In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Jason Filippi compiles his scouting notes after spending multiple days evaluating the top prospects from Orange1 Basketball Academy in Bassano del Grappa, Italy earlier this month:
*In case you missed ‘A Look Inside Orange1 Basketball Academy, part I,’ check it out, here.
I recently spent a couple days up in Bassano Del Grappa at the Orange1 Bassano Basketball Academy which has quickly become one of the top youth basketball programs in Europe. I scouted over two dozen interesting D1 college prospects born between 2003 and 2007 who attend the academy. Here is a report on those who stood out the most during my stay in Bassano. For more detailed scouting reports — and intel — on these players, as well as reports on some of the other younger prospects I saw in Bassano, subscribe to our database, here. With any questions or comments, shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With that, here are my scouting takeaways after spending some time evaluating the prospects at Orange1 Basketball Academy…
Tiefing Diawara | 6-11 PF/C
Tiefing Diawara was the prospect with the most upside I scouted during my visit to Bassano Del Grappa! Born in Mali, he is now in his second full year with Orange1 Bassano and is slowly starting to come into his own. Gifted with great physical tools, his basketball skills are continuously improving too! Diawara has good size/length with an excellent frame that is filling out quite nicely. Although not an elite athlete in my opinion (lacks explosiveness), he is nonetheless very mobile for his size showing the ability to run the court and displaying nice footwork too (which probably stems from his past as being an excellent soccer player, too, while growing up in Mali). He should be able to play both the 4 and 5 spots even at the pro level. At the moment he is more of just an inside player who plays mostly in the low post, but during the multiple practices and scrimmages I watched, you can see that he is much more than that. Although he doesn’t show much three-point shooting range yet, his shooting touch is promising and he can already knock down mid-range shots consistently (he rarely misses on baseline shots). In the low post he can both post-up and score with turnaround shots as well as face-up and put the ball on the deck to go one-on-one. He doesn’t always finish strong enough, though, which is definitely something he needs to improve at. Overall, his feel for the game was much better than expected — he displayed surprisingly good passing ability and has pretty good hands in general. Diawara also showed nice potential on the defensive end, too. He was a physical presence in the paint and he showed some legit potential as a rim protector even for the pro level, thanks to his good timing (I liked that he often seems to be able to “control” where he sends blocked shots — often directing the ball directly toward a teammate). Thanks to his mobility and nice footwork he also showed the ability to be able to defend away from the basket and switch effectively onto a smaller player, if necessary. He doesn’t turn 16 until next month but already looks like an elite college prospect (class of 2025) who has some very realistic NBA potential. A high priority guy to scout in the future!
Moussa Bamba | 6-7 PF/C
Moussa Bamba may not have the same upside as teammate Tiefing Diawara, but he was probably the single player that impressed me the most during my stay in Bassano! Born in Mali, he arrived in Bassano during the 2019-20 season after a brief stay in Serbia and has made huge strides since then, both on and off the court. I admit I was hoping he would be a bit taller — he is only 6-7 without shoes — but he has a huge 7-4 wingspan that helps compensate. He has a nice frame with a strong chiseled body and looked like a man among children, at times. Bouncy and athletic, he is very mobile and runs the court hard. He is more of a small-ball center at the moment and still has a ways to go to become more of a power forward. His offensive game is very simple but effective. He finishes strong at the rim and gets most of his points off dives to the basket or by crashing the offensive glass. He is also capable of putting the ball on the floor to go one-on-one and scored multiple times off drives from the high-post area, too. His shot looks a bit mechanical and he doesn’t show any three-point shooting range currently, but he can hit mid-range shots. He had a major physical impact on both sides of the court but his defensive versatility is probably going to be his most transferable skill. Thanks to his length and athleticism, Bamba showed the ability to defend both bigger and smaller players: in particular he did a great job switching onto smaller players — he slides his feet well. I was impressed with his motor, too — he plays aggressively and doesn’t shy away from physical contact. A real high energy guy! He contests shots aggressively and was just all over the place on the defensive end. Bamba is a high major college prospect (class of 2024) who could be a nice pro player, down the line.
Dame Sarr | 6-4 PG/SG
Dame Sarr was one of the most intriguing prospects I scouted during my recent trip to Bassano! Born and raised in Oderzo, Italy, he is entering his third season with the team. Sarr is in the middle of a wild growth spurt that has seen him “sprout” no fewer than five inches over the past year-and-a-half and based on his body type, he is far from finished. He has a very thin build with long arms and will now need to add some muscle mass to his lanky frame. In addition to his size/length he also has the athleticism for higher levels of competition. Sarr can play both on and off the ball and has some interesting potential as a combo guard. At the moment, he is more of a scorer than a playmaker but he is capable of acting as a primary ball-handler. He can create off the dribble both for himself and for others. He’s also a very good open court player both as a handler and as a finisher. He needs to become more consistent from three-point range in order to take his game to the next level. His versatility translates well on defensive end, too, where he can cover both guard spots with his length. Sarr is a good prospect for mid-major colleges (class of 2025) who could become a nice pro player in Europe.
Leonardo Valesin | 6-3 PG/SG
Leonardo Valesin was definitely one of the team’s most polished prospects despite turning 16 just this year. He is a staple on the Italian U16 National Team, also. He has decent size/length along with a strong build for his age. He’a a decent athlete/leaper for a Euro. Valesin has always been more of a scorer than a playmaker, but he is trying hard to become more of a point guard as the coaching staff is really trying to make him become more of a primary ball-handler even though his niche may simply be as a combo guard, long term. He definitely needs to improve his decision making as he tends to force plays at times. He seems to be much more vocal and assertive when he is playing within his own age group. Offensively he is a triple threat who can drive, shoot, pass. I was impressed with his ability to make contested shots (he elevates well) and with his body control/balance in the air. He reminds me a bit of Matteo Spagnolo in this aspect. He showed a nice pull-up game, but his three-point shot is very inconsistent. I liked his defensive effort, also — he competes and looks like a pretty tough kid. He can defend both guard spots (pressures the ball well) at this level and I think he will be able to do the same at the college level, also. Valesin is a nice mid-major college prospect (class of 2025) who could become a fixture on the Italian National Team in the future.
Miroslav Bogdanovic | 6-4 SG
Miroslav Bogdanovic was one of the most skilled offensive players at Orange1 Basketball Academy. Born and raised in Serbia, he is a product of the Red Star Belgrade youth system and this is his first year in Bassano. He has decent size for his position already and based on his light frame he should grow a couple more inches. He has long arms but will definitely need to get stronger. Bogdanovic is very aggressive on the offensive end and can score both on drives or with jump shots. He has NBA three-point range but he needs to work on improving his decision making — he forces a lot of plays and really needs to improve his shot selection. He appears to be very confident in himself and I was impressed with how assertive he was playing two years up! He’s a good open court player both as a handler and as a finisher. He will need to improve on the defensive end to take his game to the next level — he competes, but his weak body will hinder him at higher levels of competition. Bogdanovic doesn’t turn 16 until later this year and could be a very interesting prospect for mid-major programs (class of 2025).
Matteo Porto | 6-5 SG/SF
Matteo Porto was a pleasant surprise and showed some nice upside as a wing scorer during my time in Bassano. Born and raised in Rome, this is his first season in the Orange1 program. He has nice size for the wing position with a long body and is already quite strong for his age. He is a good athlete vertically but is just average laterally. He can score both on drives or with his jump shot. He actually didn’t show much off the dribble on the first day, but then he started to attack the rim more the following day during the team’s scrimmage. He uses more strength and smarts than quickness to get to the rim and is a crafty finisher around the basket. He can score with pull-up jumpers from mid-range but he is more of just a spot-up shooter from deep. I thought he used his length well on the defensive end, but he has just average foot speed. He did a nice job guarding much bigger players, but needs to prove that he can handle smaller, more athletic guards at higher levels of competition. I think Porto could be an interesting prospect for lower mid-major schools (class of 2024).
Kissima Diambo | 6-9 PF
Kissima Diambo was one of the most consistent performers during the multiple practice/scrimmages I watched in Bassano. Born and raised in the Ivory Coast, this is going to be his second season in Bassano. He has good size for his position with a long body/arms. He is also a good runner and a high-level athlete, too. Diambo fits the mold of the rim running big man who is an athletic finisher off dives to the basket. He can put the ball on the deck to score in iso situations in the low post too, but he needs to expand his shooting range (his shot looks to be very mechanical) to become more of a modern big man who can help spread the floor. He is active on both sides of the court and has a good motor in general. On the defensive end he can play both 4-5 spots at this level and he is mobile enough to switch onto a smaller player. He contests shots aggressively and is a good rebounder on both sides of the court. I loved his energy and the fact that he doesn’t seem to mind physical play. Diambo is an underrated prospect who could be interesting for lower mid-major programs. He is currently listed in the class of 2025 but he may be able to reclassify earlier if he comes to the USA to attend a prep school.
Scott Nnabuife | 6-7 PF/C
Scott Nnabuife is a local product who has spent virtually his whole basketball career playing for the various Orange1 youth teams. He has just average size for the big man position but is quite strong and plays bigger than his listed height. He is not an explosive athlete but he is mobile and runs the floor hard. Nnabuife is more of an undersized 4-5 than a 4-3 and plays mostly inside. His game is very simple, but effective — he plays well within himself, seems to understand his role and doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. He is a good finisher around the basket off guard penetration. He can hit mid-range shots but I don’t see much range shooting ability, here. He was a major factor on the defensive end, thanks to his relentless motor. He is aggressive and seems to thrive on physical play. Tough kid. He is versatile and can defend both bigger and smaller players well. Nnabuife is a good prospect (class of 2023) for lower D1 programs.
Alessio Mazzotti | 6-6 SF
Alessio Mazzotti is an underrated prospect who proved to be much better than expected! He is a late-bloomer who was virtually unknown up until two years ago when he joined the Orange1 Basketball program. He has decent size with a wiry strong build and is an above-average athlete (good leaper). He moves well without the ball and is a good finisher off cuts to the basket. He is a good catch-and-shoot guy from out to three-point range. He’s a good open court player, who had a couple nice athletic finishes off transition plays. He also showed the potential to be a nice wing defender for higher levels of competition and I think he could become someone who fits nicely into the 3-and-D archetype. Mazzotti is a good system player whose game would be ideal for college basketball. He is from the class of 2022 and could be an asset for lower D1 programs.
Timoty Van Der Knaap | 6-7 SF
Timoty Van Der Knaap is another underrated prospect who grew on me during my visit to Bassano! Despite his exotic sounding last name (his father is Dutch) he was born and raised in Italy. He is a product of the Scaligera Verona youth system and this is his first year with the Orange1 program. He has decent positional size with a nice wingspan. He is very skinny, though, and definitely needs to get stronger to take his game to the next level. I was impressed with his versatility and his polished all-round game. He has good ball skills and showed some intriguing potential as a secondary ball-handler. Good passer — feeds the post well and can act as a facilitator. He is a good spot-up shooter but needs to develop a better pull-up game. He is not as versatile on defense as he is on offense but with his smarts, he’s able to defend his position well enough for higher levels of competition. He is a late-bloomer who still has margins for improvement in many aspects. He could be interesting for lower mid-major colleges (class of 2024).
Petar Kuzmanic | 6-8 PF
Petar Kuzmanic just turned 16 years old, but is a very polished product for his age! He was born and raised in Split, Croatia but he moved to Bassano last year to pursue his basketball career. He has a good strong frame but only an average wingspan. He is more mobile than he looks, but is just an average athlete by pro standards. Kuzmanic is a skilled and versatile big man who can both face-up and post-up. He plays mostly in the low post but he is a very capable high post player, too. He has soft hands and can turn and face to knock down baseline shots with consistency. He’s also a good passer from both the high and low post. He has a good feel for the game, in general. He’a a good rebounder on both sides of the court. It’s worth noting that currently, he’s not as versatile on the defensive end as he is on the offensive end. He can defend the low post well but he needs to prove that he can defend more mobile big men away from the basket. He looks like a tough kid and is not afraid to mix it up inside. He needs to work on his body but based on his skill-level I think he could be interesting for lower mid-major schools (class of 2024).
Charles Atamah | 6-7 PF/C
Charles Atamah was one of the most consistent guys in both practices and scrimmages. Born and raised in Prato, Italy, this is his first season in Bassano. He has just average size for the position but he is strong for his age and has long arms that help him play bigger. He is mobile, runs the floor hard and is a good athlete/leaper, too. He is more of a 5 than a 4 and plays mostly inside. He doesn’t show much shooting range. His game is very simple, but effective. He can put the ball on the deck in the low post and take advantage of bigger, slower guys. He’s a good finisher off cuts to the basket and can score off lobs. Atamah routinely hustles down court to finish plays in transition. He showed to be a pretty good passer big-to-big, too. He is a good rebounder on both sides of the floor. He is a consistent force on the defensive end. He has a great motor and is very intense. He is a versatile defender who can defend bigger players as well as switch onto a smaller player effectively. Atamah is an underrated prospect in my opinion who could be interesting for low-to-mid D1 programs (class of 2025).