Saturday, April 21, 2012

YOUSSOUPHA KANE: Hidden Gem from Senegal Starting to Shine!!!

YOUSSOUPHA KANE: Class of 2013

Written by: Rick Lewis & Prospect-Central

Word to God...that Word of God Academy's (Raleigh, N.C.) Youssoupha Kane...can ball!!! As if the 6-foot 10-inch Kane was once a piece of coal, he now appears to be shaping into a polished diamond.  It was only last month when he was an unknown prospect.  One basketball camp later, Youssoupha Kane is a name that college coaches will be sure to learn how to enunciate.

A native of Senegal, Kane came to the United States through the SEEDS Foundation, a program that helps promising student athletes from Africa, who otherwise might not have had the opportunity for secondary education.  While I don't know how Youssoupha Kane is adjusting to life in America, he seems to be doing just fine on the basketball court.

Last month at the 9th annual NC Phenom 150 camp, he showed coaches and scouts alike, that he could indeed become a high major D1 prospect.  He seems to have a very nice feel for the game and moves extremely well for someone his size.  While he's a bit raw on the offensive side of the ball, defensively he's a force to be reckoned with.  And lets not forget the most intimidating part of his game...his name is Youssoupha Kane!!! * Below is a highlight video from Ball Game Media of Youssoupha Kane at the 2012 NC Phenom 150 Camp, a written evaluation of his game from March of 2012 by Phenom Hoop Report, and then a highlight video by Scouts Focus from the 2012 NC Phenom camp. 

Every now and then a kid shows up at a showcase event like the NC Phenom 150 who, for whatever reason, has managed to fly under the national radar.  And Youssoupha Kane fits squarely into this category.

Important to note – there are very few true post prospects in the game anymore – and even fewer that show up to events like this weekend’s that are owned by up-and-down guard play.  When a quality big does appear, his name is usually the furthest thing from a secret to local coaches.  When a guy appears seemingly out of nowhere and has the skills that Kane does, coaches’ eyes immediately spring to life and projections of his ceiling start to stir.

This kid is an absolute high major D1 lock, imo.  The Senegalese transplant via the SEEDS Foundation is beyond active in the paint on defense.  His 6’11 frame combined with a formidable wingspan are somewhat commonplace amongst African immigrant prospects with aspirations of playing college ball.  The difference with Kane is the 16 cylinder quad-turbocharged engine running this finely tuned machine.

Kane did not succumb to frustration due to lack of touches on offense side of the ball either.  He battled relentlessly for boards on both ends and kept the ball high once securing it, made crisp outlet passers to his guards, or went straight back up in an attempt to score if it was an offensive rebound.  His post positioning was surprisingly solid – sitting down in the mid-post to give him close to a 45 degree angle in the event he was to get a post entry and drop-step.  Also impressive was his ability to re-post after any rare ball reversal.

Not polished by any means, Kane’s open court ball handling is what propelled him to #1 on my list for the event.  The youngster is fluid with the ball – there are no hitches or hesitation when accelerating off the bounce.  Is he ready to lead the break at the next level consistently?  No.  Is he a reliable safety valve in a press offense situation that will not get stripped/panic with the ball around the timeline vs. game pressure?  Absolutely.

Passed the ball extremely well for a big in this setting – many times the lack of touches for these guys means whenever they touch it in the half court it’s going up.  Kane found an open shooter for a three out of a double-team and hit a cutter for a give-and-go after somehow finding himself with the ball at the free throw line extended.

From a coach’s perspective (well, mine at least), Kane is the type of prospect that makes the hairs on your arm stand up.  No bad habits, more active than any post you’ll find this side of Buck Williams, great attitude, handles, alters/blocks a large number of shots, good outlet passer, willing passer out of doubles, and on and on and on.  Oh, did I mention he runs the floor like a gazelle?  He does.  Without knowing anything about his background, I’d be willing to bet he either played a lot of soccer as a kid (strides like Kobe – doesn’t labor at all) or has hit a monumental growth spurt over the last couple of years (ball handling is so fluid).

Biggest areas of concern right now are: lower body strength – it doesn’t matter how long/active someone is if they can’t stop the Jared Sullinger’s of the world from bulling their way deep into the lane.  Offensively I’d like to see this kid OWN one move – just one.  If I had him I’d make it a spin into the lane/finish with a half-hook with his dominant hand.  Drop-steps are nice but his slight frame isn’t pushing many D1 posts off block position right now because his hips are weak.  If he had ONE move to consistently utilize at the next level he’d be ridiculously dangerous on offense Original Article.

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