Friday, October 5, 2012

JOEL EMBIID: Seven-Foot Cameroon Native on Verge of Blowing Up!!!

JOEL EMBIID: Class of 2013

Written by: Jeff Borzello & Prospect-Central

With so many intriguing prospects in the world of high school basketball today, it's hard to find time to adequately feature each player that deserves the recognition.  Whenever Prospect-Central does feature a player however, there's usually a good reason for it and basketball aficionados should take note.

Meet Joel Embiid.  The native of Cameroon came to the States last October and played his first organized game in January.  After an up-and-down season at Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL), Embiid decided to transfer to The Rock (Gainsville, FL) for his senior year. At the time he was just another player learning the game of basketball, but after a very impressive summer and a number of scholarship offers, Joel Embiid is now considered one of the top recruits in the nation

Even though Embiid has yet to be ranked by the majority of recruiting sites, Prospect-Central has had him as the #100 recruit in the Class of 2013 since July.  Since he's only been playing basketball for 18 months, his ranking was on potential alone as opposed to production.  With his size, length and athleticism, along with his rapidly developing skill-set, it's safe to say the 7-footer will move up in the rankings very soon.  If he continues to develop his game at his current pace, I won't be surprised if Joel Embiid is considered the #1 center in the Class of 2013 by the time he graduates high school. * Article below by Jeff Borzello from CBS Sports.

Eighteen months ago, Joel Embiid had never played basketball.

He was in his native Cameroon, and despite standing over 7-feet tall, Embiid and basketball were never a match.

Fast-forward to this summer, and Embiid has emerged as one of the most talked-about big men on the recruiting landscape.

"He's got untapped potential, when he figures it all out," one Division I assistant coach said. "In two years, he's going to be really good for somebody."

He's 7-1, knows how to run the floor and is already effective on the defensive end. Embiid's offensive game isn't there yet, but his ceiling is what has colleges intrigued.

"He's a high-major kid," said an assistant coach who has watched Embiid multiple times. "He has lots of upside, good timing, good hands."

Embiid began playing at one of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's basketball camps in Cameroon. Mbah a Moute, a fellow Cameroon native who is now playing with the Milwaukee Bucks, found Embiid and encouraged him to attend Montverde Academy (Fla.), where he attended high school.

In November, Embiid came over from Africa to Montverde, where he played under legendary high school coach Kevin Boyle for five months.

"We didn't cover a lot of things, but he helped me a lot," Embiid said of Boyle. "Coach Kevin Boyle loves me, he helps me."

Because he was playing behind Clemson signee Landry Nnoko -- another Cameroon native -- at Montverde, Embiid played sparingly during the regular season. People who attended practices immediately noticed his aggressiveness and rapid improvement; Embiid simply needed more playing time. He did show flashes at the National High School Invitational in March, but it was his performance on the AAU circuit that truly opened some eyes.

At the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis in July, there were nonstop whispers about the big man for Florida Elite -- no, not Chris Walker -- and why very few people had seen him play or even heard of him.

When one of his games ended, a media hoard swarmed around Embiid -- and this was after a fairly unproductive game. The intrigue with the big man does not come with consistent points and rebounds at this point in his development; everyone is curious about what Embiid looks like down the road, a couple of years from now.

For someone who has only been playing for a year and a half, Embiid knows how to operate in the post, in terms of getting position and turning to the basket. While some might see that as effective training, Embiid is actually self-taught when it comes to back-to-the-basket moves.

"He learned his foot skills by watching videotapes of Hakeem Olajuwon," said Jeff Simmons, Embiid's AAU coach with Florida Elite. "He taught himself. His footwork is outstanding."

More importantly, Embiid is interested in working on his game and continuing to get better. He pointed out that he is solid in the post, but can certainly improve his post moves. Embiid also said that he wants to expand his offensive game to include more perimeter skills.

"I can play center now," Embiid said. "But I want to be a forward."

Simmons said the basketball transformation Embiid has undergone since he first saw Embiid play is like night and day. He said Embiid was understandably raw in the early stages, and while he still is not refined, he's slowly getting there.

"He's still learning the sport," Simmons said.

Florida and UCLA were both on Embiid early, and he took a trip to Gainesville in early March. His connection with the Bruins lies with Mbah a Moute, who is close with Embiid and attended UCLA before being drafted by the Bucks.

Louisville, Virginia, Texas and Georgia Tech are also expressing interest, while Embiid mentioned that he received letters from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Florida, DePaul, VCU, Temple and Butler.

The scary part is that the heavy interest from colleges will only increase as more and more coaches see him throughout his high school season (which, according to sources, is not likely to be at Montverde).

"He's special," Simmons said. "He's going to be good."

If Embiid's development over the past 18 months is any indication, that could be an understatement. Original Article.

No comments:

Post a Comment