adidas Nations: Top International Prospects
The African team featured its best group of talent ever at this event, competing in every game and winning third place. Here is a look at the top international talent from adidas Nations.
Sidy Ndir: 6-2, 180, PG, West Coast Academy, HS Senior, 1995
Ndir is a long, quick, left-handed point guard with a lot of moxie. In addition, he’s a high-level athlete who can really shoot it from 3-point land. He is an awkward, yet high-level ball handler, and is smooth on his drives to the basket.
In order to take his game to the next level, Ndir needs to become more physical to take full advantage of his athleticism. Leg strength needs to be a focus for him, as well as his on-ball defense. If he does that and improves upon his decision-making skills, he has a bright future. Born and raised in Paris, his parents are from Senegal. Ndir was the top point guard prospect of anyone in the entire Nations event (college players included) and figures to be a top-20 high school senior.
Abdoulaye Ndoye: 6-10, 220, PF, Senegal, 1995
Thanks to his huge 7-foot-6 (maybe longer) wingspan, Ndoye is a potential draft pick in a few years. Unfortunately, he injured his ankle and didn’t play much at Nations. He plans to sign with a pro team in France. He can really block shots, and even shoot the triple at times. If he had started playing earlier, he could have developed into a small forward, due to his foot speed. He’s been playing basketball for only three years.
Pape Diatta: 6-7, 210, SF, The Rock HS (FL), Senegal, 1994
Diatta grew up as a point guard, and that ability at his size is very impressive. A 6-foot-7 wing who can really handle the ball, while playing/defending three different spots on the floor. His poise and high basketball IQ helps make up for a lack of elite-level athleticism, but sometimes, he’ll dribble a bit too much.
He can play the pick and roll well, shooting 3s behind the screen, finding the big man, or taking it to the rim himself. He is an outstanding 3-point shooter, both off the dribble and spotting up. He would look even better on a college team where he is not asked to be the go-to guy and to create every time. Full name: Pape Sadia Ndiaye Diatta.
Michael Nzei: 6-7, 200, SF/PF, Our Savior Nigeria, 1995
Nzei is a freak athlete -- the most explosive of the African team. One moment, he was at half court; the next moment, he was dunking. He’s an undersized combo forward (mostly playing at the 4), but he played with big heart. He has and amazing feel for rebounds, where he led the tournament (he dunked over Myles Turner on one of them). He needs to work on his handle and shooting, because he will soon face better athletes, but he has an unbelievable motor.
Mehdy Ngouama: 6-0, 180, PG, France, 1995
Ngouama is a score-first point guard with the ability to distribute. He’s crazy quick, but he still needs to make a lot of improvements -- from his ball handling to his body. The biggest project, though, will be to overhaul his jumper -- he needs to work on his form and change the mechanics. If he becomes a reliable shooter, then highways will open up for him to drive to the basket. He has a nice teardrop shot (that he doesn’t use as much as he should) and he’s terrific in the open court. He had a great dunk in the 3-on-3 drill.
His game is in the mold of Peyton Siva. He’s similarly fearless and tenacious defensively, but he’s not quite the same leader, at least not yet. He wants to play college ball eventually, but Ngouama is staying in in France one more year, where he’ll play on the same team as Benjamin Sene. The Paris native already has 7-8 years of experience. His father is from Congo and his mother is Algerian.
Cheikna Dembele: 6-9, PF/C, Mali, 1996
Dembele has the highest ceiling of any prospect on the African team. He really turned around the game against Turner and Lyles with his presence in the paint. He possesses a solid physical frame and elite-level athleticism. Offensively, he’s very rough right now, but he’s only being playing basketball for one year. You can tell he understand the game and plays really hard.
He might have been the best big man in the tournament in terms of pick-and-roll defense, showing hard and edging well on opposing point guards. Think of Dembele as a rough rock right now who could become a diamond. He’ll stay one more year in Senegal.
Jonah Bolden: 6-8, Forward, Australia, 1996
There was a lot of hype surrounding the very athletic Bolden after last year's adidas Nations. He was, once again, the best player for Australia in this tournament, but he didn’t step up his game enough to show his vast potential. He has everything to become a great player, but he really struggled when other teams put pressure and threw bodies at him. He should focus on developing his long-range shooting. The skillset is there. The aggressiveness and toughness, though? Not quite yet. One year at Findlay will be extremely beneficial for his growth.
Keanu Pinder: 6-6, Forward, Australia, 1995
Pinder is painfully skinny right now, but he has a great frame to develop into a wing. He was one of the best players on the Australian team. Don’t let the baby face fool you -- he had some really nice finishes around the rim and excellent form on his shot. He should become a really good player once he puts on some muscle. Until then, he’s an NCAA mid-major prospect for now.
Braian Rodas: 6-5, SF, Colombia, 1994
Rodas really struggled with his shooting percentages during the tournament, but he showed good athleticism. He particularly stood out on defense, where he had no problem taking on the other team’s best player. He’s still extremely skinny and needs to add a lot of strength. He doesn’t have a broken jumper or anything – he should be judged in a context where he is not the only offensive threat on his team. He still averaged almost 16 per game.
Andrey Desyatnikov: 7-2, Russia. Jose Rivadeneira: 7-0, Colombia
Both bigs were more noticeable for their height than their impact on the games. However, each player would certainly benefit from an additional 40-50 pounds of muscle. They have good hands and footwork, but were too easily pushed around by 6-8, 230-pound players.
I played 2-on-2 with Keanu Pinder late last year, good to see him getting some recognition in an international scale.
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