Alexander Shashkov, 6-9, C, Russia, 2000
-Nice physical profile for a 16-year-old center at 6' 9 with a developed frame, average to above average length and solid mobility.
-Impressive offensive skill set for his age 23.1 points per 40. Excellent shooter out to three when given time and space. Ball comes out really cleanly with excellent rotation. Shoots it the same way every time. Great pick and pop target. Shot 35.7% from 3 on 42 attempts.
-Smart high-low passer. Has vision and is willing to give it up.
-Soft hands and touch around the rim. Can make a right-handed jump hook from short range. Uses floaters in the lane. Knows how to deep seal, turn quickly and finish. 67.3% from two and 35.8 PER.
-Will crash the offensive glass 4.4 O-Boards per 40. Good instincts. Doesn't fly around like crazy and have wild spurts of energy but he plays with a consistently solid motor throughout the course of a game.
-Excellent defensive rebounder at the U16 Division B level 10.9 per 40. Knows how to find a body. Has the natural size to hold his own. Good instincts and pursuit. Soft hands.
-Good positional defender. Understands how much space to give himself when guarding ball screens. Not a quick-twitch athlete, but he has good feet in ball screens. Can protect the rim a little bit 3.3 blocks per 40. Good timing and instincts around the rim.
-Seems to care about winning. Led his team to a Division B title. Good teammate who plays the right way and will lift up his teammates when they're down.
-Good not great size for a center prospect at 6' 9. Does he have another inch or two in him?
-Not an elite athlete. Moves well but isn't quick twitch and won't play above the rim all that often, especially in a crowd.
-Didn't show much in terms of off the dribble game. Given his shooting stroke more teams figure to run him off of the 3-point line (which they didn't do at the U16s) so he'll have to be more comfortable reading a closeout and playing off of that.
-Not going to go create a shot from the perimeter or in the post. Can score on the block against smaller defenders as he has some touch but he'd rather operate out on the perimeter. Not overly advanced on the block.
-Doesn't get to the line at a high rate. Not overly aggressive in the paint offensively. A little light in the rear.
-Needs time and space to get his shot off. Goes into a bit of a crouch before getting to his release. Great touch but could stand to speed things up a bit.
-Capable high-low passer but isn't going to dazzle with advanced reads from different spots on the floor. Plays a fairly simple game overall.
-Very sound defender at this stage, but his lack of elite explosiveness, quick twitch and good not great length may limit him on that end a little bit as the level of competition and athleticism rises. Average leaper from a standstill misses out on blocks at times. Not going to be a guy who switches ball screens regularly.
-A little methodical in his approach. Not the type of guy who's going to be the first one down the floor every possession or fly around on both ends. Plays mostly at one speed.
The Russian big man led his team to a Division B championship and proved to be the best player and arguably the most intriguing long-term prospect along the way. As a stretch five who's also sound in other areas, Shashkov fits the current NBA mold very well. Already fairly physically mature, it will be interesting to see what Shashkov looks like a couple of years from now as adding an inch or two could help his NBA prospects given that he's more of a center athletically. All in all Shashkov would have likely shined even in Division A as players with his size, mobility and skill level aren't easy to find. Currently with Helios Domzale of the Slovenian League (played with both the U17 and U19 teams last year), Shashkov is without a doubt a player worth tracking after putting himself on the map as a legitimate NBA prospect in Sofia.