You know many names were nominated as superstars in the international prospect classes of 2002, 2003 and 2004. So who are among the under the radar prospects? What can these players do in the future? In this series, I will dive briefly into the under the radar prospects from 2002, 2003 and 2004 classes before detailed reports.
Team: FC Barcelona II
Born: February 4, 2004
Teodor Simić was born on February 4, 2004, in North Macedonia. His childhood was good. He received a good family education and had peaceful years. By the age of 10, he thought it was the right decision to start basketball, as he had a physically abnormal length. He was playing for KK Vodno Suns when he caught the attention of Barcelona.
Simić has played in two major tournaments so far. He played in seven games at the FIBA U16 Euro Championship last year where he was not the best player in this North Macedonia team but he was one of the best with Andrej Mitrevski in terms of potential. He averaged 6.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists while shooting 32.7% from the court. After a couple of months, he played at ANGT Valencia for Barça where he averaged 3.6 points and three rebounds in three games. In the minor tournaments, he did well in Campeonato de España Cadete.
He was 6-foot-11 last year at the FIBA event but after a year, he grew up to 7-foot. He is just 16 years old and already 7-feet with good wingspan. However, I don’t think he is great physically yet. He has to add strength if he wants to play at the high levels in my opinion. The width on his shoulders is good for his length, also, torso flexibility and strength on core make him a fighter in one-on-one situations on the offensive end. However, lack of strength in arms, chest and shoulder hurt his stock. Despite the touch, his thin wrists hurt his hooks and shots a lot.
His lower body is what he physically needs to work on most. Simić’s legs are long and, to be honest, he can use his hip mobility very well in all offensive and defensive situations but that’s it. He has bulky legs that make him very slow both half court and full court. There’s almost no vertical pop. He hasn’t shown any good signs about popping as he trusts the length of his arms so much. Simić can move well laterally but his footwork limits him against quick players, stretch bigs, and in transition situations.
As he is only 16 years old, he isn’t physically on a road that cannot be returned. Also, the structure in Barcelona does well in supporting the physical development of the players. But if Simić cannot gain strength and some vertical pop and speed by the age of 18, I think his projection will turn into a huge question mark. But the fact that he has a good length to fill out and can use his length and core muscles well shows that good signs can be increased for now.
Teodor Simić is a good passer. The first thing about the big’s offensive repertoire should not about passing, but in my opinion, Simić’s ability to see the court, reaction, timing, and BBIQ are unique for his age and position. He is not a movement passer, has not drive and dish ability, stationary passer but has advanced reads. As a passer, he does a lot of valuable work that is not included in the stats sheet.
When he takes the ball on the ball of the key or around the baseline, he lowers his stance to protect the ball, using his body as a shield between the ball and his opponent. Thanks to his length, Simić keeps the ball well out of reach of the defender. But at the same time, he doesn’t stay in this position long to avoid the help side’s deflection possibility. Looks comfortable in DHOs and has the ability to be a station for give and go scorers.
He is good at various pass types such as skip, pocket, and also when he is in post-up, he can pass to his teammate who does flash cuts from the top of the key to under the basket, or to his teammate who does back door cut from the weak side. I don’t think he is a bad handler as I mentioned, but he is sometimes out of control when two pesky defenders double him hard. But he is not a turnover prone in my opinion.
On the individual scoring side, Simić makes his money as an interior scorer. He is a very good roller in pick-and-roll situations. He usually rolling from right side to the basket better than left.
Simić’s hip mobility, long steps, protective ballhandling, and BBIQ make him dangerous for the opposing team under the basket. Because defending Simić is already hard because his length and switching against him is not a thing which the opponent wants. Because Simić knows how to use his length and torso to push (legally) the defensive line under the basket and find a bucket.
However, there is a HUGE improvement area for his offensive arsenal: finishing. Teodor Simić is not a good finisher. Where he’s very close to the basket, he can finish well using the glass. But when he’s around the nail, baseline, long hook, and mini mid-range, the lack of strength and soft touch in his wrist limits him to as a finisher. The shots he uses from these ranges usually hit the very end of the basket. This is a big problem for his entire offensive repertoire – post-up, PnR, off the ball, etc. So, he is an excellent catch and finisher but average as an overall interior scorer.
If he can add some touch in the air, he really has the potential to be an elite post-up player. Because he has shown some flashes on drop step to the baseline after shoulder/pump/pass fake. He really can bite the defender very well around the post-up. And if the defender biting by Simić in face-up situations, Teodor Simić can put the ball on the floor to go to the basket but he is not a self-creator besides baseline and some short rolling out.
The shooting ability. Okay, it is pretty interesting side for him in my opinion. Teodor Simić is not a good shooter despite his flashes as a mid-range creator, catch-and-shooter, pick and pop shooter but overall, he has a lot of room to improve. Has a two-motion shooting type.
He bends his wrists well, gives a light touch to the ball with his balance hand, and does not has a strength issue when shooting but the way he aligns his waist, knees, hips, and shoulders is very wrong. In addition, Simić cannot bend the knees and waist well at all and this affects the angle of the ball a lot.
However, I can buy his potential as a shooter. Because he is a smart player, he is not a player who forces the game. He also has this mentality as a shooter (showed in flashes). I think that if he can change his lower body form completely and gain flexibility on his wrists, he really can hit a lot of threes. Because he already has a shooting brain, no major problem on the upper body (needs work on energy transfer from the shoulder but it is not too hard) and if he can fix these problems, he also solves his problems as an interior scorer and will be a versatile 7-foot big. This sounds pretty interesting. This is a gamble but I would like to take a risk on that.
Simić has no ability in transition offense, he cannot run fast but has the ability to grab and give quickly. Always talks with his teammates to make something different on the offensive end. Active as an off the ball player to create spacing which is great.
Teodor Simić has good positional knowledge on the defensive end. For example, if the offensive player is a shooting threat, Simić chases him around the screen closely. But if the offensive player is a traditional big, he leaves the big man alone until comes to around the nail.
He uses his wingspan, lateral move, eye-hand coordination, and hip mobility very impressively in face-up situations inside the line. He shows a low stance to exploit the ball, moves laterally very well, and tries to make uncomfortable the offensive player by using his body, especially, core muscles. When the offensive player tries to make money over him, Simić raises both hands up, legally pushes his opponent from the chest, and makes a mini jump vertically to cover his opponent’s angle under the basket. So, his body positioning and position knowledge are very good in my opinion.
Almost excellent in pick and roll situations. Last year at the FIBA U16, North Macedonia defended PnR by using drop 25 times when Simić on the court. The opponents (I did not watch their latest Israel game, but add all other games from this tournament) scored just 14 in these positions. Crazy. Simić’s minutes at the ANGT Valencia were not too much but in the third-place game against Valencia, he showed his drop ability in PnR situations. He follows his man well before the screen, after the screen, shows good drop IQ and timing in my opinion.
However, if his team covers PnR by switch defense, Simić out of control. And also, it is one of the two biggest improvement areas on the defensive end for him. He does nothing, literally nothing, around the perimeter against shifty, quick ballhandlers or slashers due to his lack of quickness and athleticism.
The other thing he should work on his shot blocking ability. I don’t think Simić is a bad rim protector, I would say average, but his rim protection is based on rotation and head-to-head fight. He is not a freakish athlete or good blocker. He just uses his hands very well to close the offensive player’s easy layup angle. This is a very good thing but I think he has to work on shot blocking. But as I mentioned, the lack of vertical pop and general body quickness (he really too slow despite shows good hip mobility) is huge and hard to make up things for him.
Good post-up defender in back-to-the-basket situations. He always pushes the offensive player in a legal way. Uses his kneecap to make him uncomfortable. Simić can also cover the angles of post entry passes by getting ahead of his opponent.
Good team defender. Simić isn’t a defensive playmaker or something but he talks with others, two hands always up, rotates very well from nail to the baseline zones, and under the basket, he looks to see the weak side on his team’s defensive line to make up and doesn’t make unnecessary help defense.
Good, very good, rebounder. After he grabs the ball, if there is no good tempo for transition, he crouches on the ball and protects it. But if there is a good tempo for transition, he gives a pass quickly.
Teodor Simić is a double-edged prospect. If he can add average shooting threat, good touch, and gain some muscles, he will be an elite NBA prospect. At the end of the day, he is just 16 years old basketball player. He has much time to improve and as I learned from head coaches from Spain, Simić has a fascinating work ethic. So, it is a great signal but, of course, time will show what will happen in his future.
Born: September 2, 2004
Berke Büyüktuncel was born on September 2, 2004, in Bursa, Turkey. His uncle was a former basketball player and also volleyball player, while his other two uncles had a huge interest in swimming and volleyball. His father was a former judoka and his sister interested in volleyball. So, Büyüktuncel came from a sports family. He started playing basketball when he was six years old thanks to his uncles.
Some gym teachers at his school thought he was fit to be a swimmer, but starting basketball was more attractive for Berke. His father is the general manager of a firm and his mother has his shop in Bursa. His sister works as a designer.
While Büyüktuncel was playing basketball as a hobby until the age of 12-13, he transferred to TOFAS in those years and things started to get more serious for him. Former head coach of TOFAS, Orhun Ene valued him very much, and players such as DJ White, Sean Kilpatrick, and Semaj Christon give Berke Büyüktuncel valuable advice in training.
Büyüktuncel has received and continues to receive offers from many programs in the NCAA, but his only focus is staying at TOFAS.
Büyüktuncel was one of the stars of the TBF U16 Basketball tournament last year. He averaged 16 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.8 steals, 1.5 turnovers, 1.3 blocks while shooting 53.3% inside the 3-points line and 50% from the 3-points (9/18, all CnS).
At the Turkish Basketball Youth League, he played in 36 games and averaged 5.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 turnovers, 1.6 blocks while shooting 57% inside the 3-points line and 27.5% from the 3-points line (16/58). In this season, he has a chance to play in the First Team of TOFAS.
Standing 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot wingspan and well developed 210-pound frame, Büyüktuncel has the requisite size for a modern era forward and he can play as a PG, SG, SF and PF thanks to his size and frame.
In the previous period, his physical development had stopped a little because he could not play basketball for 6-7 months due to a lower body injury. But after this process, Büyüktuncel accelerated his development momentum and started to fill his length well.
His shoulders are a little narrow compared to his height and wingspan. But the strength and upright degree of his shoulders allow him to absorb contact during aggressive closeout attacks and score comfortably around the rim (scored 24 points in BGL last year in these situations). He has a hollow chest but his chest and torso have really good flexibility and this flexibility allows makes him smooth around the baseline.
Not a big fan of strength in arms but there is a decent future thanks to his wide wingspan. He can pop his triceps easily if he put the work in the gym I’ve been told that he works a lot in this regard.
The lower body is pretty quick as well. He doesn’t have any elite change of direction (both on the ground and in the air) ability or strong/long first step but Büyüktuncel can integrate his aggressiveness with his fast footwork, mobile hips, and strong and agile legs that give him fluidity, and he can go to the basket quickly from anywhere on the field. Usually, he uses the left offensive channel of the attack and goes to his left more easily because he is left-handed. Last year, he scored 34 of the 96 points he had in TBF by going to his left.
Overall, he doesn’t have a huge minus physically, he should just work on adding strength to his body.
Berke Büyüktuncel is able to catalyze his dribbling, handling, and game aggressiveness to attack the rim. He is not an elite self-creator but he makes a lot of money as a secondary ballhandler with this.
The harmony between dribbling and handling is perfect. Above average speed with the ball in his hands for his length and age. Büyüktuncel is not someone who has shifty or crafty moves (has shown flashes of advanced moves like hesitations, burst, in and out, between the legs, etc. but these are not his main weapons) as a ballhandler but he knows how to protect the ball in high tempo and against the pesky defender in one-on-one situations.
When he starts the dribble from the stationary position and starts attacking the basket/closeout/rim, he shifts the ball up-down-left-right to get the ball out of the steal area of the defender. In addition, he does not remove the ball from the core level, thus increasing his possibility of drawing the foul in steal moves of his opponents.
Moving aggressively and quickly to the basket, he lifts the ball in the middle of his second step and can finish positions with an inside hand finishing style. So, has quick feet and cannot give up drives to the basket. However, his lack of shiftiness hurts his finishing ability over rim protectors. In such positions, Berke Büyüktuncel can sometimes draw the foul by putting his body, especially his shoulder, between the ball and his opponent, and shifting his body weight to the basket level, but in general, he needs to work on this issue.
The left-handed Büyüktuncel can use his right hand to finish and dribble but not well. He should work on finishing with his right. He knows how to use the glass around the baseline and can absorb contact in traffic. His combination of length and aggressiveness allows him to create his angle, and he really has good soft touch in the air (even around the nail, looks like Vassilis Spanoulis’s famous floater). He can jump off one or two feet but cannot finish at the rim with power. Besides his work on right-hand finishing, Büyüktuncel should work on being calm. He sometimes forces the slashing too much. He is not a bad finisher in traffic but it is not good for him to go into very crowded areas and force positions while his teammates are open with time to shoot.
I think the Turkish prospect has good BBIQ as a passer and off the ball player. He is not a primary initiator but he has shown some advanced flashes as a passer. He has the ability to utilize his gravity effect to draw the defenders and give easy passes to the weak side. Büyüktuncel makes assists after pump fakes and drives under the basket. He is a good passer for catch-and-finish interior scorers in my opinion. However, he is not a good stationary passer. Just reads and reacts, and doesn’t have any PnR operation ability.
Büyüktuncel is not someone who scores a lot as an off the ball player but he knows how to create space for his teammates or create his easy bucket angles by cutting to the basket. He is good at flash, UCLA, backdoor, and curl cuts. Shows his quickness and body coordination here very well. Always active and talks with others which is good. Because as I mentioned, he sometimes forces the game and plays selfish. But at the end of the day, he is a good teammate on the offensive end.
Shooting is the most important case for Büyüktuncel. Berke is a versatile basketball prospect and continues to develop physically. Generally, he is a forward who the defense takes special precautions for. But he has to level up on the shooting threat to bring the opposing defense around the perimeter. He shot 3-pointers in the TBF tournament last year at 50%, but at the end of the day, he is not a good shooter yet.
Büyüktuncel has a two-motion shooting mechanism. His shooting pocket stars below the core, this is good to increase the momentum of the ball, he shifts his body weight very well, bends his kneecaps and back/hips very well too, but without fully aligning his feet he is preparing to bend and jump in a shot form, this is breaking his balance a little bit. His load time is good and blocking him is very difficult due to the height of its release. However, the ball comes out of his hand very slowly. Also, narrow shoulders and hollow chests affect his strength. I think he could be a good catch-and-shooter if can make progress on quickness of release and gaining strength.
He’s not a versatile shooter. He cannot create for himself, just hits CnS and spot-ups both behind the 3-point line and mid-range. Also, not good at hitting the shots after using the pump fakes, etc.
Besides his above average self-creation, off the ball scoring, and aggressiveness, Büyüktuncel is fluid in transition offense, makes a lot of money here and has a decent post-up game. Nice drop step to the line and shoulder turn. Not elite but good for a 16 years old small forward.
Berke Büyüktuncel has the potential to be an elite lockdown defender in my opinion. While he does a good job in off the ball situations as a top lock defender, he also can protect the rim, make impressive blocks, come to the table with a lot of steals. He shows great anticipation and awareness on defense.
Büyüktuncel moves well laterally to cut off the ballhandler and absorbs the contact in one-on-one situations. One hand goes up and the other hand goes down to avoid foul. If the offense has impressive change direction ability, Büyüktuncel adjusts his footwork to make a two-foot hop against the offense’s quick drive to the basket possibility. He uses his hips very well to back to his square and contest the shot.
He can control the ballhandler and force him to expose the ball by smartly pressuring the ball. Here, he can integrate his length with anticipation, quick body coordination and aggressiveness to get his opponents out of his comfort zone.
Büyüktuncel doesn’t have an elite motor but hands are always up and out, he runs to the closeouts quickly and makes the shooter uncomfortable by using two hands, contests with passion, and turns the court quickly in transition situations. However, he bites by the ballhandler easily in pump fake situations. Should be calmer against smart players and sharpshooters in my opinion.
In rim protection and shot-blocking, he is excellent. He has shown flashes on the chase-down block, block after the rotation from the weak side to the strong side. Has great timing and knows how to avoid the foul while making a block. He usually uses his left hand to make a block. Büyüktuncel also can protect the rim by making good rotations from the top of the key or wings to under the basket. While doing it, he pushes the ballhandler. His strong frame makes it very difficult for the offensive players to push him on drives. So, he has real shot-blocking potential catalyzed by length, BBIQ and timing.
He’s active on the glass, energetic in the passing lanes but sometimes gambles (last year, he was very good on steals and importantly, he scores a lot of points after the steal but gambling in passing lanes is not a good thing generally) too much. Büyüktuncel does a pretty nice job in off the ball situations, follows his man closely in stagger or pindown sets very well. However, he sometimes watches the strong side actions too much and misses his man’s sudden back door, curl, or flash cut. He does a good job tagging the cutter in help and getting back his man but again, he’s sometimes biting by the strong side actions or pump fakes too much. I would like to see him calmer in this case.
Büyüktuncel is not a good communicator but also not a selfish defender. He sees actions but not a defender who releases the message to the others well.
Büyüktuncel is a really good rebounder. He does a pretty impressive job to grab the ball: uses his length well, shows great anticipation, timing, and vertical pop. After he takes the ball, he can score in transition situations quickly or can start the offense quickly with a nice pass.
Berke Büyüktuncel has exciting potential. He is 6-foot-7 and can shoot, put the ball on the floor, pass the ball, go aggressively to the basket, defend multiple positions, block, steal the ball, and add depth to the game with his speed and BBIQ.
There are three important points here. First of all, I think Büyüktuncel should be a little calmer in team play. Has good court vision but sometimes forces the game too much, does not talk with others too much. Second, it will be important whether he will be able to win consistently on the shot. Third, how long and how much he can fill his growing length seems to determine his NBA projection. But if the scenarios will go well, he is already an ideal prospect for the NBA. Because he has what the NBA wants from a wing in today’s philosophy. But I think the three things I just mentioned will determine his projection.
Team: Trapani — Loan from Stellazzurra Rome
Born: June 7, 2004
Emmanuel Adeola was born on June 7, 2004, in one of the big cities of Nigeria. Most os his family members of him played or coached soccer, and Adeola’s first sport was soccer. But he was playing basketball as well, but just for fun. When Adeola grew up physically a lot, he turned to basketball professionally. After a few contacts with scouts and assistant coaches from the Stellazzurra Rome, Adeola went to Italy and his basketball story begin seriously.
Emmanuel Adeola played in some small local tournaments in 2018, but it was 2019 when he actually made his name heard. Alongside his impressive performances at the Szent Istvan Basketball Cup and U16 Orotava in 2019, Adeola played in ANGT Kaunas. However, he just played 27 minutes and scored two points in three games.
Adeola’s performance at the 2019–2020 ANGT Munich was not good again. He averaged five points, 4.8 rebounds, three assists, 1.3 steals while shooting 35.3% inside the arc. But, he had the leading role in his team’s good victories by playing excellent in the Szent Istvan Basketball Cup.
Adeola plays for Tripani on loan from Stellazzurra Rome & Roseto Sharks. He is a great hard worker, especially, in the gym. He works on his body a lot and also for the basketball abilities.
Standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan and well-developed frame, Emmanuel Adeola has excellent physical tools for a 16 year old guard in my opinion.
His arm length is not that impressive for his height, but for a guard, Adeola has the ideal wingspan. He has wide shoulders but not upright, should work on lift-ups. Good popping on triceps but not same for biceps. He has strong wrists and stiff elbows which allow him to absorb contact. He also uses his elbows very well to push his opponents while he attacking to the basket/rim/closeouts.
The width in his body in general is nice, his chest is full of muscle, the strength and flexibility in the core is magnificent for his age.
The back is thinner than the front of his body, but I think that’s not a huge minus for him. Because he can use the thinness of his back in his fluid athleticism. With his average explosiveness and vertical pop, Adeola should work on legs to gain strength. Especially, I think his legs could be more agile and stronger. Also, I am not a big fan of his knee alignment. It’s good on spot-up shooting but he should work on dribbling and defensive stance.
Adeola has good reverse-spin on live dribble situations thanks to his hip mobility. He can move north to south well but not good enough west to east both offensively and defensively.
In my opinion, the best thing about his physical tools is his improvement curve. Just watch from the U16 Orotava 2019 tournament to Szent Istvan Basketball Cup 2020. If you didn’t know Adeola’s face/attitude and jersey number, you would hardly know who he was. Within a year he showed an incredible improvement curve physically. He grew in terms of height but more importantly, his upper body was greatly strengthened and widened. Adeola has room to gain strength naturally but his love for the gym and work ethic leaves very positive marks on his physical development in my head.
The athleticism window is a positive and negative situation. He has pretty impressive smoothness on the offensive end and has shown some flashes where he made highlights dunks, blocks, etc. but not consistent. He has quick feet, nice hip mobility, change of direction, speed, body coordination, quick eye-hand coordination, chest-to-chest fight instincts, shoulder-to-shoulder cuts, reverse-spin ability by using his feet-hip coordination, pushing ability by using his body while he driving to the basket, physicality on the defensive end make him a versatile player on the offensive end and on the defensive end. However, lack of elite first step, vertical pop, kneecap strength limits his shooting, off the ball scoring, and closeout defense.
The conclusion is great for now and for my taste of basketball. Just thinking, the NBA’s way in the modern-era looks for the strong and long guards from the European pool, right? Just look at Deni Avdija, Vit Krejci, Abramo Canka, etc. Emmanuel Adeola is already 6-foot-5 at 16, has good strength, and has a lot of time to improve. From the athleticism side, he should add some explosiveness and guard tricks on his arsenal but quickness, mobility, and coordination are pretty interesting.
First and most important note, Emmanuel Adeola’s original position is point guard. But in all junior events, Adeola defended power forward and centers. In addition, the players who defended Adeola were power forward and centers. In other words, Adeola did not match up against players who are physically smaller, slow, and have bad athleticism skill-set. Played against players who are physically strong and tall like Izan Almansa, Henri Veesaar, Kingsley Onyenso, Ousmane Ndiaye.
Emmanuel Adeola is a versatile self-creator in my opinion. He does a very good job to create his position in pick-and-roll situations, one-on-one offense, and he manipulates the defense very well when his team runs off the ball sets on the weak side like flex warrior, double curls, back screen post, etc.
In one-on-one offense, Adeola sets up drives downhill. While he drives to the basket, he bends all of his body in the first two-three dribbles to avoid the steals or intense defense because if the defender shows lower stance with some peskiness, Adeola is out of control and loses the ball. He creates a shield around the by using his hips and left shoulder. Pushes the defender, turns from the shoulder, goes to the basket.
If help-defense comes from the weak side during one-on-one, Adeola can drive-and-dish, but he can also finish himself. He lifts his kneecaps well around the basket, he can jump in both one foot and two feet styles and finish by changing the ball hand in the air.
In pick-and-roll situations, Adeola can give the screen fake before attacking the basket. He can change direction and speed to exploit the defense’s weak/strong balance. However, Adeola is not an elite pick-and-roll scorer. Because if the opposite team uses double team on him behind the 3-points line, Adeola out of the control and loses the ball. He is not turnover prone against pesky defenses but also has room to grow as a handler in my opinion. But if the opposite team decides to coverage PnR by using ICE or drop, Adeola punishes it. The other reason why I do not think he is not an elite pick-and-roll scorer is his passing ability but I will explain this part later.
Being able to drive more efficiently from the left zone to the right of the attack, Adeola is not perfect in advanced, pro footwork techniques but can do a wide variety of crossovers. I think he is a master in his age class in and out, between the legs, behind the back, and UTEPs. When there is no huge intense defense, Adeola can create his own space by signing magnificent sequences on crossovers.
On the finishing side, Adeola is solid overall. He draws a lot of foul, can finish with both hands but right is better. He jumps very well, has a strong first step but the second step is not good in terms of giving momentum. Can finish in traffic and can finish through contact but I would like to see him be smarter here. Because he cannot use the glass very well when he tries to finish things in traffic.
Also, he is not a good finisher around the baseline due to lack of elite soft touch and using the glass abilities. In air coordination, second jump, good pop, chest-to-chest finishing, average smoothness, open court explosiveness, and length make him a versatile finisher but needs to learn using the glass and has to work on some wrist movements. He’s not afraid of contact, goes to the basket aggressively, does not force things when he goes to the basket and has a nice spin move going downhill.
He does a solid job at using his handles to attack the basket. That’s where his ballhandling abilities goes two different ways. Good and bad. Adeola can control the tempo, can change speed with the ball and his stance on the offensive end and also, he can protect the ball while goes to the basket. However, in stationary situations, Adeola’s system gives error due to lack of elite passing and court vision abilities. He opens his protect hands too much and the defender can steal the ball easily.
So, I believe Adeola should work on his passing ability. He is not a bad decision maker but he also does not have any basketball talent to create something for others. Good game instincts, has a huge feeling for the game, always fights but passing and vision are problematic. Has shown some flashes on drive-and-dish, coast-to-coast, and passing off-screen but inconsistent.
Showing a lot of effort as an off the ball player, Adeola is not someone who can make money by using bursts, shift his weight to the defender, and advanced cuts on off the ball plays. I would like to see him more active and aggressive in these games but his passion, effort, and good motor make up for it.
I have said that Emmanuel Adeola has improved a lot physically from 2019 to 2020. But in the meantime, I think Adeola lost the flexibility and comfort in shooting form. In 2019, when shooting, he bent his whole body better, was able to accelerate from his wrists to the ball, he had good alignment of his knees, he had a moderate jump ability, he had an above-the-head release and he was using his balance hand perfectly. The thing that changed the most in shooting form in 2020 was the angle he gave with the balance hand and the main strength.
In Adeola’s shot, there is no major problem in things such as elbow point, footwork, back bending, but the ball comes out too strong or too soft. His right hand is under the ball too much and balance hand shifts the momentum of the ball in a bad way, and I think these two things create a problem. But Adeola can hit free throws very well, he’s close to the basket and has balance.
Shooting versatility is not bad but also not good. Adeola can operate his mid-range jumpers after one or two dribbles, he can use the screen well to create his shooting angle, can hit spot-up 3-pointers from the corners, make good shooting choices generally and has excellent feel. However, despite the occasional fake on the shot, he lacks a degree of shiftiness and handling to use pump fakes. Cannot get the defender to bite. But at the end of the day, I have a reason to buy his shooting ability. Adeola is 16 years old basketball player and has no major problem with FTs. If you consider his ability a lot of draws inside the line, this is a huge plus, and also has shown flashes on pull-ups and spot-ups. But I think that he should fix his shooting stroke.
As I mentioned at first, Adeola played against bigs like Izan Almansa, Henri Veesaar, Ousmane Ndiaye, Kiir Kiir Chol Deng, Dick Rutatika Sano, etc. and he really defended them well. I do not think he will guard PFs and Cs in the future at the higher levels but he already has switchability. Fitting for switch defense as a guard means having a touchstone in the NBA’s defensive principles around the perimeter, I think.
Playing with high-effort, Adeola has some good flashes on defensive techniques in one-on-one situations. Has a good defensive stance in my opinion. Many prospects have the bad habit of standing too far upright in their stance but Adeola does not. He bends his lower body very well, heels touching the ground but he can shift his weight forward, drop his knees and react quickly to the ballhandler’s decisions. The right hand is always up and he pushes the ball/the ballhandler’s body by using his left hand. He turns his left or right easily thanks to his body coordination and good physical tools.
Sometimes he can be beaten against the ballhandlers who are quicker than him, but thanks to his ability to anticipate the drive zone of his opponent, he can slide his body to that area and come to the table with deflections.
Solid pick-and-roll defender, comes with effort, nice footwork at the point of attack. Shooting the gap well, Adeola can be a pesky defender on the ballhandler after the screen. Especially when the ballhandler grabs the ball, Adeola shifts his whole body weight on his opponent in a controlled manner, raises both hands and covers all angles of his opponent.
A smart team defender, Adeola does a good job talking on defense, has good awareness, sees what is happening on the weak side or the ball side, always has one hand up, average level anticipation but he is not a good off the ball defender yet. He runs around the screens but sometimes biting by the strong side plays too much and loses his man. Not a fan of his tagging and recovering. He has room to grow here in my opinion.
He is not a good shot blocker but does a really nice job using his length to contest shots with good timing. Adeola does an average job rotating into the paint from the perimeter and shows a lot of effort here but is inconsistent. Has shown some flashes where he blocked bigger guys comes from the offense’s back.
He is good at closeouts. Emmanuel Adeola is sometimes biting by his opponents’ pump fake in closeouts, but in such positions, he can quickly turn to his opponents with hip turns by throwing one foot left/right and can contest their shots. When players in closeouts don’t fake and shoot, Adeola runs fast in the air with one hand and leaps well, not giving his opponents a good angle.
His transition defense is not good in my opinion. He gambles a lot in these situations, I mean, he does not run to his team’s basket, he tries to steal the ball but usually loses this gamble.
Rebounding is a critical plus for him. Because, as you know, the ability of ballhandlers to rebound today increases the team’s attack pace a lot. That is why a player who is fast in the open court like Adeola can finish his position and can get the rebound is a big plus. While Adeola rebounds the ball, he can use his length, game senses, and leaps well and starts offense quickly.
Emmanuel Adeola has good size and frame, plays with his BBIQ, has decent shooting, does a little bit of everything on the defensive end and he is a definitely great person, has a good work ethic, off-court life and family bond.
All these things are good but I have some question marks about his projection. Adeola is only 16 years old but is showing signs in many areas. I think he can use his abilities at higher levels because he physically has space. However, if the growth curve stops for two to three years, things could go bad. This is true for every prospect, but I think Adeola’s potential and what he has demonstrated so far puts him in a different place in this regard. Italy is a good place for players like him not to be “pronto”. His performance at Trapani this year may give an excellent signal for his projection. Regardless, he has the potential to become one of the most valuable international prospects for the 2023 NBA Draft, and that’s exciting.