As we’ve all witnessed the international pipeline has been pumping out elite talent over the past decade+ and that trend is set to continue with a number of high level prospects projected to be coming into the league over the next few drafts. While there’s no Victor Wembanyama-level player on this list there is a deep group of high-end talent coming from overseas.
Here I’ll rank the top international talents from all future generations. Some of these players are years away from being draft eligible and so it can be harder to project their development. The youngest player on this list was born in 2009 and so won’t be draft eligible until the 2028 draft. During this time I’ll be monitoring his development, along with tracking all the new names that emerge over the coming years.
These Elite 15 rankings are dominated by French prospects and prospects from the NBL in Australia. There are also a number of prospects from other European countries and from Africa, along with a special talent coming up in Mexico.
This list only includes players that are playing overseas this year, and does not include the many high level international players who are playing high school ball in the U.S., in the NCAA or with the G League Ignite (of which there are many). There are dozens of high-level international prospects but this article is focusing on just the best of the best, the Elite 15.
The Elite 15 International Prospects
- Alexandre Sarr – Center – Perth, NBL (France) – 2005 – Sarr has already had a breakout start to the season, showing off big time talent in a series of exhibition games against the Ignite in early September and with the recent NBL Blitz. He’s an exceptionally fluid 7-0 athlete who can fly up and down the court and soar way above the rim. He’s got the potential to be an elite shot blocker (he had 12 blocks in two games vs. the Ignite) and also has a great ability to guard on the perimeter and switch onto wings and guards. He’s got a sweet turn around jumper and ability to handle the ball in the open court. After an underwhelming stint with OTE Sarr signed with Perth in the NBL and will benefit from playing this year against grown men. He has the makings of a top 10 pick with potential to go at the very top of the draft if he keeps up this level of play. He has shades of Evan Mobley in his game and Jaren Jackson Jr. in his game.
- Tidjane Salaun – PF – France – 2005 – Salaun is super smooth and fluid for his size, at 6-10. He’s a graceful athlete who can fly above the rim, and easily passes the eye-test when you see him on the court. On the offensive end he can do a bit of everything, from standing in the corner and knocking down 3’s to facing up and driving to the hoop. He uses the pump fake well and has a nice feel for getting defenders off balance. He attacks the rim with long strides and good power. He’s also a very aware and versatile defender who really impacts the defensive end of the court. He can guard in space and moves his feet well and he has quick hands and can also defend at the rim. Salaun is oozing with potential and just starting to figure out how good he can be.
- Rocco Zikarsky – C – Australia – Rocco is a mammoth of a center standing at least 7-3 with a solid build and good coordination. He’s a powerful dunker and a force in the paint with decent quickness for his immense size. Rocco has good touch around the rim and shows some face-up shot making abilities as well. He does a good job of using his size and weight to create space and carve out room in the paint. As with any jumbo-sized center the biggest question when coming to the NBA is how well will he guard in space and how switchable can he be. He’s been slowed by an ankle injury recently but is getting back to full health and is on track for a big NBL season.
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