Grind Session’s Up And Coming: 7-footers

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Posted On: 01/3/18 5:04 PM

While highly sought after and nationally known recruits such as Jordan Brown of Prolific Prep (CA) and Charles Bassey of Aspire Academy (KY) headline several Grind Session events this season, many once raw and unheralded recruits are beginning to flourish.

The old, oft-used adage about not being able to teach height certainly has unique resonance here. There has long been a demand for 7-footers, especially at the high-stakes prep level and in national tournaments of Grind Session’s caliber.

Naturally, high school big men tend to develop later than guards. More so at the high school level, bigs encounter difficulty scoring the ball between a defender and the basket. With Grind Session featuring several more polished 7-footers and a few work-in-progress prospects with intriguing upside, we look at some of the more under the radar 7-footers:

Assane Diouf, DME Academy

As a wide-bodied 7-foot-1 Center, the Class of 2019 Diouf has shown the potential to be a menacing rim protector. He’s already adapted to the niceties of interior defense, with his shot blocking presence being recognized during Hoop Exchange’s All-American Jamboree in Apopka, Fla, back in October.

While he certainly has the size and mobility and intimidation factor working in his favor, a stable back to the rim game and incorporation of a post game would enable his recruitment to skyrocket. He’s only a junior and there’s plenty of room for improvement. Diouf is averaging 8.3 points, and a team-best 3.1 blocks. With a 7-foot-7 wingspan and the innate physicality to keep guards out of the post, Diouf changes, influences, and alters the trajectory of countless shots inside.

Aristide “Ari” Boya, Scotland Campus Sports

The 7-foot-1 Center is one of the best players in the country you’ve never heard about. With Boya committing to Bradley following his sophomore campaign (then at Calusa Prep in Miami), he may wind up being the program’s best player since Hershey Hawkins.

Boya is a true interior player, with a post game and bouncy athleticism that enables him to finish high percentage looks with two-handed dunks. He’s become more comfortable at putting the ball on the floor as a one dribble, attack the rim threat. A wowing, nine-block performance during SCS’ victory over IMG Academy during the National Prep Showcase is indicative of the impact Boya has on a game defensively.

Boya is not a limited offensive threat, either. With his fleet of foot and ability to get open looks and create his own shot, the Cameroon native has the potential to be a Top-50 player.

Ousmane Ndim, Aspire Academy

The 7-foot Center has the interior physicality and the build that makes him a capable supplementary threat to highly-lauded 6-foot-10 forward Charles Bassey. While a majority of Ndim’s scoring comes on hustle points– shots at point blank, putbacks, dunks–he’s become more adept at posting up and utilizing his size to his advantage in the one-on-one game.

Still a bit raw offensively, Ndim has the opportunity to be an instant impact player at Long Island University-Brooklyn next year. He’ll be one of the lone 7-footers in a guard-laden Northeast Conference (NEC).

David Appelgren, NTSI Orlando

International talent has an evolving post game and is proficient at finishing around the rim. Has displayed a good feel for the pick and roll game and also a knack for hitting outside shots. At 7-foot-1 and 230 pounds, the Class of 2018 forward/center has the unique blend of size and skill set to elicit countless matchup headaches. Appelgren can finish with either hand on the drive and keeps defenders chasing with his ability to quickly outlet the ball fresh off a defensive rebound.