Unless you’re a college basketball fanatic or an NBA Draft junkie, Ike Anigbogu is a name that you might have to do some googling to find some info on. While he’s very talented, there’s a reason for that. His teammates were Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, each of who got way more press and lights on the main stage than Anigbogu did. Anigbogu averaged four points and four rebounds last season on 13 minutes per game. What makes him so special? Well, his frame is something that everyone should immediately take note of. Standing at 6-feet 10-inches tall with a 7-foot, 6.25-inch wingspan and weighing in at 250 pounds, Anigbogu has an NBA ready body at just 18 years old. His frame isn’t the only thing that got him noticed, though. Raised in Corona, California, Anigbogu made a name for himself at Corona Centennial High School. During the 2015-2016 season at Corona, he averaged 17 points and almost 10 rebounds per game. That season earned him many accolades, including being considered the #1 center in California and the Western Region (according to Scout.com). After that season he would go on to commit to UCLA. His freshman campaign got off to an unfortunate start; Anigbogu had to miss the first five games of the season due to a right meniscus tear. Anigbogu missed six regular season games last season and one in the NCAA Tournament. Missing seven total games and only averaging 13 minutes per game is a rather small sample size to judge a player off of.  Even with that, NBA teams are still going to pay attention to Ike Anigbogu, and here’s why.

Strengths

As mentioned above, his frame is something to behold for somebody so young, and he doesn’t turn 19 until October of 2017. When you have the athleticism to go with that frame, it doesn’t matter if the skillset isn’t there quite yet. Anigbogu isn’t going to make anyone look silly with his post moves, and he’s not going to hit a three in transition, but he does some very key traits, one of which is hustle. Ike averaged 4.1 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes played last season and 35% of his total rebounds were offensive rebounds. His athleticism, frame, and mindset are perfect for the modern NBA big man. The way he runs the court for someone of his size and length is something special. In transition he’s always moving fluidly, looking for the basketball and, if he gets it, making the rim hurt. On defense he averaged 1.2 blocks per game (3.5 per 40 minutes) and he used his length to try and block any shot in his vicinity. All of those traits are essential for today’s big man.

Weaknesses

Despite his physical traits, Anigbogu still has a long way to go when it comes to polishing his skill set. His frame is no joke, but he still doesn’t use it quite as well as he should when it comes to scoring. Despite being such a strong player with tremendous length, he struggled to find any success in the post. Last season he only scored on 30.4% of his post up opportunities. It’s not just scoring that’s a problem either; he struggles to catch the ball in the post as well, which leads to turnovers, and, if he’s double covered, he tends to panic and turn it over. After coming down with offensive rebounds last season, Anigbogu only finished 48% of the time he went up with a shot afterwards. That comes down to his lack of touch around the rim and his disregard for taking quality shots. Discipline is something that coaches will really need to help him with. Another issue is that he tends to get into foul trouble. While aggression certainly isn’t a bad thing on the basketball court, his aggression can also lead to too many offensive rebounds for the other team. Yes, he is a fantastic rebounder but he tries to block every shot, taking himself out of position and leaving the other team open to get the ball back.

First Year Expectations and Fit   

For a team like Milwaukee, Anigbogu would be an extremely intriguing player based on what we already know he can bring to the table. The Bucks finished 24th in total rebound differential and rebounding is Ike’s bread and butter. Adding another defensive stud to the equation is only going to improve the Bucks as well. This is rare for a lot of Milwaukee big men, but you don’t have to worry about him being too skinny or not strong enough, he’s already there physically. Your only question is whether he will be able to wise up to the NBA game and avoid turnovers and foul trouble. If he can, he can be an energy big man that gets some minutes right away.

Career Expectations

It’s easy to fall in love with players like Ike Anigbogu, all of his traits have been mentioned a thousand times over. He rebounds, blocks shots, and looks like a giant gazelle in transition. With those qualities at 18 years old, it’s hard to not find a place for him on every single NBA team. If he is willing to take time to polish some facets of his game and learn when it’s the right time to be aggressive, he can be a presence in the NBA for years to come.

 

 

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