U17M Best prospects by position: Centers
Center position was probably the most difficult position to judge in this year’s FIBA U17 World Championship in Zaragoza. With the perimeter players dominating the Tournament, the life of the Big guys was full of obstacles. That fact though didn’t prevent some players to really stand out with their performances, with some of them showing a lot of promise for the future. Scoutbasketball singled out the Top-5 Centers of the Tournament.
1.- Ragip Atar - Center 2.10 99' Turkey (Banvit BK)High Energy center with good size, who plays with a lot of passion. He has a lot of ups and downs in a game though. He has a good body structure, but he needs to add some muscle. His Wingspan is average. He is quick for his size, but not explosive. Lives in the paint and has some moves with his back to the basket, with a nice right hook. He mostly turns on his left shoulder though and doesn’t have many counter moves yet. Possesses soft hands and can finish through contact, but has problems finishing at the rim with his left hand. Can play the Pick and Roll at an acceptable rate, but he must learn to roll harder and deeper to the basket after he sets a screen. His shooting mechanics aren’t bad and has the potential to add a mid-range shot to his repertoire if he continues working, but for now he mostly avoids shooting beyond 6 feet. He is a good defensive rebounder, but at times he forgets to box out, and also a relentless offensive rebounder, who scores a lot of his points on put-backs. He is a below average passer and his court vision is questionable. He holds his ground on Post defense and not afraid of contact. He is a good shot-blocker and knows the law of verticality, causing problems to opponents who drive to the basket. At the same time his lateral quickness is average at best and has problems guarding the Pick and Roll because of that.
2.- Francisco Caffaro - Center 2.12 00' Argentina (Atletico Trebolense) Talented but raw center with great potential. He has nice size and great wingspan for his position. He plays with a lot of emotion and has a competitive nature, which can be a double edge sword at times. He establishes deep position in the Post and can’t be bullied easily. He has some moves with his back to the basket, highlighted by a nice right hook-shot, but his footwork isn’t there yet. He loves contact and can finish at the rim through it. His playing style helps him draw a lot of fouls. He moves well without the ball. He runs the floor at a very good rate for his size and position. Has no mid-range game for the time being. His Shooting mechanics aren’t bad, but he has to change his shooting release, since he has the tendency to bring the ball in front of his eyes when he shoots. Sets good screens and rolls hard to the basket, and has the potential to become good in Pick And Roll Situations in the future. Below average passer with a mediocre court vision, but this is also a result of his lack of experience, since he started playing basketball just two years ago. His rebounding numbers are bad for a center. He is a better offensive rebounder than a defensive rebounder for now, mainly because he is more motivated on offense. Has the tendency to forget to box out his opponent. His length helps him alter a lot of shots. Loses concentration on Defense and as a result he is late as a second defender. His lateral quickness is limited and has problems defending the Pick and Roll.
3.- Ahmad Khalaf - Center 2.06 99' Egypt (Basquet Manresa) Skillful big with a really mature game for his age. He is a little undersized for the next level, but has a big body and a good wingspan to make up for it. He is just an OK athlete for the next level. He is very mobile and agile for his size, with a high basketball I.Q. He has developed a really impressive game in the Post considering his age. He can turn from either shoulder and score with either hand. Knows how to establish position and use his body in the Post. His FT% is bad, but his shooting mechanics and touch around the basket show that he can become a threat from mid-range. He runs the floor well. He is a double-double machine. Already an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor thanks to his good instincts and great feel for positioning. He can play the Pick And Roll at an acceptable level, but he doesn’t always take good decisions after he receives the ball from his teammate. He has a nice court vision, but at times he makes bad passes. Great Shot-blocker, mainly thanks to his timing and instincts. Very good weak side defender. Has problems defending the Pick and Roll because his lateral quickness isn’t there yet.
4.- Ahmet Duran - Center 2.06 99' Turkey (Fenerbahce SK) Undersized center with a really high basketball I.Q. He has a strong body and not afraid of contact on both ends of the floor. He curries some baby fat though that he needs to lose to be able to play at the next level. He is a below average athlete and must also improve his conditioning. He has nice footwork with his back to the basket. Possesses a variety of moves in the post and can turn from either shoulder. At the same time though he doesn’t always establish position down low and receives the ball a few feet further from the basket than he should, which makes him dribble 1-2 more times than necessary before he makes his move. He knows how to move without the ball and seems like he is always in the right place at the right time. He knows how to use his body to draw fouls. Terrific passer out of the double team thanks to his great court vision. Excellent rebounder, especially on the offensive end where he is relentless and knows how to position himself to have an advantage. His shot selection needs work and the same applies to his FG%. Bad free throw shooter, although his shooting mechanics aren’t terrible, just inconsistent. He is a good Low Post defender, knowing how to use his body. His lack of athleticism and the fact that he is undersized make it really difficult for him to become a rim protector. He lacks lateral quickness, which limits him when he defends the Pick and Roll.
5.- Rongzhen Zhu - Center 2.10 99' China (Shandong FB) Mobile big with solid athleticism and length. He has great size for a center. He needs to add some muscle to his body because his frame is really thin. He runs the floor extremely well for his size. He hasn’t developed a back to the basket game yet and he easy to read because he almost always turn to his left shoulder. He is mostly a face up player for now. Most of his points come from offensive rebounds or from passes of his teammates. He moves well without the ball. He has shown the ability to finish at the rim with either hand, but he has problems finishing through contact because of his thin frame. His shooting selection is questionable. He sets good screens on Pick and Roll situations and rolls fast to the basket. Very good rebounder, especially on the offensive end. He has shown some promise as a passer, but for now is average on than aspect of the game. He is good but not great low post defender, mainly because stronger opponents can push him back. He knows how to use his size and length to block shots, but at the same time he commits a lot of fouls. He can guard the Pick and Roll at an acceptable level thanks to his size, mobility and average lateral quickness. He loses his concentration when he defends a player on the weak side.
By Stefanos Makris and Ramon Carbonell