Prospect Prognosis: 2023 NBL Blitz Next Stars, local prospects and more
Observations from the ground level at the Gold Coast, in this year's NBL preseason event.
It feels like the first time the NBL has held a preseason event on the scale of this year’s Blitz. And never before have there been so many NBA prospects to track across the week, which has attracted more than 45 NBA representatives to the Gold Coast.
I was able to watch and interview (video included) some of the best young prospects at the event, as well as pick the brains of some of the aforementioned NBA evaluators, to get a gauge on their respective strengths, weaknesses and overall NBA draft outlook.
Credit: JBC Studios
Amongst the crop of potential draft picks, one name has emerged as an inevitable one - French centre Alexandre Sarr. Back to back starring performances from the big man against the G League Ignite shifted expectations amongst both the Perth Wildcats and draft pundits alike, catapulting Sarr’s stock to an early top five projection.
The prior two seasons saw Sarr join the freshly established Overtime Elite League, where he was acknowledged as a skilled seven footer limited by a lack of toughness, motor and offensive refinement.
Based off the two-game Ignite sample, those concerns seemed alleviated, with Sarr flying around left, right and centre for six blocks in each outing, leading the team in rebounds in both games, and scoring a combined 43 points on a combination of highlight dunks and an encouraging 3/4 from three-point range. (Highlights here).
It was a blistering start to his career in Wildcats red, but how sustainable was it, and how much did the deeper three and lack of defensive three-second violation help Sarr’s game, compared to the more compact and physical NBL style?
At the Blitz, we got a preliminary sample to judge off.