Alex Sarr, another 7-footer out of France, is impressing NBA scouts early

LAS VEGAS — NBA scouts and executives acquired a primary glimpse of a handful of draft-eligible gamers within the 2024 NBA Draft because the Perth Wildcats took on the G League Ignite in a pair of exhibition video games this previous week. The Ignite took the primary sport 124-105 and the Wildcats bounced again within the second sport with a 127-112 win Friday evening.

“It is a good benchmark to start out the draft season, particularly with issues being so extensive open in direction of the highest of the draft,” one NBA scout instructed Yahoo Sports activities. “There’s plenty of expertise on the court docket this week and it was good to see the progress in some gamers.”

The Ignite’s roster is loaded with younger expertise. Out of the 15-man roster, seven gamers qualify for the upcoming draft with at the least three gamers projected within the first spherical. At the very least two scouts or entrance workplace executives from each NBA staff have been current all week for practices and the video games. Each scout was very conversant in Ignite’s two younger star gamers, Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis, but it surely was Perth middle Alex Sarr who confirmed probably the most enchancment to his sport and had glimpses of promising upside as a flexible large within the NBA.

Within the first sport, Sarr completed with 17 factors, seven rebounds and 6 blocks in 29 minutes. The 7-foot-1 middle out of France regarded far more comfy within the second sport, coming off the bench and recorded a double-double with 26 factors and 10 rebounds and added six blocks within the win.

“I simply wish to present NBA scouts how impactful I will be on the court docket, on or off the ball,” Sarr instructed Yahoo Sports activities. “I feel my versatility separates me from different bigs on this draft with my rim safety, excessive motor and shot creation.”

Alex Sarr of the Perth Wildcats dunks in opposition to the G League Ignite within the second half of a sport on Sept. 8, 2023. The Wildcats defeated Ignite 127-112. (Ethan Miller/Getty Pictures)

Sarr scored in myriad methods, whether or not that was getting into lengthy 3s out of the pick-and-pop, taking gamers off the dribble or catching lobs off the roll or in transition. Defensively, he was the very best shot blocker on the court docket and was constantly taking pictures the hole, deflecting passes and altering photographs along with his 7-5 wingspan.

“He is a very good participant and it is exhausting to get photographs off round him,” Buzelis instructed Yahoo Sports activities. “I did not anticipate him to step out and guard the perimeter like he did and he simply plenty of little issues rather well.”

This isn’t Victor Wembanyama 2.0 by any means. There are a number of parallels with each gamers being from France, being over 7 toes and having a singular talent set with the best way they deal with the ball within the open court docket and elite shot-blocking expertise.

“The NBA is evolving and changing into extra positional-less so even at my dimension, I’ve to have the ability to guard each place and really feel comfy with the ball in my arms,” Sarr stated. “I really feel like I’ve at all times been capable of play on the perimeter and it’s nothing new or uncomfortable for me to step exterior of the paint and make performs.”

Sarr, the youthful brother of Oklahoma Metropolis middle Olivier Sarr, joined the Wildcats after spending final season with Additional time Elite in Atlanta. Olivier went the faculty route and performed at Wake Forest and Kentucky earlier than going undrafted within the 2021 NBA Draft. Not like his older brother, Alex elected to go professional and is taking part in one season in Australia’s Nationwide Basketball League earlier than hitting the NBA.

“The skilled route simply fits me higher as a participant and has helped me develop my sport higher,” Alex Sarr stated. “The spacing permits me extra freedom and flexibility, in order that’s why I selected to play within the NBL and never faculty.”

Sarr and his dad and mom have been in Australia for fewer than two months. Wildcats head coach John Rillie has already seen strides in his growth as he will get comfy with a brand new staff and system.

“He is solely acquired higher and higher since he arrived,” Rillie stated after Friday’s sport. “I am unable to think about how a lot development we’ll see over the course of the season. Alex has an opportunity to be actually particular. All of us get enamored by the blocked photographs, but it surely’s additionally how he retains gamers in entrance on the perimeter, his second efforts to contest photographs and the way effectively he reads the protection and finds little pockets on offense.”

Perth's Alex Sarr made a big impression on NBA scouts during two exhibitions games against the G League Ignite this week. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Perth’s Alex Sarr made a giant impression on NBA scouts throughout two exhibitions video games in opposition to the G League Ignite this week. (Ethan Miller/Getty Pictures)

Coming into the 2 preseason exhibition video games in opposition to the Ignite, Sarr was largely projected as a fringe first-round draft choose who had a ton of potential and would want time to develop on the NBA stage. NBA scouts left greater than impressed with the place Sarr is at in his growth at this level and the way a lot enchancment he is made since his time at Additional time Elite final season.

“There have been stretches in each video games the place he was the very best prospect on the court docket,” one other NBA scout instructed Yahoo Sports activities. “A two-way participant who confirmed everybody this week that he is greater than only a rim protector.”

Sarr will play his former staff, Additional time Elite, in an exhibition sport Sunday in Las Vegas earlier than the staff travels again to Australia for the NBL Blitz (a match with each NBL staff) going down Sept. 16-22.

The 18-year-old middle made a powerful assertion to kick off the draft season and will probably be a participant plenty of NBA groups watch carefully this season as one other versatile, 7-footer out of France will get able to hit the NBA in lower than a 12 months.

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