Ismaël surfaced on the prospect radar after the 2019 U18 European Championships in Volos, Greece. Playing with a talented French squad, which some would say underachieved (5th place), Ismaël was not a dominating presence during the tournament. In fact, he only averaged 4.6ppg and 4.7rpg in 13 mins per game for team France. But the physical tools and playing potential of Ismaël was on full display. Going undetected early on in his basketball development he would be categorized as a late bloomer.
Developing with Paris Basketball club (Pro B) and CFBB (Centre federal de basket-ball) of the famous French sports academy INSEP (Institut national du sport, de l'expertise et de la performance), Ismaël is beginning to understand how to prepare as a professional. He has also taken full advantage of development plan in place for his progression.
In the 20-21 season Ismaël will be a must-see prospect in France. Because of his late arrival to the scene I believe he is an intriguing enough prospect to land him on some first round 2021 NBA mock draft boards. have laid out a small bio, and summary of Ismaël’s 2019-20 season.
DOB: Jan 17, 2001 Paris France
Home Town: Paris, France
Height: 6’10 (2m11)
Weight: 209 lbs. (95kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
Agency ComSport (Bouna N’Diaye)
Born to Ivorian parents in the suburbs of Paris, Ismaël was not destined for professional basketball. He has no immediate family member who played a high level of basketball so you could say playing sports as a kid was just a way for him to be active. Starting U15 with the small club Basket Paris 14, Ismaël could be describe as a normal kid that came to practices and games and enjoyed himself. He would not understand the possible impact of basketball on his life until years later. He bounced around playing for the club Paris Basket Avenir, and shortly after, leaving home to spend two seasons with the U18 squad of Orleans Loiret Basket Association (Orleans, France). The team who is officially now in France first division spent the two seasons (2017-18, 2018-19) playing in second division (Pro B). Although averaging 21.1 ppg in U18 competition, Ismaël would be describe as not fully invested in the concept of being a professional athlete (not showing up early nor staying late for extra work). He practiced with the pro team but never made an appearance during the 2018-19 season.
His final U18 season with Orleans was taken noticed by the French basketball federation who selected him to represent France during the summer 2019 U18 European Championship in Greece. After the summer of international competition Ismaël decided to write his history with the newly formed Paris Basketball Club (formerly Hyeres Toulon Var Club but relocated to Paris). Paris Basketball, whose club president is former Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn, believed in Ismael’s potential bringing him in with a crop of young prospects to carry to torch of the team’s objective of moving into first division. An opportunity of this magnitude has helped the maturity of Ismaël on and off the court and overall bringing to focus his understanding of what is at stake.
Injury Report: not available
· Long athletic big who uses his length to his advantage (reading/tracking rebounds, timing put backs, finishing above the rim)
· Effective roller in the PnR set; Opens quick and rolls fast to the basket
· Running big; Highly effective rim runner with a great stride and a knack at put backs in transition
· Quick off his feet when finishing and going back up (2nd jump) after offensive rebound
· Great at operating around the rim without the ball giving driving teammates the pass option
· Decent shooting mechanics which eventually can lead to developing his outside shooting
Areas to improve:
· Playing through contact; Add muscle and develop stronger core to with stand physicality (Pro B France is a very physical league)
· Be more aggressive and drawing fouls on opposing defenders
· Very raw, still needs to develop his basketball fundamentals
· Needs to develop his low post arsenal
· Improve hand eye coordination and anticipation of the pass
· Adding more finishing moves closer to the basket other than dunking (right and left side)
· Potential rim protector on the NBA level, uses length to disrupt and contest shots especially around the rim
· Good weakside defender that moves feet well defending PnR and understands defensive rotations
· Uses his length well; active hands in the passing lane and denying post entry
· Engaged with good energy on defense; great usage of wide stance while defended the ball on the move
· Not Prone to fouling while defending with hands
Areas to improve
· Adding size to counter defending physical players in the low post
· Learn how to anticipate player movement to cut off the attacker’s path.
· Improve rebounding techniques against physical players, lower stances active feet
· Better anticipating defensive schemes (switching), improve communications.