Spaniard Usman Garuba, the No.15 basketball player in the ESPN Top 100, has submitted documents to the league office to make himself eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft, a source told ESPN on Thursday.
Garuba, 19, is in the midst of a productive season competing at the highest levels of international basketball, already taking part in 79 matches across the Euroleague, ACB of Spain and domestic Cup competitions.
He averages 5.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19 minutes per game in the ACB for Real Madrid, who just finished the regular season at 34-2 to claim the No.1 seed in the playoffs. , starting next week. The team lost in the Euroleague quarter-finals to defending champion Anadolu Efes in a five-game streak that saw Garuba play some of his best basketball of the season, including a record breaking performance of 24 points and 12 Career rebounds in a crucial victory in Game 4. .
This playoff series helped solidify his status as the best Under-22 Euroleague player, receiving the competition’s Rising Star Trophy in mid-May. He was also named “Best Young Player” of the 2020-2021 ACB season at the end of April.
Garuba is arguably the most versatile defensive prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft, as he already has considerable experience protecting some of the most formidable players in the international game, from small pointers to wings of traditional playmakers or great men.
Although slightly undersized for a tall man weighing 6ft 8in and 230lb, Garuba has a 7ft 3in wingspan which allows him to play much larger than his height, complementing his exceptional level of intensity and instinct. . A strong passer and developing a 3-point shooter, Garuba drew comparisons between NBA scouts and OG Anunoby and PJ Washington with his style of play.
Born in Spain to Nigerian parents, Garuba has been a mainstay of the Spanish national team since the age of 14, competing in the U16 and U18 European Championships and winning gold medals at both events. He helped Real Madrid win the prestigious Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation tournament in 2019, a competition for the best youth club programs in Europe.
Garuba’s season will end no later than mid-June, when he will likely travel to the United States for private team training and interviews in the hopes of solidifying his status as a lottery pick. The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on June 22. The draft will take place just over a month later, on July 29.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.