With Luka Doncic showing his potential to burst through the Association in preseason, here at Basketball Society we wold like to touch on five international players that you probably have never heard of.
But, trust this, you will know their names soon enough.
Yago Dos Santos (Brazil)
NBA Draft Eligibility: 2021
The Brazilian guard, widely regarded as the Brazilian Isaiah Thomas standing at 5’10, is a natural scoring assassin. But his knack for passing the ball is what makes the 19 year old guard such an elite point guard. He lead the Adidas National Tournament in assists per game (5.8). Scoring 21.3 ppg with 2.5 steals per game, Santos was able to put everybody on notice that he’s coming!
He is an above average defender for his size and his energy gives off similar sentiment to rookie Colin Sexton.
“Listed generously at 5’10, Dos Santos made his presence felt with pesky full court defense… his ability to get into the paint and putting pressure on the defense.”– Michael Visenburg(NBA Draft Net)
He will see an increase in minutes in the Brazilian NBB for Paulistino averaging 8.6 ppg and 3.0 apg on 41% shooting from the field in fifteen minutes per game. Santos has an uphill battle to make it to the NBA, but his progression makes you believe he will have a chance.
Matur Maker (Australia)
NBA Draft Eligibility: 2019
Thon Maker’s younger brother plays a lot more like his teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo. The lanky kid from Sudan glides down the court like a gazelle and scores with ease. He’s surprisingly skilled with the ball and can swing the rock like a pro with effortless passes. He has the potential to be a solid 2 way player in the world one day as he continues to get stronger.
His lack of size at the center position and agility hurts him on switches, but he makes up for it in length. His mid-range game is impressive, but his overall touch could improve along his execution on the left side of the floor.
Leading the Adidas tournament in scoring and top tree in blocking, Maker became a nightmare as he was able to play off the ball and get easier shots. He averaged 14 free throws in the tournament and even was able to put up 30 points against a loaded USA Red team in the championship.
“Length helps him have an impact on the offensive glass and as a rim protector. Maker can be a very effective college player if he can use his high motor to be an impact as a rim runner.”- Mike Schmitz(Draft Express 2017)
Maker played High School basketball for Athlete Institute Prep in Canada. A dominant force playing in Switzerland for the LNA, Maker hopes to continue to improve this season as after the first two games he’s averaging only 3 points, 4 rebounds, and a block in 15 minutes per game.
Michael Uchendu (Brasil)
NBA Draft Eligibility: 2019
The Brazilian big man has a grown man’s body and is such a dominant presence in the paint. He is a solid shooter from the mid-range and we’ve been able to see his three point shot continue to improve. He loves to use his pump fake to get his defenders in the air and in foul trouble which has led to him averaging 7 foul shots a game. He has a knack for knowing where the ball will land, leading the Adidas tournament in rebounds (10). The stretch 4 player is very emotional with players and teammates and we hope that doesn’t become a problem.
You can tell that his passion on the court could help him become a media star in the states, but he has to vastly improve in areas if he expects to be on a summer league roster next summer. His lack of a post-presence is a little troubling, but he has an incredible eye for what his defender is thinking and uses his pivot to perfection.
With a lack of a post moves he can sometimes become stagnant and try to pass through the teeth of the defense, resulting in a turnover and a swing in momentum. He’ll have to improve because the NBA moves at such a fast pace and coaches love to throw an extra defender to ruffle the feathers of inexperienced big men.
He has the potential to defensively be as good as a Glen Davis, but has the potential to score as fluently as Zach Randolph as he continues to put more moves in his arsenal. Flying under the radar, his highlights are hard to find, let alone a scouting reporting. But keep Uchendu in mind.
Kody Statmann (Australia)
Draft Eligibility: 2019
A unique player on this list enlisted at the University of Virginia, the Australian born shooter is ready to light up John Paul Jones Arena and put the country on notice. Statmann is one of the best international shooters that we’ve seen in a while. The FIBA U17 Championship in 2016 was the first time Statmann put the basketball world on notice averaging 31 points.
He made 23 of 43 three-point attempts at the U17 championships and even turned around this summer and outdid himself at the Adidas National tournament. Statmann led the entire event in three pointers made (22 of 51). He showed his potential in becoming a capable rebounder, averaging four amongst the trees at the tournament.
Committing to UVA earlier this year he was asked by scout.com why his choice.
” I chose it because it’s a great program and full of great coaches,” Statmann said.
He will not play too much for UVA unless he becomes a better defender first. He will have to continue to progress as a ball-handler, athlete, and also has to get stronger to become a solid piece on both sides of the ball for him to contribute to the Cavaliers. He has the potential to become a four year player that is undeniably known as the best shooter in collegiate basketball.
Killian Hayes (Lakeland,Florida/France)
Draft Eligibility: 2020
Killian Hayes was known as the best 16U guard when LaMelo Ball touched Europe and for good reason. His father Deron Hayes was a star at Penn State and played most of his career in French League One. He is currently still playing in France.
Hayes was born in Lakeland, Florida but was raised on French soil while his father played. He was destined to be a star as a child. He played 22U at 15 due to his advance progression as an early teenager. He has the full package with an elite motor and scary athleticism. It’s not only impressive how he scores everywhere on the floor, but it’s also how he does it.
A lefty combo guard with elite ball-handling, Hayes has the ball literally on a string when he gets in his mode. Killian was gifted with the athleticism and knack for scoring, but it was also very helpful for him to be brought up in a European setting. He will finish around elite defenders, will cross your best defender over, and he’ll rain three pointers down on your big man in a switch.
His defense is what makes him such a highly touted teenage basketball prodigy. He is a solid defender on both sides of the ball with active hands and a nose for the basketball. He does not miss three pointers if his feet are set and he is such an unselfish player recording seven assists at the Adidas EuroCamp
He is well known in NBA circles, NBA scouts are high on his potential.
“(Hayes) is a player to keep tabs on in the coming years given his tools, competitiveness, and pedigree.”- Draft Express Mike Schmitz(2017)
“A terrific ball-handler that pushes the pace and has a lot of moves and creativity.”- NBA Draft Room(2017)
Killian currently plays in the French Jeep Elite league averaging 18 minutes, 4.5 points, and 2.2 assists through four games. It’s very early in the season for Cholet, so expect Hayes to only improve as the season goes on and his playing time goes up as he battles with professionals in Europe.
There is a lot of basketball outside of the States and it’s time for us to take notice that the world of basketball is coming.