Measuring in at 610 with shoes on and sporting a 71 wingspan, Kanter wasnt the tallest player on the floor, but his 260-pound frame afforded him a ton of success on the block. Hes not a great athlete by any standards, though he flashes some explosiveness from time to time, but uses his body as well as any player youll see on the high school level. He exceptionally good at using leverage, is extremely patient, wont hesitate to initiate contact, and shows outstanding hands.
When Kanter gets the ball in the post off an entry pass or offensive rebound, hes very good finding angles to create clean looks for himself at the basket. Able to establish deep position and showing an array of drop step moves and little pivots, Kanter has a knack for taking what the defense gives him and doing exactly what he needs to get the job done. Savvy beyond his years, Kanter excels at the rim for a player without outstanding athleticism.
Kanters offensive game appears to have expanded from his days with Fenerbahce. In addition to the incredible feel for scoring in the post that caught the attention of scouts years ago, hes now capable of stepping to out the high-post and knocking down shots with solid consistency. His shot is on the flat side, but he showed range out to the college three-point line and could develop into a very reliable pick-and-pop threat.
Defensively, Kanter had some excellent possessions in practice, coming up with some blocks by being a step ahead of the play and contesting shots with his positioning, rather than his athleticism. His body helps him fight for position on the block, and his physical nature allowed him to deny penetration when his man attempted to take him off the dribble. Once the shot goes up, Kanter does a nice job of sealing off his man and pursuing the ball. Though his ability to rebound outside of his area wasnt as apparent as it was in junior play, hes still, more often than not, the player coming down with the ball in a crowd.
On top of his excellent skill level, Kanter impressed with his intangibles as well. Hes the type of quiet, competitive player that simply goes about his business without getting frustrated at officials or letting a few bad possessions throw off his game. The fact that he didnt start the Hoop Summit game didnt seem to faze him, as he could be seen enthusiastically supporting his team from the bench.
Clearly, theres a lot to like about what Kanter can bring to a team with both his play and demeanor. With questions about his eligibility still making the rounds, it seems safe to say that if and when Kanter does suit up for Coach Calipari, hell be a force to be reckoned with on the NCAA level. His play in Portland captured the attention of the NBA community, and hell be a player to keep an eye on moving towards the 2011 draft.
Nikola Mirotic (Montenegro/Spain), 610, Forward, Faymasa Palencia (LEB Gold, Spain)
It was clear all week that Mirotics time playing with Faymasa Palencia of the very competitive LEB-Gold league in Spain has served him extremely well. He showed the savvy of a veteran operating in half court sets, doing a good job finding the soft spots in the zone the World Select Team worked on each practice, made some nice touch passes in the paint, and showed great timing when cutting to the basket. On the whole, the level of polish Mirotic showed in his game was impressive, especially considering his age.
Still capable of doing damage around the basket as he did at the junior level, Mirotic no longer enjoys the size advantage and skill advantage that allowed him to dominate the NIJT, but has compensated by making some notable strides in his game. Hes clearly improved his jump shot, showing the ability to step out and knock down shots from near NBA-range. He still struggles to put the ball on the floor to score, especially with his left hand, but he doesnt force much either. If Mirotic can shore up his ball-handling ability, he could have excellent potential offensively as face-up power forward.
Lacking a degree of explosiveness, Mirotic is a smart defender and uses his size and length well in the passing lanes and on the glass, but lacks the tools to be too effective in one-on-one situations. He plays well within a team concept and doesnt take many risks, but will need to continue developing his frame to ready himself for the more athletic players hes likely to run into the ACB and possibly the NBA in the next few years.
Mirotics size and budding perimeter skills make him an intriguing draft prospect. While his athleticism will certainly be considered a limitation to some degree, his skill level continues to improve, and by the time he decides to declare, could put him in position to garner a selection. If and when hell be selected will have a lot to do with what kind of opportunities hell have to improve. Mirotic may not get a shot to play with Real Madrid next season, but his recently acquired Spanish passport and the possibility that he could be loaned to another team in the ACB both bode well for his future development.
Dejan Musli , 70.5, Center, FMP Zeleznik (Serbia)
After tipping the scales at 260 the last time we checked in on him, hes dropped another 20 pounds and looks substantially leaner. Almost skinny at this point, Musli still isnt a great athlete, though he moves a bit better than he did in the past. Muslis sheer size and length are clearly assets, but hell need to show that he can continue to add strength to build on the improvements hes already made to his physique.
Despite his lack of bulk compared to some of his teammates, Musli fought hard for position on the block all week long. Though he had a hard time establishing deep position, he had no trouble getting his hook shot off when he did receive an entry pass. His consistency still isnt ideal yet, but he shows solid touch and the extension he gets on his release makes his hook very difficult to defend. His size allows him to be a fairly effective finisher, and he isnt afraid to initiate contact when he receives the ball at the rim, but isnt always strong enough to create a good opportunity for himself.
When he steps away from the basket, Musli has an extremely mechanical jump shot. His form lacks fluidity and doesnt yield consistent results. His size gives him some upside offensively, but hell need to learn to exploit it effectively by becoming more consistent.
Defensively, Musli did a solid job contesting shots, but his lack of physical strength hurt him against the likes of Enes Kanter and Jared Sullinger. Hell fight hard to prevent his man from getting position on the block, but he has a hard time keeping up with quicker and stronger players when they look to take him to the basket. His length helps him compensate for that to a large degree, but his ability to add weight will limit his defensive potential.
With both of FMP Zelezniks centers (Miroslav Radjulica and Peja Samardziski) likely moving onto bigger clubs this summer, Musli will have an opportunity to see substantial minutes next season in the Adriatic League and possibly in European competition. Still extremely young, Musli has been on the NBA radar for years and will continue to do so until he decides to enter the draft. Not quite as gifted athletically as some of his NCAA counterparts, NBA teams will likely want to see how Musli produces in Serbia first before they make any long-term judgments about his NBA potential.
Meyers Leonard, 70, Center, Committed to Illinois
Headed to Illinois this fall, Leonard flashes some tools on the offensive end, including soft touch and nice range on his jumper as well as the ability to play well above the rim. He struggles with contact at this point, and still needs to develop his toughness, aggressiveness and back to the basket game, but runs the floor well, and looks to dunk as often as possible at the rim two things that will help him immensely at the next level if hes coupled with a good point guard. His defensive presence leaves a bit to be desired as it stands, but he has all the physical tools to become an impact player if he improves his motor and decides to be more physical on both ends of the floor. Not a threat to do too much scoring one-on-one and looking a bit lost at times during the scrimmages this week, Leonard is an intriguing long term prospect whose size and defensive potential make him a player to keep an eye on from an NBA perspective.
Jason Cadee (Australia), 62, Point Guard, Australian Institute of Sport
When he looks to score, Cadee shows a smooth stroke that makes him a threat to hit the three. Lacking the first step to get to the rim in one-on-one situations, Cadee picks and chooses his spots, often using his defenders momentum to get into the lane, where hes always looking for the open man. Lacking the leaping ability and strength to finish at the rim at a high rate, Cadee is a capable floor general who could become a name to look out for down the road in International play, but has much to prove still regarding his long-term potential.
Mael Lebrun (France), 65.5, Small Forward, Entente Orleans (Euroleague)
Looking more comfortable playing a complementary role in this setting, LeBrun did a nice job defensively and made some smart plays on the offensive end, but seemed to struggle with his confidence from the perimeter and just wasnt looking to score. He looked capable of slashing to the basket when he put the ball on the floor, but had a hard time getting his shot to fall, looking a bit erratic with his follow through from beyond the arc. He flashed some athleticism finishing at the rim, and isnt the type of player that is looking to stand out in an All-Star setting. Moving forward, LeBrun could develop into a quality complementary player, especially if he is able to shore up his jumper and receive consistent minutes in Pro A France.
Sui Ran, 6-4, Shooting Guard (China)
Rob Loe (New Zealand), 611.5, Center, JTB/Breakers (New Zealand)
Duje Dukan (Croatia), 68 Small Forward, Committed to Wisconsin
Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson]