ranked prospect of European citizenship, among those born in 1999[1].

In his two years at Tennessee, the six-foot-six defensive specialist has been a low-end rotation player – logging just 535 minutes in his 59 NCAA appearances.

Pons has a chiseled 209-pound frame[2] and plays hard on defense. He’s been deployed against opponents of all sizes from time-to-time, profiling as a big wing who offers a lot of versatility in terms of crossmatching and switching.

But it’s somewhat disappointing that a player with his physical profile and hustle hasn’t been able to fly around and create events a lot more regularly, as he posted an 8.6 PER last season[3].

On the other end, the 20-year-old[4] did very little this past year – logging 11.1% usage. He most often spot-up in the corner in the half-court, though there were flashes of smart off ball movement and effectiveness crashing the offensive glass.

DEFENDING SMALLER TYPES

Pons bends his knees to get down in a stance and can slide laterally with a lot of ease for someone with his bulk.

He is a bit too big to get skinny cleanly over well set picks but puts in the effort to go over ball-screens consistently at the point of attack and hustles in pursuit to try bothering or discouraging shots or passes from behind.

The Frenchman has a couple of lateral slides in him to stay attached in one-on-one defense and puts in the effort to contest pull-ups but doesn’t leverage his strength to chest up and contain dribble penetration through contact.

He is also not fast enough to chase speedsters as they turn on the jets – getting blown by Zach Norvell, Jr. and Lagerald Vick in the games against Gonzaga and Kansas last season – and it’s unclear how well he could hold up against shiftier types out on an island.

DEFENDING BIGGER TYPES

The Port-au-Prince native has shown flashes of being able to play stout post defense against bulkier players and is physical with his boxouts. He can get up off two feet quickly to chase the ball off the rim in one-on-one battles but doesn’t play with enough intensity to rebound in a crowd consistently – collecting just 11.3% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season.

Pons impressed with his body control in drop-back pick-and-roll defense – backpedaling and sliding laterally around the foul line to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away off the pick, while putting a hand on the roll man to impede him from getting past him completely.

OFF BALL DEFENSE

The INSEP product stays in a stance off the ball and has shown to be an active help defender, though not one who makes a difference all that regularly.

Pons makes some rotations off the weakside to help protect the rim and proved himself attentive to his responsibilities stepping up to the front of the basket as the last line of defense.

He most often absorbs contact and challenges shots via verticality but can be a high leaper off two feet with a split-second to load up – averaging 1.45 blocks per 40 minutes last season, an appealing mark for a wing.

Pons can make a play in the passing lanes every once in a while – mostly in zone defense and in help-the-helper situations – but doesn’t leverage his length nearly as often as expected, he picked up just 12 steals in all of his college career.

He is prone to losing his man off the ball from time-to-time but knows how to position himself to guard two players on the weakside and puts in good effort on closeouts. Pons hasn’t shown killer speed to run shooters off the line regularly but can contest catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his standing reach and quick leaping ability.

OFFENSE

He mostly spaced out to the corner in the half-court but can’t offer real gravity at this point of his development.

The lefty has a somewhat fluid and compact release, launching the ball from out in front, but often misses to the side and struggles with touch as well – nailing just seven of his 25 three-point shots and six of his 15 free throw attempts last season.

Pons flashed some ability to create a pull-up off a handoff into a side pick-and-roll action but is underdeveloped as a threat off the dribble. He can make a stop-and-pop jumper from the foul line area if left totally uncontested but generally doesn’t feel comfortable pulling up off the bounce and hasn’t shown any sort of a floater – taking just seven attempts from midrange last season.

Pons doesn’t have a quick first step, has a loose handle and struggles to maintain his balance through contact, despite his well-built frame – turning the ball over on 24.1% of his possessions, a sky-high rate for someone with his comically low usage.

The most he contributes on offense at this point of his development is by making the extra pass around the horn to keep the offense humming, clearing the strongside corner when he reads his teammates setting up a post-up and cutting diagonally to offer a clearer passing lane for a teammate doubled in the post.

Pons is also an occasional tip-dunk and put-back threat but his success rate in terms of generating second chance opportunities in relation to the times he crashes the offensive glass probably doesn’t justify his aggressiveness, as he collected just 5% of Tennessee’s misses when he was on the floor last season.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to Tenneesee’s official listing

[3] According to RealGM

[4] DOB: 5/7/1999

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

Philipp Herkenhoff Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Philipp Herkenhoff is currently the 11th-ranked prospect in Europe[1], among those born in 1999.

It’s rare to see teenagers trusted with legit rotation roles is the pros, even at lower level clubs, but that’s what the six-foot-10 center achieved with German side Rasta Vechta over the last two seasons – logging 1,499 minutes in 78 appearances[2] at first in the German Pro A (second division) and then in the German BBL (first division).

Despite his youth, he relies on his 229-pound frame[3] to hold up at the pro level from a physical-standpoint, though there is plenty of room for development in terms of athletic ability, as the just-turned 20-year-old[4] doesn’t impress much with his leaping ability or his quickness out in space.

Herkenhoff profiles as a floor spacer on offense, with over a third of his field goals coming from three-point range last season. He is capable of putting the ball on the floor out of triple threat position and has flashed some ability to pass on the move but hasn’t yet developed a tight handle and is more likely to turn the ball over than create a score off the dribble as of now.

On the other end, Herkenhoff was asked to hedge a lot against the pick-and-roll and did only a so-so job at it. He is mobile but not agile enough to consistently influence ball-handlers way beyond the three-point line, while also lumbering a bit in his recoveries. As a help defender and rim protector, he’s shown flashes of solid position defense and can absorb contact to challenge shots via verticality but struggled to create events due to underdeveloped athleticism.

SHOOTING

The Mettingen, North Rhine-Westphalia native doesn’t yet have a quick trigger, needing time and space to dip the ball for rhythm comfortably, but does good shot preparation elevating off 1-2 footwork, fully extends himself for a high release, gets decent elevation for someone his height and shows a good deal of natural touch.

Herkenhoff nailed 34.2% of his 178 three-point shots these last two seasons, at a pace of 4.7 such attempts per 40 minutes, while hitting 72.4% of his 116 free throws too.

Besides basic spot-ups, he’s taken long-range attempts out of the pick-and-pop, jogging to the ball for hand-offs and as the trailer in transition as well – showcasing some interesting versatility to his release for a center.

Herkenhoff hasn’t shown much in terms of taking stop-and-pop jumpers in rhythm off an escape dribble attacking closeouts but has flashed a sleek move where he fakes a spin move one way, then launches a fadeaway jump-shot turning the other.

SCREENING

He is a versatile screener for a young adult – proving himself capable of setting picks in a variety of ways.

Herkenhoff sprints to screen, widens his stance to draw hard contact in an attempt to disrupt the on-ball defender and then sprints to re-screen if called back up again.

He can also mix in moving picks to try baiting the opponent into switching or slip the screen if the big defender overcommits to blitzing the ball handler at the three-point line.

Herkenhoff has also shown to be an active screener away from the ball – hustling to set moving picks to free up shooters springing around the floor.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

He can finish some lobs filling the lanes in transition and sneaking behind the defense if he has time and space to load up but Herkenhoff is generally not a threat to play above the rim in the half-court, lacking explosiveness elevating off two feet.

He is a capable rim level finisher, showing good coordination adjusting his body mid-air catching a pass over the top and laying it in without needing to bring the ball down but only so-so efficacy on finger-roll finishes with a rim protector parked between him and the basket.

When he is not spaced out at the three-point line, Herkenhoff hustles to set inside position in the offensive glass and has flashed a decent second jump to fight for tip-ins or 50-50 balls but doesn’t appear to have superior length to rebound outside of his area and isn’t an explosive leaper to chase the ball consistently quicker than the opposition – collecting just 8.5% of Rasta Vechta’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

He can put the ball on the floor against hard closeouts, with mixed results. Herkenhoff can get to the rim on straight line drives thanks to his long strides but has a loose handle if forced to shift directions – turning the ball over on 13.7% of his possessions, a bit too much for someone with a 17.5% usage rate.

He can’t attack the basket with any explosiveness elevating off one foot in traffic and hasn’t shown much of anything in terms of floaters or pull-up shooting to score from the in-between area but can pivot into a post-up on the fly to leverage his size against switches.

Herkenhoff can make a pass on the move, both out of the short roll and off the dribble out of triple threat position, but only assisted on 8.5% of Rasta Vechta’s scores when he was on the floor last season.

PICK&ROLL DEFENSE

Asked to hedge a lot, he puts in the effort to try influencing ball-handlers way out in the perimeter but is only so-so at effectively blocking their path in a manner that prevents the opponent from turning the corner or shorting the pick-and-roll, besides being prone to overplaying prior to the ball-handler committing to using the ball-screen, unable to then help if the opponent just rejects the pick.

Herkenhoff also doesn’t impress much with his agility recovering back to his man, somewhat nimble but not all that fluid or quick out in space.

When unable to hedge, he did show glimpses of decent lateral mobility to prevent the ball-handler from turning the corner right away – suggesting he could be a lot more solid in a drop-back scheme.

RIM PROTECTION

Herkenhoff is not a good interior defender at this point of his development.

He has shown glimpses of being able to identify and make preventive rotations that keep opponents from getting all the way to the basket but doesn’t make enough of those plays to make a real impact in the hidden areas of the game.

Herkenhoff is active stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, can go up off two feet somewhat quickly, guards with his arms up near the rim and challenges shots via verticality but lacks the quickness for longer rotations across the lane, the explosiveness to make up for being a step too late at times and the superior length to act as a constant shot blocking threat as of this point – blocking just 27 shots in 78 appearances these last two seasons.

PHYSICALITY

He is active trying to deny or bat away post entries – at times even fronting the post with a good deal of intensity – but struggles to hold his ground against power moves.

Herkenhoff is diligent with his boxout responsibilities but is prone to getting pushed out of the way by more physical types and isn’t quick enough off the ground chasing the ball off the rim – collecting just 16.4% of opponents’ misses when he was on the floor last season and 14.1% the year before.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] According to RealGM

[3] According to Rasta Vechta’s official listing

[4] DOB: 6/29/1999

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

Usman Garuba Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Usman Garuba is currently the top-ranked prospect in Europe, among those born in 2002[1].

The 17-year-old[2] helped Spain reach the championship game of the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championships last summer, playing against opponents on average two years older than him, then went on to excel with Real Madrid’s junior squad, which won the Adidas Next Generation Tournament and the U18 Spanish League in dominant fashion, blowing up Mega Bemax by 19 and arch-rivals Barcelona by 24 in the respective championship games.

To top it all, he has already logged his first ACB minutes in a couple of appearances last season.

Instead of playing up a level once again this summer, Garuba was selected for the Spanish National Team that will play the U18 European Championships in Volos later this month rather than the one that will play the U20 European Championships in Tel Aviv later this week.

Given his physical development and athletic ability at his age, the Madrid native profiles as a catch-and-score finisher but has also shown flashes of very appealing skill – spacing out to the three-point line from time-to-time and impressing with his court vision, not just scanning the floor from the post but on the move as well.

On the other end, Garuba can protect the rim as a constant shot blocking threat, dominates the glass with his edge in athleticism and has crossmatched onto wings for stretches within his age group.

INTERIOR OFFENSE

Garuba is underdeveloped as a screener but has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and is an explosive leaper off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs sneaking behind the defense.

He is adept at leveraging his 220-pound frame to carve up space to go up strong in a crowd on catches below the rim and has shown a good touch on non-dunk finishes, though he is surprisingly not yet a powerful finisher through contact.

Garuba is well-coordinated for someone with his frame and can catch the ball around the foul line, dribble for balance and attack the basket on short drives. He can go up strong off one foot if left unchallenged but has also shown impressive court vision on the move to jump-stop and deliver drop-offs against a rim protector stepping up between him and the basket.

Garuba even flashed a sleek move off the bounce where he leverages his body control to stop on a dime, fake a spin move one way and then take a fadeaway jumper turning the other way.

He often shared the floor with another center in the lineup, which forced him to space out to three-point line at times, but Garuba was still very effective crashing the offensive glass. He is a quick leaper chasing the ball off the rim and lengthy enough to rebound outside of his area – averaging 4.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes in eight appearances at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament[3].

POST OFFENSE

Garuba doesn’t play with enough force trying to establish a deep seal in the post and was often pushed to the mid-post area.

He hasn’t shown much in terms of power moves but has light feet, flashing some well-coordinated pivot moves, besides basic turnaround hooks with his right hand.

Garuba has proven himself an appealing passer with his back to the basket, pivoting to pass on post-to-post combinations and hitting shooters on the opposite wing against hard double teams.

He was also deployed to facilitate offense on high-low actions flashing to the foul line – assisting on 20.4% of Real Madrid’s scores in his 166 minutes at the ANGT.

Garuba seemed more comfortable facing up from the high post. He has a quick first step off a rip-through move and can take it to the basket on straight-line drives, though his handle is still pretty loose at this point of his development and he didn’t seem as smooth when forced to change directions – averaging 2.8 turnovers per 40 minutes in Munich and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

He is mostly a wrecking ball driver at this point – which earned him 6.7 foul shots per 40 minutes on average – and hasn’t been tested on the versatility of his finishing package for the most part.

PERIMETER OFFENSE

Garuba spaced out to three-point range some but took just nine attempts from such range at the AGNT.

He is a hesitant shooter who doesn’t pull the trigger quickly off the catch, despite the fact he has proven himself a capable open shot shooter, even on some attempts out of the pick-and-pop when left totally unchallenged.

Garuba has a slow release and gets little elevation off the ground. He launches it from the top but gets little arc in his shot and his free throw percentages over the last three years puts into doubt if he has enough natural touch to develop into a legit outside shooter over time.

INTERIOR DEFENSE

Garuba is an explosive leaper off two feet to block shots stepping up to the front of the rim as the last line of defense, though his timing was a bit off at times.

He is as capable coming across the lane off the weakside as well and has the length to make up for it when he is a step late.

Garuba has even shown he can block shots on the ball while keeping pace from the foul line down with ball-handlers attacking downhill in pick-and-roll.

He was hit-and-miss in terms of diligence with his boxouts and only showed so-so physicality when he did put a body on whoever was close by, though it hasn’t mattered much at the junior level, considering he’s been a dominant defensive rebounder in every event he’s participated so far.

POST DEFENSE

Garuba doesn’t put much focus into forcing the opponent further away from the basket and doesn’t play with much energy trying to deny easy post entries but can chest up and hold his ground in the low block.

He is not easily moved on power moves and his standing reach makes it tough to shoot over him when he is not biting on shot-fakes and head-fakes, which he is prone to doing from time-to-time.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

Garuba was often asked to hedge against the pick-and-roll. He doesn’t influence the ball handler a whole lot but is nimble enough to blitz outside the three-point line and recover to the roll man in a timely manner.

With another center always on the floor with him, Garuba had to check perimeter-oriented big men regularly. He struggles to navigate pindown screens and is only so-so at chasing more mobile types around the floor but contests catch-and-shoot’s effectively thanks to his length, can run the shooter off the line on hard closeouts and has the body control to stay balanced against straight line drives.

In the game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Munich qualifier of the ANGT, which he was named MVP of, Garuba was asked to crossmatch onto Deni Avdija for stretches and really impressed with his on-ball defense way out in space.

He bends his knees some but mostly hunches to get down in a stance. Garuba showed tremendous side-to-side agility to stay in front one-on-one, chests up to contain dribble penetration through contact and uses his length to reach in for strips of the ball.

He even put in the work to try going over picks at the point of attack, though he was only so-so at hustling in pursuit to discourage or contest shots from behind.


[1] According to Eurospects

[2] DOB: 3/9/2002

[3] According to RealGM

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