The College Basketball season begins this Monday, November 7. For many players, this is an important year, a year that should determine their place in the eyes of NBA scouts and therefore shape their future in relation to the Big League. Surprises, counter-performances, explosions, injuries… Anything can happen in the coming months. From expert Mike Schmitz to prospect evaluation enthusiasts, the scouting world will be watching each player’s every move to try to define their profile and ultimately lend themselves to the projection game for the 2023 NBA draft and their long-term future in the NBA. The CCS Scouting Squad is no exception to this rule and begins its season by offering you three specific prospects. Three stars that clearly stand out from the rest of the vintage. Fun fact: nobody goes to college. (source: spox.com)
Birthday : January 4, 2004 – class : Freshman
clubs: Boulogne-Levallois – Work : Pivot
Cut : 224 cm – Weight: 95kg – Wingspan: 244 cm
And if we, French, are held for the first time in the history of the number 1 of the Draft? Here is the full challenge of the season in France. The eyes of the whole world are on Frenchie with crazy proportions. If questions can remain after the latter chose the option to join Boulogne-Levallois instead of continuing his ascent to ASVEL, it is clear that this option seems to be the right one. More minutes and more freedom to express his qualities, this is what coach Vincent Collet offered him and the whole world can benefit from it. In fact, after two exhibition matches against Ignite Team where the French player shines 36 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks average, Americans fell into an absolutely maniacal passion for the prospect. The stars of the league and especially the King LeBron James personally full of praise for the Mets giant. The NBA, meanwhile, has made up its mind buy the rights to the Ile-de-France group to spread his exploits. This longing is due to the qualities of the prospect. A size-mobility combo which makes it a unique player.
The first thing that jumps out when you see Victor Wembanyama on a court is his deterrence ability opposing players. His amazing wingspan allowing him multiply counter at high altitude and therefore can easily project himself what impact he will have once he makes it to the big leagues. However, from the top of his 2m24, the French should be struggling on the edge and with the support speed. Unfortunately for his opponents, this is not the case. East Wembanyama highly mobile and moves better than most interiors. So it’s hard to get it from behind. This trait alone could make him a top prospect of his generation, but just as nature sometimes does good things, Victor also has a awesome offensive tackle. The Mets pivot really can draw long distances with high efficiency. If he hasn’t really dropped the picks yet, he makes an offer the roll option or the pop option from afar. We even saw him dribble and driver in the circle once. How is it possible to defend a player of this size who can offer so much offensively?
Starting with this premise, it’s hard to imagine Victor Wembanyama slipping past the classification of the next Draft. Only one injury could thwart the French’s plans. However, it will be necessary to remain attentive on this last point, especially after what Chet Holmgren experienced in the off-season.
Birthday : February 3, 2004 – class : Freshman
University : Ignite Team (G-League) – Work : Chief
Cut : 193 cm – Weight: 88kg – Wingspan: 206 cm
Scoot Henderson was intended to be more than the consolation prize. The native leader of Marietta in Georgia seems to challenge (slightly) the status of n ° 1 of the 2023 NBA Draft with the French extraterrestrial. Just a little bit, it’s shocking if you look at the energy that Wembanyama evokes. Already noticed (and noticeable) in high-school with the junior season on 32 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists average per game, the Ignite Team player wowed scouts last season in just four G-League games. Surrounded by prospects like Jaden Hardy, Marjon Beauchamps or Dyson Daniels, all in line for the first round of the 2022 Draft, Henderson established as the team’s best hope.
But then, what makes Scoot Henderson so special? He is an exceptional athlete with a natural explosiveness is rare that it is difficult to find comparisons. Most scouts are mentioning names like Derrick Rose before the injury or Ja Morant. That’s all. Powerful, fast, amazing vertical rebound, amazing change of direction and speed… A supersonic guard in short. But Scoot Henderson, not only physical, but also one great manager. If his passing game is underrated, he showed throughout last season that he is capable of being an absolutely incredible tackle running back. Game play, basketball IQ, passing quality, pick and roll management… His mastery of the game, of times and spaces, really seems unusual.. Scoot Henderson is also a worker. His game is on pull it analysts frowned, but the boy worked hard this summer and offered us real improvement in this area in the preseason meetings.
Without a doubt, Scoot Henderson is a truly extraordinary talent who owes the second place announced in Draft 2023 only to the presence of UFO Victor Wembanyama. In the final drafts, he will definitely be number 1 in his vintage. This season, we expect real confirmation from him with particular attention being paid to his outside shooting and his defense. From the mind to the body through basketball IQ, Scoot Henderson has everything to succeed and become a future franchise player, No. 1 point guard and first offensive option.
Birthday : January 30, 2003 – class : Freshman
University : Overtime Elite – Work : Playmaker / Fullback (#1)
Cut : 201 cm – Weight: 87kg – Wingspan: 206 cm
If the first two spots of the 2023 draft seem settled and reserved for the two phenomena shown above, the spots for the lottery are more contested and a good ten prospects can claim the 3rd spot in this draft. However, one name stands out slightly from the rest with a view to completing the podium behind Wembanyama and Henderson: this is Amen Thompson. Twin brother of Ausar Thompson (who is also part of this cuvée and expected instead of at the end of the lottery), Amen is changing the Overtime Elite program, a league created just a year ago to offer an alternative to the traditional school (high school/university) curriculum and the G-League Ignite. After dominating his junior year in high school with an average of 20.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists average per game, Amen decided to join the Overtime Elite program instead of going the university route.
While OTE’s difficulty and level of competition is often debated, Thompson’s talent is unquestionable. Combo guard at over two meters has impressive athletic qualitiesAmen Thompson thrills everyone watching its explosion and its verticality. This slasher profile is a very good driver with a high level of dribbling quality which, along with his speed, allows him to eliminate many of his defenders with ease. There were some noticeable passes, particularly in his last matches (during the OTE Pro Day Scrimmage 2022 for example) but we think the player is a scorer before a passer. A recurring problem for many high-level scorers who dominate the youth categories, Thompson’s defense is erratic. The physical and athletic tools are there (wingspan of 2m06, honest lateral mobility) but involvement is often lacking and Amen sometimes seems completely disinterested in this part of the field. As far as shooting is concerned, this is probably the player’s biggest project. The mechanics, without becoming a disaster, can still be improved (despite the improvement between last season and the first games seen this season) and the percentages are not there.
As we know, the first two names mentioned by Adam Silver in June 2023 should come from Betclic Elite and the G-League. But while many NCAA prospects could take the 3rd draft pick, Amen Thompson seems to be holding the line for now. A clearly above average athlete and a lethal scorer if given a little scope to gain speed. This year, let’s take a closer look at the defensive efforts but especially the shooting progress. If a player wants to be drafted on the podium and have a prominent place on an NBA team for a long time, he must show progress in his shot, whether in the pull up or catch&shoot and both in the mid-range and in 3pts.
These three players are just a small portion of the prospects who will present themselves for the 2023 draft. And if for Victor and Scoot, their selection in the top spot of the draft is in little doubt, Amen will have to show progress if he wants to lock in 3rd place and complete this podium. Still, the battle for a spot at the top of the draft seems more open than in previous seasons. Nick Smith Jr, Cam Whitmore, Dariq Whitehead, Keyonte George, Jarace Walker and even Ausar Thompson… There are many contenders for a spot in the lottery, which promises an exciting scouting season!