World get ready, here comes Steven Adams

11 Aug

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

And with that, we have a story. The 7-foot New Zealander was the talk of last week’s adidas Nations event. He was, by all accounts, amazing.

In one game, Adams scored 37 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against the 2013 All-Stars. In another game, he sent shots from Kaleb Tarczewski, Robert Upshaw and Dajuan Coleman elsewhere. Mind you, those three centers are three of the best in the American high school ranks.

In an era where we question effort (I’m looking at you Andre Drummond), Adams seems to fit the bill as an elite level player. Basketball hasn’t benefited from a skilled 7-footer in a while. When one comes around with true star potential, you have to take notice. Surprisingly, Adams is still, to a degree, not taking the world by storm. Maybe he should be.

Aran Smith of NBADraft.net was at the adidas Nations event and raved about Adams in a very good breakdown of the emerging international superstar.

“How good is the 7-foot center out of New Zealand? He has a real chance to be a “one-and-done” top-five pick in the 2013 draft. And if NBA scouts had been allowed to be in attendance this week at adidas Nations, the buzz around this kid would be out of control right now. 

Adams has become the No. 1 international prospect out there and will be the top center prospect in college the minute he steps on the court at Pittsburgh. (Andre Drummond is considered a power forward and is also not likely to ever step foot on a college campus.) 

An enormous coup for Jamie Dixon and Pitt, he’s the type of talent that would instantly turn a number of solid NCAA squads into top-25 teams.

How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

Smith continued with some interesting notes about Adams.

“The interesting thing is that he’s actually eligible to declare for the 2012 draft. Had NBA scouts been able to be here to see him, there’s an excellent chance he could have been a top-10 pick in the 2012 draft. As it is, he could probably crack the top 20 and possibly the lottery just by working out for teams and through videos.

He’s a very humble kid, and likely has no inclination to enter the 2012 draft. But seeing that he was born in 1993, (assuming the CBA rules on draft entries doesn’t change) he will be 19 in 2012 and will have the option to enter the draft. The problem is that NBA scouts have had such little exposure to his game. And in reality, he will benefit greatly by playing a year or two of college ball and developing his skills before jumping to the league.

Adams is set to graduate high school in New Zealand at the end of this year and will then transfer to Notre Dame Prep for the 2011-12 season to gain some American high school experience. He becomes eligible to play the 2012-13 season for Pittsburgh.

Because Adams will attend an American high school, he’ll be eligible for the dot com rankings. Scout, Rivals, ESPN and 24/7 will probably rank him. It doesn’t sound like it will be hard to make an argument that Adams could contend for that top spot in the class.

What do we know about Adams? Not much. NBEBasketball.com discovered that Adams is from a family of 18 kids. Kenny McFadden, Adams’ coach in Wellington, said the family genes are good for size.

“(A)ll the boys are around 6’10″ or 6’11″ and all the girls are 6’5″ or 6’6″. His sister, Valerie Vili, is an Olympic shot putt gold medal winner and is 6’6″. She’s the biggest woman you’ll ever see.”

How in the world does a kid from New Zealand end up at a school like Pittsburgh? Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon has roots in the country. He played pro ball there and played with Adam’s coach, McFadden. When Dixon coached the U19 American team at the World Cahmpionships, he coached against Adams and had a chance to see him up close and personal.

The dots all connected. Now Pitt has a superstar coming in. The kind of player, as Smith wrote, that can be a program changer. He could be the best player in the high school ranks. He could be the best incoming freshman in college basketball next year, too.

If you have a Scout.com membership, check out this video of Adams from the event.

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3 Responses to “World get ready, here comes Steven Adams”

  1. Ronald August 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    “Basketball hasn’t benefited from a skilled 7-footer in a while.”

    I’m guessing you haven’t seen Jonas Valanciunas play?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Steven Adams climbing in recruiting rankings | Black and Blue and Gold - August 16, 2011

    […] – Justin Young of National Hoops Report […]

  2. Adams, Panthers recruiting class climbs rankings | Black and Blue and Gold - September 8, 2011

    […] – Justin Young of National Hoops Report […]

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