1 on 1 with Sekou Doumbouya

There have been many international prospects as of late that have gone on to become stars in the NBA, from Kristaps Porzingis to Dario Saric and Giannis Antetokounmpo. This year people are raving about Slovenian play-maker Luka Doncic who will be a high pick in the 2018 draft but a new international star is setting the tone for the 2019 draft class.

Sekou Doumbouya is something special; he is ultra-explosive at 6’9 230 and can impact the game on both ends of the floor. When the ball is in his hands running full court he is hard to stop. He can rise above the competition and dunk on you or he can use smooth finesse to score on you. He also has improving range meaning you can’t just leave him out there. He is the no.1 international prospect in the 2019 draft and the no.6 overall prospect by NBA Draft Room.

I see Doumbouya being anywhere in the top 3 when the 2019 draft comes around. He is just as talented and explosive as any prospect in the 2019 class and he is only getting better. The international star talked to me about his play and the year he is deciding to enter the NBA draft.

Let's go 1 on 1

LJ: You are one of the best international prospects out there. Have you faced any other international prospects that are currently being looked at or in the NBA now?

Sekou: Yes, I have faced many talented players such as Frank Ntilikina, Luka Samanic or Lycens in the USA.

LJ: Have you won any championships?

Sekou: Yes I finished European champions with the 1998 generation. I finished 3rd best scorer of the tournament and best scorer of France.

LJ: What awards or MVPs have you won?

Sekou: I did 4 tournaments with my generation and I won 4 MVP titles at each tournament.

LJ: What team do you play for now?

Sekou: I play for Poitiers in the second French division.

LJ: You are the no.1 international player by NBA Draft Room for 2019. Do you plan to come out in 2019?

Sekou: Yes I intend to be in draft 2019!

LJ: Who is your favorite NBA player?

Sekou: I have 3 favorite players Paul George, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant.

LJ: What's the toughest international player you have played against?

Sekou: So far I'm not having trouble against any international players.

LJ: Is there an NBA player you model your game after?

Sekou: Yes Paul George!!!!

LJ: Do you have a team you really like in the NBA?

Sekou: Yes of course, Chicago because of the legend MJ!!

LJ: Is there a basketball player that is from your country that your country talks about or looks up to?

Sekou: No one.

LJ: What is the strength of your game you think makes you an impact player?

Sekou: My power my versatility and my physique.

LJ: You ever thought about attending college in the USA?

Sekou: Yes of course I would say that it was a dream but I progress faster than expected in work and I no longer see the interest of going to the United States.

LJ: What does Sekou bring to a team?

Sekou: I bring my energy my versatility on the court I am able to impact the game defensively or offensively. The state of mind also that is very important, which brings leadership.

This article was contributed by NBA Draft Analyst Leader Johnson. Follow L.J. on Twitter
Follow Sekou on Twitter

Check out the full 2019 NBA Mock Draft 

Jalen Green is "The One"

credit: USA Basketball
Being special is not about words, it’s about actions.

On February 9th, 2002 a star was born in Merced, California. He was born to be a ball player. He was born with a will to work hard and to always get better. His step-father said that Jalen never had to be forced to work hard, he wanted to work hard. His mother, Bree Punganan, played basketball, ran track, competed in cross country and played a little bit of soccer. His Aunt Kristie grew up playing basketball, volleyball, softball and ran track as well. His dad played football and basketball and his step dad, Marcus Green, has prepared Jalen for the hardest obstacle, life itself.

Marcus told me that Jalen always wants to get better, wants to train, and loves to train. Green is always in the gym trying to unlock the code to greatness. I spoke to both his mother and stepfather who were traveling with Jalen to watch him play. His mother told me that ever since he was a young child he had the ball in his hands.

Now Jalen Green is a 6'6'' 170 pound wing who is an elite scorer on all 3 levels. The Sophomore from San Joaquin Memorial high school in Fresno, CA is the no.1 ranked player in the class of 2020 by many scouts and no.2 by anyone else. He has won numerous MVP awards and everywhere he goes he shows up and shows out.

He is the type of talent you can give the ball to in the clutch and he isn’t afraid to take the game over or take that last shot. He has the style and presence to be the face of not only an NBA franchise but the face of basketball. He is the one. He is humble but hungry and he displays it with his game play. His actions speak louder than words.

credit: Fresno Bee
Green just had his 16th birthday and then had a monster game, displaying exciting moves on both sides of the court while making NBA all-star moves look easy. His all-around game and defense is improving and the nation is taking more notice by the second. When I first saw his tape I instantly saw Kobe Bryant. He wasn’t even rated at the time and Villanova had just offered him. When I saw him in AAU play my jaw dropped. This kid could really fly as if he had wings. In transition he was quick, powerful, and explosive, able to dominate any defender one on one.

In his sophomore season for San Joaquin Memorial he averaged 28.3 points 8.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 52% from the field 35% from 3 and 79% from the line. In 2017 he won a gold medal with the U16 USA national team as they rolled to a 5-0 record.

Green is on a fast track to NBA stardom. By the 2021 draft I see Jalen as the no.1 player taken, a certain one and done (or a top pick in 2020 if the one and done rule is abolished).

With all this success comes a lot of pressure and expectations but Green has a great family support group and his head remains focused and in the right place. And meanwhile he continues to work. Jalen has always been able to score when he wants and how he wants. Now his game is evolving and he's become a better passer and is working hard as a defender.

When you see the curly haired kid who wears short shorts step onto the court checkout the look on his face, whether it’s a smile or a straight face he knows he owns it. And the future is his for the taking.

This article was contributed by NBA Draft Analyst Leader Johnson. Follow L.J. on Twitter
Follow Jalen Green on Twitter 

Stealth Bombers - Prospects Flying Under The NBA Draft Radar

This year's draft class is getting more buzz than a beehive but there are a few first round talents that are flying under the radar. Here, in no particular order, are a few NBA draft prospects who are either unrecognized or underrated by the draft community:

If it wasn't for a mid season injury Notre Dame combo forward Bonzie Colson would be in the running for national player of the year and would be getting a lot more draft hype. While he's undersized by NBA standards at 6-5, he's got great length (7-0 wingspan) and, more importantly, he plays with perfect positioning on the defensive end and uses his broad frame to hold his ground in the lane. He's a bit heavy footed and not exactly a high-flyer but Colson plays a complete game and projects as a glue guy at the next level. We've had him in the first round of our 2018 mock draft all season long.

UCLA freshman Kris Wilkes gets a few mentions in 2019 draft talk but we feel he's a legit first round talent who could enter his name in the 2018 draft. Wilkes doesn't have one standout skill but he's a multi-talented small forward with NBA size and a sweet shooting stroke. Wilkes reminds of Kris Middleton (and not just because they spell Kris the same way) with his smooth offensive game, excellent length and good feel for the game. He's an excellent open court athlete with NBA speed and a high all around skill level. Keep an eye on the early entry list this year to see if Wilkes tests the draft waters.
Jerome Robinson is a 6-6 scoring guard from Boston College who is putting up big numbers and has NBA shooting ability, yet is barely mentioned in mock draft land. The junior is leading his team in scoring while shooting the ball at a great clip from the field, from 3 and from the foul line (48%, 42%, 83%). He's got a wiry frame and good (but not great) athleticism. His frame and his game remind of Spencer Dinwiddie. If he enters the draft this year he should go in the late first to middle of the second round.

On the international front, Latvian wing Rodions Kurucs is a high level NBA prospect who might not be known by most casual draft fans. We've seen international players get a lot of hype in recent drafts (Hezonja, Bender, Doncic) but Kurucs, a 6-8 skilled small forward who shoots with range, doesn't get much pub. Most draftniks agree that Luka Doncic and Dzanan Musa are the top 2 international prospects but don't be surprised if Kurucs gets a look in the mid to late first round. He's a prime draft and stash candidate who could look like a draft day steal in a few years.

If the "One and Done" rule goes, the Top Prospects for the 2019 NBA Draft are...

Here's a hypothetical:

If the NBA abolishes the one and done rule and allows high school players to go straight to the NBA after their senior year, how would those high schoolers impact the 2019 draft? In short, in a big way!

Although R.J. Barrett projects as an elite wing who seems like a sure thing to be an All Star, James Wiseman projects as the best NBA prospect and would be #1 in our hypothetical mock draft. Wiseman is a skilled center prospect who in many ways reminds of Anthony Davis. Although it's still early in his career, he seems to be on a path to being an NBA superstar.

Barrett is also a big time talent and comes in at #2 in our hypothetical mock draft. Elite wings are hard to find and Barrett has all the makings of a franchise altering talent.

The next couple of high school players to impact the mock draft would be two big men, Vernon Carey Jr. and Charles Bassey, followed by a trio of guards with Jalen Lecque, Scottie Lewis and Cole Anthony.

There will surely be other players who rise up the rankings and challenge these guys for the top spots but for now, these are the top prospects in our hypothetical 2019 Mock Draft lottery (with the 2019 high school prospects included).
  1. James Wiseman - 7-0 - Center
  2. R.J. Barrett - 6-8 - Small Forward
  3. Bol Bol - 7-2 - Center
  4. Cameron Reddish - 6-8 - Small Forward
  5. Zion Williamson - 6-6 - Small Forward
  6. Vernon Carey Jr. - 6-10 - PF/C
  7. Charles Bassey - 6-11 - PF/C
  8. Keldon Johnson - 6-6 - Shooting Guard
  9. Romeo Langford - 6-6 - Shooting Guard
  10. Sekou Doumbouya - 6-9 - Small Forward
  11. Scottie Lewis - 6-5 - Shooting Guard
  12. Darius Bazley - 6-9 - Small Forward
  13. Jalen Lecque 6-4 - Point Guard
  14. Cole Anthony - 6-1 - Point Guard
If the rule change does come to fruition, expect to see some NBA franchises take their tanking game to a new level. Even with the changes to the lottery system, being bad could be very good for teams next season - and first round picks will be worth their weight in gold.

For the traditionalists out there, here's the standard 2019 Mock Draft, which assumes the rules stay as they are.