Posted On: 03/28/18 12:36 PM
More so than ever these days, coaches recruit on potential. Many towering but raw and rough around the edges 6-foot-10+ prospects have an easier time earning scholarship offers than gritty, veteran guards who’ve surpassed the 2,000 point milestone.
It’s simply indicative of how sought after those rim protectors and space eaters are at the next level. We all remember Hasheem Thabeet, a 7-foot-3 Tanzanian Center who signed with UConn during a major rebuilding year. Thabeet, your quintessential work in progress and lackadaisical defensively at times, had a ways to go. He was offensively inept at times and taxed the patience of since-retired head coach Jim Calhoun, a high strung and no-nonsense taskmasker.
During his junior season, Thabeet had improved incrementally. He was the country’s most menacing shot-blocker and piled up a handful of double doubles on the season. While Thabeet was projected to be a serviceable pro after being selected second overall in the 2009 NBA draft, he’s since faded into obscurity.
Still, where there is upside there is promise. We look at some of the Florida area and beyond’s unsung and unknown bigs, guys who can potentially thrive if developed correctly.
Emmanuel Ndatuje, Inspire Prep
While he’s still learning the intricacies of the post game and developing a back to the back to the bucket presence, Ndatuje offers a wealth of potential. He’s got a good feel for the game and can stick shots from outside the key, stretching defenders back about 16-feet. He creates mismatch difficulties by taking bigger players away from the paint with his feathery touch.
He’s worked at incorporating a face-up game, which would be a necessity since he’s got the ability to put it on the deck and pass better than most his size. With added physicality and the development of an interior skill set will come an increase in stock for the Class of 2020 prospect.
Karim Coulibaly, Scotland Campus Sports
Versatility is king for Coulibaly, who has already registered his presence on the high major scales. He averaged a double double since he was a freshman in high school in Maryland. While he still needs to shed some of the feast or famine tendencies of his game, his most unique factor is his face-up game and ability to stick straight away 3-pointers. Tough around the rim at 6-foot-9.
Abraham Makumator, Neumann High
With a 7-foot-1 and 235-pound frame and a wowing 7-foot-6 wingspan, Makumator is a forgotten about recruit who programs are beginning to acquire about. Makumator has the athleticism to play in an uptempo, go-go attack as he runs the floor rather well for a big.
He averaged 13 points and 14 rebounds this past season, establishing himself as a high percentage threat who could finish lobs and crunch dunks with relative ease. Butler, Valpo, and Evansville have expressed interest.
Yuot Gai, Capital Christian Academy
A long and athletic 6-foot-11 forward, Gai has footwork, attacking ability, and a fluid shot. He’s still learning how to steadily score away from the ball and off the ball. He’s additionally developed a significant 3-point stroke and quick release.
While the Australia native is still adapting to the American game, he’s got the attributes to be a very enticing prospect. Conventional wisdom tells us the Class of 2018 forward will elect for a post-graduate year.
Jamille Reynolds, Lakewood
While he’s still a bit rough around the edges as far as using his size on every possession, few in Florida have ascended the ranks like Reynolds has these past few months. After putting up numbers that were rather pedestrian to begin the season, Reynolds had a 21-point game against Booker.
He’s still young and taking baby steps. If he embraces a sustainable focus, spends the summer in the weight room and on a competitive AAU slate, he’s a no-brainer high major prospect.
Alex Diaz, Arlington Country Day
The 6-foot-10 post graduate from Colombia proved to be a fast learner during his lone season in America. While he was flanked by other bigs, Diaz was the only true big capable of playing strictly in the trenches this season.
His shot blocking and productive, high percentage scoring showed promise at the now defunct ACD. Once one of the nation’s traditionally potent prep programs under the late and legendary Rex Morgan, ACD shut down unexpectedly a few months ago.
Farhad Tarjali, DME Academy
A 6-foot-6 3/4, Tarjali has dealt with a bit of adversity this season. He’s constantly been tasked with guarding players in the post. While offensively he can knock down shots with consistently and open up space for his shot, he’s got upside for his defensive tenacity. He’s got some dog in him and isn’t afraid to take charges or sprawl to the floor for a 50-50 ball.
Ralph Philippe-Fabius, DME Academy
While he’s really on a big on a small court, you have to love this kid’s game. The 6-foot-7, Class of 2020 forward is bouncy and has shown an adeptness at blocking shots with either hand. He’s improved tremendously as an ambidextrous passer and finisher.
As a class of 2022 prospect, the Canada-bred (he’s from Saint-Hubert in Quebec) Philippe Fabius is so ahead of his time. There is plenty of room for growth and opportunity for improvement in the hyper competitive SIAA.