Adem Bona was born on March 28, 2003, in Nigeria. His real name is Ikechukwu Stanley Okoro. Bona’s father died when he was a child. His mother was taking care of four other children with Adem, and working in a local market to provide for the family. Her older kids helped, as well, they were a very happy family. Bona’s introduction to basketball is a very interesting story. His preferred sport was football, he didn’t like basketball at all at first. One day, a basketball coach came to the the family home to ask Adem’s mother for permission to teach him basketball. Afterward, things slowly improved. Someone filmed him playing basketball in Nigeria. This video was sent to one of the important basketball people from Turkey, Türkay Çakıroğlu, who was working in Kuwait at that time. After seeing the video of Adem at 13-14 years old and 6-foot-7, he talked with Nevzat Ozdemir and they brought him and his family to Turkey. Except for Bona, there are no athletes in his family. His brothers play football, but just as a hobby.
Bona has no plans yet to go to the NCAA and is happy to play for Karşıyaka. Of course, he has dreams about the NBA. His idol is Hakeem Olajuwon. He also loves Ben Wallace. After coming to Turkey, Bona mostly worked on dribbling, passing, and court vision. Çakıroğlu helped him a lot in this regard. Off the court, Bona enjoys playing Football Manager. He likes to eat chicken and lahmacun and listen to Kendrick Lamar and Ben Fero. I learned that Bona goes home after arriving early for training and doing extra training. Bona is staying with his family in Izmir. He doesn’t do extreme things except for basketball. Adem had a serious shoulder injury a few months ago. He started training in the last weeks, but will not train at full pace until he is fully recovered, he will raise the bar slowly but well. Ufuk Sarıca, head coach of Bona in Karşıyaka, told me: “Adem’s development is going well. He has a very high potential and I think he will be a good weapon in the future of Turkish basketball.”
Standing 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and a solid frame, Adem Bona has great physical tools for a 17 year-old big man. Bona’s arms are long and strong. It’s very important for him because his offensive game is based on lob and contact finishes. He has wide shoulders and chiseled core muscles. From his lower body window, excellent vertical pop, good lateral movement, very quick hips (knows how to rotate and leap), and quick footwork. I think everything in his lower body is almost perfect but of course, there are some question marks. I think he has to get stronger. Bona is a player who has great things in terms of both general and pure skill set but is very raw. One of the biggest factors in this is the inability to find balance in his lower body. I mean, I don’t think Bona can balance his endless energy because of the lightness of his lower body. Also, he needs to gain weight in his upper body. The Turkish prospect has a good frame for his age, but he needs to gain weight and gain muscle in his arms, make his shoulders more mobile and especially gain an increase in chest muscles. Because in back-to-the-basket situations, when he performs hip rotates and returns to face-to-face, he cannot catch the momentum he wants in his upper body while he is in contact. I think Bona’s athleticism package is perfect. He is fluid and explosive. Adem is one of the few prospects with this type of athletics package. I mean, he can both go to the basket and play around the rim fluently, and explosively, for highlights dunks. Also, he is a great lob target guy in half-court and the trailer on transition situations thanks to his explosiveness. But as I will talk about on his offense, Bona needs balance and calmness in his athleticism package. Shortly, he is raw. At the end of the day, he is fluid, and explosive athlete has vertical pop and lateral quickness. So, it’s a great combo.
Doing a little bit of everything on the offensive end, I think Adem Bona is the most effective as a finisher running the floor, crashing the glass, rolling to the rim, and catching lobs. He is an elite lob target who can produce points in bunches when he’s dialed in thanks to his amazing athleticism package and physical tools but more than that. Bona has shown several times that he can create his position from the three-point line. At the FIBA U16 European Championship, nine minutes before the end of the second quarter against France, he took the ball in the right-wing and dribbled to the left and finished the position with dominant dunking. He showed similar positions many times in both half-court and transition offenses. He can move with the ball, he has a fast linear momentum in my opinion. But the main problem here is that Bona needs to play more calmly.
He needs to play more balanced. Must gain experience in the raw skill-set. I mean, Adem can sometimes make very simple turnovers or make the wrong decisions, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important that a 17-year-old player with a 7-foot-2 wingspan who has a great athletics package and also shows some impressive things about dribble. Bona can finish at the rim with the best of them while running the lanes extremely well. He plays physically and aggressively. Adem showed some good flashes on operating one-on-one in the post with some trick footwork but needs balance and must get stronger. I think Adem Bona has a very good basketball BBIQ for a big man. The Turkish prospect can serve well for catch-and-shooters, as do players who create a shooting effect in the painted area like him, but also, he can make quick and true pass choices after playing pick-and-roll on the hill. In doing so, he uses his wide court vision, physical package, hip mobility, change direction ability, strong first step, and aggressiveness. Being able to control all these things, I think, is a good example of BBIQ. He can dribble with his left better than his right.
He uses the right post better than the left post zone. I think Bona has to improve his one hand finishes, also, needs softness on his last touches despite this, he finishes with both hands very well in my opinion. As a shooter, Adem Bona has a lot of room to get better. He has a shooting mentality, he can quickly set up his feet after picking up the ball and shoot with a good release, but he does not have continuity, angle, balance, and a clear shooting form. AB definitely needs to improve in this in my opinion.
I like Adem Bona’s defensive awareness. I think Adem speaks off-ball motions and directs his teammates well on the offensive end, but he does it better on defense. His defense awareness is very high for protect the team shield. Tallying blocks, steals, and rebounds at an impressive rate defensively, 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and good frame, Adem Bona almost can defend everything for his level in my opinion. Possessing the quickness to slide with guards, the explosiveness to block shots emphatically against physical players or shifty players, and the strength to play some center, Bona’s defensive and physical versatility is intriguing.
As an on-ball defender, he shows a consistent, pesky stance. His eye-hand coordination, general body coordination, quick footwork, eye following, react timing, linear and vertical pop makes him a good on-ball defender in my opinion. He read and reacts well. As an off-ball defender, I think Bona is not always quick to rotate but shows the ability to make an impact off the ball with his length in spots. He can cut the passing lines, take the ball, and run the open floor, so, he has some natural instincts but Bona is still maturing in many terms defensively as he is a work in progress off the ball and has some difficulty staying out of foul trouble. I think Bona knows how to do intense defense on the shooters, showed some advanced reads, hand positions, and good timing on his vertical pop, but sometimes reacted bad and made wrong choices on pump fakes and opponent footwork. Generally, I think Bona has a lot of potential on the defensive end but I can say that clearly, he has to improve on post defense. Bad, very bad post defender due to lack of balance, elite strength, and decision-making mechanism on the defensive end. Turning in several strong performances on the glass, I think that Adem Bona can add value as a rebounder when he is dialed in.
Adem Bona is one of the most special prospects in the 2003 class, in my opinion. He can use his perfect physical package with a good dribble and very good athletic weapons. His shot is bad, but he has a spacing effect because he can play outside the painted area and create positions for himself and others. On the defensive end, I think it is very valuable to be able to defend almost everything except the post. But he needs to gain weight, he needs balance and experience in his raw skill-set. I think if he can do these things he will be an elite NBA prospect, for the reasons I mentioned.