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Event Recap: 2021 FIBA U17 Centrobasket Championship

In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse,’ Pro Insight’s Ignacio Rissotto recaps the 2021 FIBA U17 Centrobasket Championship by highlighting 10 standout prospects:

Earlier this month, eight different national teams from Central America were in attendance in Mexicali, Mexico for the 2021 FIBA U17 Centrobasket Championship. The competition resulted in Puerto Rico, Mexico and Dominican Republic punching their tickets for the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship, a tournament that is scheduled to be held in June of next year.

Here is an overview of 10 different standouts from the event, as well as their projections to the next level of competition and some additional names to watch for during the next few years.

Tournament Standouts

London Johnson

Jamaica | 6’4” Guard | Norcross (GA) | 2023

Stats: 36 PPG, 9 RPG, 4.4 APG, 4.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG on 57.8% FG, 46.7% 3P, 87.5% FT in 35.7 MPG

Johnson had an incredible tournament in terms of productivity and overall impact, showing why he is one of the top-rated guards in the 2023 high school class. When it comes to scoring, not only was Johnson incredibly productive but he was also tremendously efficient, finishing the tournament with an impressive 69.4 TS%. Johnson proved to be nearly impossible to contain for opposing defenders, as he was able to get in the lane at will, using his fluidity and body control to navigate through traffic and his combination of length and elite touch to finish tough layups and floaters.

Johnson was also efficient from range, showing the touch and mechanics to project him as a versatile shooter at the next level. Passing came second to him in the tournament, but he was able to take advantage of his scoring gravity to find open teammates on the move. Defensively, he showed the size and length to defend both guard positions and to make an impact in the passing lanes, despite some moments of indifference in one-on-one defense which was understandable given the offensive load he carried for Jamaica.

Jamaica guard London Johnson. Credit: FIBA

Yaniel Rivera

Puerto Rico | 6’4” Wing | NBA Academy Latin America | 2023

Stats: 12.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1 SPG, 0.2 BPG on 40.7% FG, 46.4% 3P, 42.9% FT in 27.1 MPG

Rivera stood out in the tournament due to his ability to pass on the move, shoot off the catch but especially due to his driving ability, as he was able to use his fluid and tight handles to find his way to the rim and his finishing versatility to convert tough opportunities in the paint. Rivera projects to be an impactful and versatile two-guard at the D1 level who can create advantages off the bounce, space the floor and run some half-court offense.

Edwin Daniel Linares

Dominican Republic | 6’9” Forward | Putnam Science Academy (CT) | 2023

Stats: 11.2 PPG, 14.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 3.0 BPG on 42.3% FG, 28.6% 3P, 41.7% FT in 23.5 MPG

The tournament leader in blocks and rebounds, Linares was a defensive force on the interior, as he was able to use his size, length and defensive awareness to protect the rim. His improving perimeter skillset, however, might’ve been even more impressive. Linares’ combination of size, length, coordination and ball-handling allowed him to exploit mismatches on the perimeter and create drives to the rim. Linares is more fluid and coordinated than explosive as an athlete, which made him struggle with efficiency at the rim during a number of games.

He currently holds a couple D1 offers, though one might expect that number to increase rapidly as Linares was one of the breakout players in attendance. Some areas of his skillset (interior efficiency, shooting consistency) are still a few years away, but a 6’9” forward who can rebound, protect the rim and has dribbling, passing and shooting in his arsenal could be an intriguing bet for a team patient enough to develop him.

Dominican Republic forward Edwin Daniel Linares. Credit: FIBA

Santiago Camacho

México | 6’4” Guard | NBA Academy Latin America | 2022

Stats: 22.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG on 53.7% FG, 45.5% 3P, 80% FT in 23.8 MPG

Camacho led Mexico’s silver-medal run with his polished scoring ability. Despite not being extremely quick or explosive, he was able to get in the lane and use his elite touch to finish tough floaters and layups in the paint. His calling card was, however, his shooting, where he showed fluid and repeatable mechanics that allowed him to convert both catch-and-shoot and pull-up jumpers against all types of pressure.

His combination of shooting ability, secondary playmaking abilities in the half-court and appropriate size for a two-guard should put him firmly in D1 radars, even when considering his limitations in terms of quickness and vertical explosiveness.

Alejandro Aviles

Puerto Rico | 6’9” Big | PSAT Academy (TX) | 2025

Stats: 12.8 PPG, 9 RPG, 3 APG, 2 SPG, 2.6 BPG on 49.1% FG, 60% FT in 26.2 MPG

Prior to this tournament, Aviles had been picking up high major offers, a trend that will continue in the next few years as he proved to be one of the best long-term prospects in the tournament, being able to make an impact for Puerto Rico despite playing two years up in age. Standing at 6’9” with a plus-standing reach, Aviles was able to use his tools to be a factor in the paint, protect the rim, make an impact as a rebounder on both ends of the floor and show flashes of footwork and touch to self-create in the post.

His flashes of perimeter game were intriguing; he should be able to build upon a solid mechanical foundation to extend his shooting beyond the mid-range and he was able to attack smaller opponents in the perimeter by putting a body and creating space on his way to the rim.