Last week, FIBA organized the U18 Asian Championship for the first time since 2018. In Tehran, Iran, ten of the best youth teams on the continent convened to compete for three medals as well as four spots at next year’s FIBA U19 World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary. South Korea, Japan and China ultimately finished on the podium in this order and Lebanon secured the fourth ticket for the prestigious tournament in Hungary next summer. A lot of individual talent was on display in Tehran as well, so I’ve teamed up with Ryan Alba to take a closer look at ten of our favorite prospects in the competition.
Nationality: Japan | Date of Birth: May 27, 2005 | Height: 200 cm / 6’7″
Stats: 15.6 points, 10.6 rebounds (1.4 offensive), 2.2 assists (3.2 turnovers), 1.6 blocks, 33/20/71 splits
ROLE: SHOT-CREATING SLASHER, SPOT-UP SHOOTER
- Primarily plays as a self-creator from the perimeter. Hard to stay in front, as he’s a fluid athlete with enough handling ability to consistently create advantages against youth competition. This likely won’t fully translate against more athletic competition, but he’ll be an excellent closeout/off-screen attacker as well. Shows nice footwork on his drives to create shot windows. Displays high-level touch with his right hand, even for floaters. Can make basic layups with his left, but could certainly benefit from improving his left to be able to make contested layups or even floaters, given how driving-heavy his game is.
- Able to attack smaller players in the post, though he’s more of a finesse player than a physically dominant one. Can go to a right-handed hook shot in these situations.
- Solid with basic drive-and-kick reads as well as able to make the occasional play for others from the post, but there’s still room for improvement with his decision-making. At times, his passes are inaccurate or there’s no window for them at all. Doesn’t need to initiate plays in the future, but the basic help-D reads should be automatic for him to reach his potential as a driver.
- Shot 28-94 (29.8%) from three and 83-116 (71.6%) from the line through U16 Asia, U17 World Cup and U18 Asia this summer with percentages decreasing from tournament to tournament. Definitely a solid shooter, though he was clearly getting tired as the summer went on, with more and more of his misses landing short of the target. Has pretty solid form, which should only require minor tweaks long-term. Confidently shoots over closeouts and is hard to contest due to a high release point. Also shows some pull-up potential. Should become a reliable shooter – 36%+ 3P from the FIBA line – long-term.
ROLE: FORWARD DEFENDER, HELPSIDE RIM PROTECTOR
- Passable lateral athlete. Can adequately defend both forward positions at this level. Shouldn’t have issues finding a suitable matchups, even against international competition, due to his combination of size and athleticism, though he’ll always remain an offense-first player. Will likely be a 4 defensively in his prime.
- Very good helpside rim protector. Shows good awareness for defensive breakdowns and has the size and vertical to consistently make an impact around the basket. Excellent at verticality plays: maintains his balance well against contact and doesn’t attempt unnecessary swipes at the ball (avoids fouls really well – only averaged 1 foul per game at U18 Asia).
Yuto Kawashima was the standout performer of this year’s FIBA Asia youth competitions, and he was likely the top prospect in Teheran as well. His offensive game makes him really interesting for the next level. If he can consistently knock down his outside shot as he did at FIBA U16 Asia and make small improvements in other areas, he should draw interest from high-major D1 schools when he graduates in 2024. Projecting him as a future NBA player is a bit of stretch at this point – though it’s not out of the realm of possiblity -, but he certainly has the potential for a great pro career, for example in Europe or the NBL.
Yang Han Sen
Nationality: China | Date of Birth: June 26, 2005 | Height: 216 cm / 7’1″
Stats: 12.4 points, 9.2 rebounds (3.6 offensive), 3.6 assists (2.2 turnovers), 3.6 blocks, 62/50/69 splits
ROLE: PLAY-FINISHER, POST HUB, POTENTIAL FLOOR-SPACER
- Huge play-finisher around the basket. Also mobile enough to be effective on the roll. Plays patiently below the basket. Can still become more consistent as a finisher. Regulary converts tough finishes with his strong right hand but also mixes in some avoidable misses. Can also become more comfortable going to his left.
- Very good post playmaker. Able to see over all his defenders. Doesn’t panic against double teams. Reads the game quickly most of the time. Consistently finds open shooters and cutters with impressive dimes, even throwing one-handed bullets or looking defenders off to create space. Can effectively play as a post hub and teams should run a portion of their offense through him.
- Also able to score in the post with regularity. Towers over his defenders and displays impressively fluid movements and footwork for his size. Has a bit of a hook shot in his arsenal. More of a finesse than a power player, though. Lacks the strength to back down bigs from far out. Forces up some tough shots when required to play physically.
- Shows some flashes of an outside game. Shot 1-2 (50%) from three and 11-16 (68.8%) from the line throughout the tournament. Mechanics are inconsistent but promising. Soft touch and an unblockable release lend hope that he can knock down the occasional jumper long-term.
ROLE: RIM PROTECTOR, “DROP” PICK-AND-ROLL DEFENDER
- Massive presence below the rim. Makes opponents think twice about attempting shots by just being in the vicinity. Gets off the ground quickly for his size, even if he lacks high-level vertical. Able to impact shots quite a bit above rim-level. Led the tournament with 18 rejections in 117 minutes.
- Also shows some effectiveness as a help defender around the basket. Reads the game pretty well, even if he doesn’t cover ground all that quickly. Could become smarter with his shot contests. Has a tendency to punch at the ball and often mistimes his contests, which leads to unnecessary fouls (averaged 3.8 fouls per 40 at this tournament).
- Better defending the rim than outside of the paint, but he’s still fairly mobile for his size. Cannot consistently switch onto smaller players, but has the mobility to eventually develop into an effective “drop” defender in pick-and-roll. Shows some flashes of good positioning already.
For Yang Han Sen it was his first tournament on an international stage, and he immediately proved to be one of the best prospects in the competition. His combination of size and offensive skills will quickly draw attention from teams around the world, as he would be a good fit for most high-level D1-schools or even G-League Ignite. His pro future will ultimately depend on his physical development to some degree: he might be missing the top-level mobility often required out of NBA centers on the defensive end, but he also has the chance to become an outstandingly skilled offensive player, which makes it easy to at least project him as an NBL-starter level big in the long-term.
Nationality: Iran | Date of Birth: April 26, 2005 | Height: 200 cm | 6’7
Stats: 19.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists (2.2 turnovers), 34.4 minutes, 47.0/36.4/42.9 splits (53.8 True Shooting Percentage)
ROLE: SHOT CREATOR, SLASHER, MOVEMENT SHOOTER
- Attacked well in transition and showed good craft finishing at the rim. He uses his off arm well to create space for himself and get clean looks. He’s adept at finishing with either hand which can compensate for lack of elite vertical pop. Showcased a variety of finishing techniques such as finishing with off two feet or off the wrong foot.
- Most impressive ability was to “squeeze in” against tight defenses in transition and find paths to get to the basket after a pick up. He was able to find space in between defenders to get himself clear shots inside.
- He showcased the ability to shoot from a stationary position, off movement, off screens, and off the dribble. He has potential to be a multi-tool shooter, but he needs to smoothen out his shooting form. The form can be a bit inconsistent and the elbows and arms seem awkward.
- He doesn’t have a quick first step nor does he create a lot of separation for himself through ball handling. It can become loose in situations with poor spacing and he struggled to create for himself when defended by lengthy and athletic defenders.
- The passing ability was inconsistent and the accuracy of his kickout passes could use improvement. Definitely a capable and willing passer, but was mostly constrained to make basic reads. However on occasion, he flashed the ability to make difficult passes and manipulate defenses with his eyes.
ROLE: LOW ACTIVITY, HELPER, WING DEFENDER
- Was generally not involved in on-ball actions in Iran’s defensive schemes to conserve his stamina due to his offensive load and the short nature of the tournament.
- His length allowed him to bother shots at the rim on occasion and he has good hand-eye coordination when targeting the ball on swipes off of stunts. He averaged 4.6 steals per game in the U16 tournament.
- He has a bad habit of hopping on closeouts that led to blow-bies against him. However, he was not a defensive liability when tested on-ball due to his size and length.
Mohammad Amini has the makings of a big time scorer in the Asian region. He proved to be a great scorer finishing 3rd in the tournament in points per game while playing underaged. He should be on several mid-major colleges’ radars as he has what it takes to be a very good contributor at the next level. The development of his jumper is the biggest factor for his growth. He made great strides as a finisher since his performance in Qatar at the U16s and upped his two point percentage to 54% against taller and older competition from 44%. He is already touted as the future of Iran basketball and it looks like he deserves every bit of the billing. The main drawback is his lack of explosiveness, but there is optimism that he’s more than talented enough to further develop his craftiness to make up for it offensively.
Nationality: Japan | Date of Birth: April 13, 2004 | Height: 201 cm | 6’7″
Stats: 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists (1 turnover), 8-13 2P, 2-5 3P in 18 minutes (2 games)
ROLE: SPOT-UP SHOOTER, CLOSEOUT ATTACKER & PLAYMAKER, TRANSITION SCORER
- Flashed his shooting ability in a small sample. Looks like a solid spot-up shooter. Can easily get it off over closeouts with a high release. Shot mechanics can still become more consistent. Shot 4-13 (30.8%) from three and 6-6 (100%) from the line at the NBA Academy Games recently.
- Fluid athlete who can easily attack closeouts. Can finish with either hand and looks remarkably comfortable with his right off-hand. Effective transition scorer. Often the first one on the break and has the vertical to throw it down with an open lane.
- Lacks the shiftiness / handling tightness to be a PnR playmaker, but he can consistently make the secondary play. Regularly finds the open man on basic drive-and-kick reads.
ROLE: WING DEFENDER
- Capable defender against opposing wings. Not an explosive athlete, but still moves well for his size. Can impact shots from the side or from behind when he’s beaten because of his size.
- Shows solid flashes of off-ball awareness. Wasn’t a major difference-maker, but the sample size was also too small to make definite conclusions. Tools & awareness are promising for a future pro.
It was an unfortunate tournament for Akira Jacobs, who went down with a wrist injury halfway through the second game in the group stages. Still, it was obvious that the 18-year-old belonged to the most talented players in the competition due to his combination of size, fluidity, and ball-skills. With normal development, it’s easy to project Jacobs as a good pro player, for example in Japan, Australia or a Top-5 European league, in the future.
Nationality: Lebanon | Date of Birth: March 23, 2004 | Height: 202 cm | 6’8”
Stats: 17.8 points, 7.0 rebounds (2 offensive), 2.8 assists (3.0 turnovers), 1.4 steals, 1.4 blocks, 33.8 minutes, 40.7/34.5/56.2 splits (47.8 True Shooting Percentage)
ROLE: SLASHER, FLOOR SPACER, TRANSITION SCORER, CONNECTOR
- Good transition scorer. Has the length and mobility to pose problems on the break. Capable of filling the lanes well or taking it himself. Has good vision in transition and is capable of making good reads for easy points.
- Has a good, fluid shooting motion, but misses short or airballs often due to the height of the arc on the shot. He often struggles to generate power on his shot when shooting off movement or off the dribble. Struggled a bit from the midrange over the course of the tournament.
- Can pull off dribble moves in isolation, including a pretty stepback, provided that he’s given a bit of space. Struggles against strong, physical defenders. When defended up close, his handles become very loose and he’s susceptible to getting the ball stripped by his defender or by stunting helpers. Grip strength might also be a concern as he lost the ball multiple times after gathering.
- Generates a lot of rim pressure in transition or in the halfcourt. He does not have much wiggle after gathering the ball and he’s often diverted from his scoring path when driving. He still manages to finish well at the rim and employs a lot of craft in his finishing. Showed great touch on off-balanced scoop layups and finishing with his off-hand through contact.
- Solid play connector. Can vary his pass deliveries to get through defenders. Handles limit him in terms of playmaking, but he’s shown the ability to capitalize on advantages created by his teammates by moving the ball while in a standstill position.
ROLE: WING DEFENDER, SECONDARY RIM PROTECTOR, STOPPER
- Potentially, he’s a highly switchable defender capable of guarding the 2 to 4 spots. Lateral movement is not elite, but his length makes up for it. He’s also capable of defending in the post and keeping his stance low to avoid being pushed around.
- Flashed good timing in his rotations at the rim and was capable of deterring shots, cutting off drives, and blocking layups at the rim once his teammates were beat. His length allowed him to be disruptive on defense whether it’s at the rim or by bothering ball handlers and passing lanes.
- If chosen to develop as a power forward, he’s capable of pulling off aggressive coverages on ball screens and stringing along guards on occasion. He forced a few pickups from less capable ball handlers.
- Not a perfect defender by any means. On occasion, he’s susceptible to ball watching, can be outmuscled inside, and late to come back on defense in transition.
Karim Rtail was one of the most impressive prospects in terms of physical tools in the tournament. His length and mobility give him one of the higher ceilings among standouts. Despite being physically superior to the competition, he also played with a lot of skill in the perimeter. There should be optimism around him developing as a shooter as he displayed good touch at the rim and his jumper should only require minor tweaks. Currently, he plays for Sassari in Italy, but if he chooses to go to the NCAA, he can be a solid contributor to a mid-major program.
Nationality: Philippines | Date of Birth: August 21, 2004 | Height: 201 cm | 6’7”
Stats: 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds (2.0 offensive), 1.5 assists (1.3 turnovers), 26.3 minutes, 57.6/44.7/85.7 splits (69.7 True Shooting%)
ROLE: PLAY FINISHER, STRETCH BIG, POST-UP BIG
- Good finisher inside and displays soft touch to make up for his lack of length and explosiveness. Uses his body well to protect the ball and finish. Can create his own shots in the post against single coverage, but length can affect efficiency.
- Doesn’t force shots and is good at passing out of the post. Only took 14.2 shots per game but finished 2nd in the tournament in points per game. Overall, a solid decision maker in the halfcourt.
- Great spot-up shooter. Tied for most made triples in the tournament. Smooth, solid shooting form with great catch footwork, but he mostly shoots from a stationary position. Flashed the ability to make shots off the dribble and showcased solid body organization shooting those rare pull-ups.
- On occasion, he initiated the offense out of Delay or brought the ball up the floor. He showed the ability to attack closeouts by driving and made good passes out of a live dribble. However, he hasn’t shown the ability to consistently derive offense from his ball handling.
- Needs to improve the quality of screens. More often than not, he fails to create contact with the defender and slips the screen even when not necessary.
ROLE: BIG DEFENDER, DROP BIG, HELPER
- Most of the time, he played out of position as the anchor of his team’s defense. He exhibited poor leaping mechanics (long load time required prior to jumping) and a difficulty to jump straight in the air for vertical contests.
- Was not tested in the perimeter a lot, but was poor during the times he was brought out. He fails to get low and bend his knees. He has below average hip flexibility and lateral quickness.
- He was typically used in drop coverage, but was passable hedging against less capable ball handlers.
- He displayed solid floor awareness that helped make up for his relative lack of mobility and explosiveness. He plugged up driving lanes as early as his body would allow them and made the right help read more often than not.
One could argue that Mason Amos was the best offensive performer in the tournament. His ability to score on good volume and great efficiency without necessarily demanding touches is very intriguing. Offensively, he is not expected to replicate this level of efficiency at the next level due to his physical constraints, but his shooting touch should let him retain a lot of value. His on-ball game also looks promising if development continues. Defensively, his solid awareness can’t completely make up for the lack of tools, but improvement in technique should help. In the long run, he projects to be a very good professional player in Asia.
Nationality: South Korea | Date of Birth: March 13, 2004 | Height: 180 cm | 5’11”
Stats: 23.2 points, 3.4 rebounds (1 offensive), 4.6 assists (2.8 turnovers), 1.8 steals, 37.1 minutes, 42.4/30.2/82.6 splits (53.2 True Shooting Percentage)
ROLE: SECONDARY BALL HANDLER, ADVANTAGE CREATOR, MOVEMENT SHOOTER
- Wired to score. Good on-ball game combined with a strong off-ball game. Showcased the ability to create his own shot and led the tournament in points per game. Displayed ideal timing in cuts and knew how to fill open spaces and create passing angles for his teammates.
- In order to succeed at the next level, he needs to improve his handles and ability to probe in the pick and roll. At the moment, he can only perform basic passing reads to the screener. At his size, becoming a lead guard/primary initiator seems like the ideal development path. He was fifth in the tournament in assists and he made good and unselfish reads in transition. He’s mostly a two handed passer which not only limits the passing angles available to him, but can lead to non-ideal pickups in traffic.
- Finishing inside against size could be a problem moving forward. The floater is a work in progress and he doesn’t have the strength to carve space inside or leaping ability to finish above the rim.
- Shoots the ball with confidence. Led the tournament in attempts from three. His form is a 1.5 motion jumper, but tends to turn into a 2 motion shot in distance or in certain jumpers off movement. Power generation and energy transfer need smoothening out.
- Accelerates well and attacks closeouts with a good first step. He managed to leverage the threat of his jumper well and consistently attacked late defenders.
ROLE: GUARD DEFENDER, HELPER/TEAM DEFENDER
- With South Korea, he was typically used as a helper in sink-and-fill and help the helper situations. He exhibited incredible stamina throughout the tournament. He played heavy minutes and carried a huge load on offense that required a lot of movement plus was active and aware in their frenetic defensive scheme.
- He doesn’t have the physical tools to impact the game a lot on the defensive side of the floor. Despite this, he showcased tremendous hustle and was in the right places more often than not. He quickly recognized when he should rotate. On occasion though, he hopped into closeouts that led to blow-bies.
- His point of attack defense was not stellar, but not terrible. Guards with physical advantages over him tended to beat him to spots.
Lee Juyeong is an intriguing prospect that is currently looking for an opportunity to play in the US. He would be a good fit on many low-major or mid-major programs given his offensive versatility. He showed his ability to put points on the board in multiple ways while playing nearly the whole game and playing an active role in their team’s hectic defensive scheme. There are obvious physical limitations, but the skill level and drive are readily apparent. He’s already one of the best scorers in the region at his age group and there’s a lot of room for growth. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him grow into a key player for South Korea’s men’s basketball team in the future.
Nationality: Qatar | Date of Birth: March 28, 2006 | Height: 198 cm | 6’6″
Stats: 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1 assist (1.3 turnovers), 24-52 2P, 8-21 3P in 28.4 minutes
ROLE: POTENTIALLY VERSATILE SHOOTER, CLOSEOUT ATTACKER
- Shows intriguing potential as a shooter. Converts eye-catching pull-ups with some regularity. Uses flashy crossover combinations to create space for jumpers. Shot 9-31 (29%) from three and 23-33 (69.7%) from the line through FIBA U16 Asia and FIBA U18 Asia, even though his shot mechanics are very inconsistent. Every shot looks different, especially in terms of his footwork and release. Should have good shooting potential once he becomes more consistent.
- Primarily a closeout attacker. Gets to the paint quite well with fluid movements. Shows some glimpses of creating for himself, but he can still tighten his handle quite a bit. Gets pushed off spots very easily for now due to his skinny build. Can be a bit contact-shy around the basket, so he settles for floaters a lot, though he has solid touch for them (and for finishing with his right in general). Able to occasionally create shot windows with rangy Eurosteps. Also creates some easy buckets through smart cuts.
- Not a playmaker who’ll bring the ball up or run pick-and-roll, but he shows promise making drive-and-kick reads.
ROLE: WING DEFENDER
- Primarily defends opposing wings. Solid lateral athlete, which lends hope he can be effective against wings in the future. For now, he’s very skinny and gets pushed around by opponents very easily – this is to be expected given he’s playing two years up. Definitely has plenty of upside once he fills out his frame.
- Potential to be disruptive off-ball with his long arms. Doesn’t create a ton of havoc for now because he’s contact-shy and can therefore be too reluctant making help plays, often trying to make plays from the side rather than getting his body into the action. Shows solid flashes of defensive awareness, though. Should see his effectiveness increase majorly once he becomes stronger.
Hamad Mousa was one of the most interesting long-term prospects in the competition due to his combination of size, ball-skills and defensive upside. While he has plenty to improve on, he’s in a good spot, as he’s practicing with NBA Global Academy on the regular. If he can come anywhere near his potential, he should have a solid future in professional basketball. He’s one of at least three players on this Qatari team – besides Mohamed Ndao and Mohammed Abbasher – who could become key players for the senior national team in the future.
Lee Chae Hyung
Nationality: South Korea | Date of Birth: September 13, 2004 | Height: 187 cm | 6’2″
Stats: 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds (3 offensive), 5.6 assists (3 turnovers), 6.6 steals, 45/38/43 splits
ROLE: CONNECTOR, SPOT-UP SHOOTER, SECONDARY PLAYMAKER
- Smart and unselfish ball-handler. Consistently finds the open man in transition and can also make basic pick-and-roll reads. Best as a secondary ball-handler and transition playmaker because he lacks the ability to get into the paint consistently and pressure the rim. Picks up his dribble too quickly once he enters the paint. Gets hectic too quickly under defensive pressure. Fits really well into a team-oriented system next to a creating guard because he can be trusted to make the right read when the advantage is created for him.
- Good spot-up shooter. Finished the tournament with 11-29 3P (37.9%). Workable shot form with plenty of room to improve the consistency. Streaky in terms of results but also in terms of mechanics, especially with his release and his pre-shot footwork, but the results are already promising. Loves to use the glass on midrange jumpers.
- Hustle player. Finished the tournament with 3 offensive rebounds a game, ranking 4th in the whole competition. Shows relentless activity and a great eye for loose balls – reaction times are outstanding. Lacks the tools (size and athleticism mainly) for this to fully translate to higher levels.
ROLE: GUARD DEFENDER, SMART & ENERGETIC TEAM DEFENDER
- Pesky on-ball defender. Pressures the ball well and can defend 94 feet consistently. Solid defender against most guards at this level. Will struggle with high-level athletes, however, since he’s a passable one at best and doesn’t have a great frame either.
- Key to South Korea’s intense defense (incl. zones, full-court presses, etc.), which generated an insane 19 steals a game. Outstanding effort and eye for bad passes. Reads player’s passing options and anticipates passes ahead of time like a veteran. Finished the tournament with an incredible 33 steals in 170 minutes. Sometimes a bit out-of-control in terms of positioning but that fit South Korea’s strategy. Won’t be this impactful against higher levels of competitions, due to his lacking tools among other reasons, but the high feel for the game translates well.
Lee Chae Hyung was one of the most unusual players in the competition – the steal average, the offensive rebounds, the triple-double with steals are all outlandish -, but that’s part of what makes him so fun. He’s an excellent connector: good offensive decision-maker, capable shooter, can do some on-ball creation and creates HAVOC on the defensive end. Lack of size (& tools in general) and primary-level ball-handling are major drawbacks, but Lee should still have a solid pro career since he’s the type of player every coach wants on their team.
Liu Li Jia
Nationality: China | Date of Birth: August 17, 2004 | Height: 206 cm | 6’9”
Stats: 15.6 points, 6.2 rebounds (2.6 offensive), 1.0 assist (1.4 turnovers), 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks, 23.6 minutes, 67.4/16.7/68.2 splits (70.0 True Shooting Percentage)
ROLE: PLAY FINISHER, POST-UP BIG, CUTTER, SLASHER
- Impressive finisher inside capable of creating his own shot in the post, putting back missed shots, and cutting to find easy looks. Can finish with either (prefers his off-hand) and play above the rim. Displayed solid touch on hook shots and contested layups. Can improve by incorporating a floater in the short midrange.
- Usually plays mistake free basketball, but his passing in live dribble situations needs refinement. Pass accuracy fell on the move. He’s capable of passing out of post doubles and swinging the ball in the perimeter.
- Showed the ability to attack closeouts and drive in a straight line, but hasn’t flashed advanced ball handling beyond this.
- There should be optimism with respect to his jumper despite only making 1 out of 6 attempts. He shoots it with a very high arc and the shot is very workable. His wrist might be an issue as he doesn’t put full wrist flexion in his shot which could be why it’s inconsistent or not practical to use in game.
- He’s listed at 6’9, but is taller than his teammates that are listed at a similar height or slightly taller. Has a strong frame and plays with physicality. He knows how to use his build to his advantage.
ROLE: BIG AND WING DEFENDER, HELPER, SECONDARY RIM PROTECTION
- Despite his height and physique, he was more often found guarding the perimeter for China. Has good north-south mobility, but his lateral mobility and hip flexibility can be challenged by opposing guards and wings. He can hold his own in the perimeter at this level of play which should raise his potential ceiling at the next level.
- Showcased good technique on long closeouts and matched it with effort to close gaps in their team’s defense. However, he tends to be a bit hoppy in the perimeter which can lead to blow-bies. Footwork on the perimeter could use a bit of work as he’s not very efficient in his movements and tends to have happy feet when guarding on an island.
- Strong post-up defender and plays with discipline. Opposing bigs found it difficult to move him or force him to bite on fakes. Knows how to control his body to avoid fouling.
- One of the better help defenders in the tournament. Solid timing for helping and closing up driving lanes. His recognition of timing when helping allowed him to walk into several interceptions and is a huge part of why he averaged 1.6 steals per game. Didn’t need to do much rim protection due to Yang Han Sen playing alongside him most of his minutes, but was capable of rotating and protecting the rim at times. He’s not the quickest leaper and that might prevent him from seeing heavy minutes at the 5.
Liu Li Jia was one of the most effective scorers in the tournament and the most consistent source of scoring for the Chinese team. He has the potential to be a solid modern forward given his movement skills and defensive awareness. He should be able to make an impact in a mid-major program in the US if he chooses to go that route. He’s close to complete as an interior scorer and can finish up close in a lot of different ways. There are athletic limits which prevent him from anchoring a defense or being an elite roll and cut big, but given his skillset at this age, it’s easy to bet on him becoming a successful professional basketball player in the region.
- Liu Jin Yu (China / 6’7″ / 2005) – athletic wing with a nice jumper, averaged 13.2 points and 2 assists on 45/36/71 splits
- Mohamed Ndao (Qatar / 6’4″ / 2007) – hyper-athletic wing with high upside, finished 3rd in blocks per game
- Mohsen Asgari Nia (Iran / 6’11” / 2004) – mobile forward who can switch 2-4 and shows intriguing flashes on offense
- Wei Chieh Yeh (Chinese Taipei / 6’2″ / 2005) – bucket-getter on the wing, finished with 16.3 points a game on 51/45/75 splits
- Chang Chun-Sheng (Chinese Taipei / 6’0″ / 2004) – solid secondary ballhandler with disruptive defense, averaged 16.7 points, 4.5 assists and 3.2 steals on 45/36/71
- Jared Bahay (Philippines / 5’9″ / 2005) – athletic, undersized PG that generates a ton of rim pressure, averaged 9 points, 5 assists and 2.5 steals
- Shonryu Yaegashi (Japan / 6’1″ / 2004) – best shooter in the competition, led the tournament in 3PM (17) and 3P% among players with at least 15 3PA (50%)
- Mohammed Abbasher (Qatar / 6’6″ / 2004) – athletic, physical forward, finished 3rd in FT% as well, already debuted for the senior national team
- Yoo Minsoo (South Korea / 6’7″ / 2004) – athletic forward with solid upside, especially to become a versatile defender in the pros