(First posted at RealGM)
Precious Achiuwa is one of five top 100 recruits joining Memphis, with coach Penny Hardaway landing the top-ranked class in the country.
The six-foot-nine combo forward has the perfect combination of frame and length the NBA looks for in its big wings these days but has some way to go in terms of the skill level needed on offense to excel in that role.
He has shown decent moves to create his own shot out of ball reversals or slow transition into an isolation off a grab-and-go – flashing an in-and-out dribble to shake his defender off balance, pivoting into a well-coordinated spin move to get into the lane or crossing over into a pull-up – but hasn’t yet developed the handle and the court vision needed to create in middle high pick-and-roll.
For now, Achiuwa mostly projects as a floor-spacer who will operate out of triple threat position, though he needs a lot of development as a shooter to have the chance to put the ball on the floor often.
He can make a shot with time and space to go through his shooting motion but was still a hesitant shooter for the most part in his senior season at Montverde Academy. His release is somewhat slow and not all that fluid, but his touch is probably the biggest cause for concern, considering he shot poorly on free throws in AAU and the All-Star events.
If he develops as a shooter to command hard closeouts or at least gets the chance to attack a scrambling defense a fair amount, Achiuwa figures to impress with his athleticism on hard drives to the basket. He can get to the rim with balance and explosiveness on a straight line, go up with power off one foot with momentum and can finish through contact or adjust his body in the air to score in traffic.
On the other end, the Bronx native was active rotating off the weakside to make plays at the basket. He is a quick leaper off two feet to challenge shots via verticality or block shots – averaging 3.5 blocks per 40 minutes in eight appearances in the Under Armour Association last season. Achiuwa was pretty active on the glass as well – collecting 23.1% of opponents’ misses in 194 minutes.
That said, he wasn’t as active flying around to get steals and deflections in the passing lanes and hasn’t yet developed a feel for leveraging his length into clogging driving lanes and making plays from the side on occasion.
The 19-year-old can hold up well one-on-one when engaged – bending his knees to get down in a stance, moving his feet to stay in front for a few slides and putting in the effort to contest shots, though it’s somewhat surprising that he isn’t as adept at containing dribble penetration through contact as his frame suggests he should.
Achiuwa picked up smaller players on switches on a few occasions and proved himself capable of staying attached on straight line drives, even putting in the effort to try going over picks at the point of attack, though his hustle in pursuit to try discouraging or blocking shots from behind left something to be desired.
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