European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

Mam Jaiteh shining in Boulogne, Loum too

March 29th, 2013 · No Comments

Mouhammadou “Mam” Jaiteh is currently one of the hottest names in the European prospects scene. The French big guy made the not so usual choice to sign with a ProB team coming out of INSEP while the most interesting prospects generally decide themselves in favor of a ProA team after their years with the French academy. The results so far look great for Jaiteh as he is averaging a stunning 16.7ppg (65.2% FGs), 9.8rpg and 0.9bpg in his first professional season. The question though is what is the value of these stats as he is playing “only” in the second French division. We will take a more detailed look at him as well as analyze the season of his team mate Abdoulaye Loum.

The main characteristics of Mam Jaiteh at first sight are his physical attributes. The 1994 born inside player displays a greatly developed body far away from the typical European  thin frame at that age. With long arms and a chiseled built, Jaiteh has still some upside potential in terms of physical development which would make him one of the “largest” prospects in Europe. On the other hand, during the games I have scouted, Jaiteh did not really look more athletic or mobile than before. He has never been a very explosive guy that plays above the rim. He can jump and dunk of course but overall, he is not an elite athlete compared to other French prospects.

Jaiteh is currently mainly used as a low post presence. With his large body, he can post up anyone on this level and once he gets the ball, he likes to go for the jump hook of his right hand. The other move we saw from him in low post situations is a baseline drop step move. Next to these two go-to moves, Jaiteh has still a quite unpolished game in the low post on the professional level. His length and physique are matched here and he can not beat somebody on the dribble either. In general, Jaiteh’s finishes are executed quickly despite being not that fast in his moves overall. He has to do so as he will not “outjump” his opponents and therefore needs quickly executed finishing moves.

Jaiteh certainly needs to work on his decision making as it is his first season on the professional level. You could see him come up with some costly turnovers in the money time or take a jump shot out of the dribble when receiving the ball on the three point line. However, his passing is not too bad as he can find the weak side shooter out of the low post which is one of the most important passes for a big guy. Additionally, Jaiteh should improve his overall intensity and aggressiveness on the court. He rarely dunks the ball even when he has open looks in the paint. However, he can finish strong with two hands when the defense forces him to chose this option in order to be sure to finish it. But overall, he should go for more aggressive finishes close to the rim and not shy away as he has the body to dominate in the paint.

On the defensive end, Jaiteh has still some weaknesses. He gets stuck in screens on a regular basis but this is once again something that he will most likely learn in the next years as he is not used yet to play against professionals. Additionally, Jaiteh is a good rebounder but he is not boxing out his man on a regular basis. You can often see him follow the ball on defensive rebounding situations instead of checking his man and keeping him away from the basket. He needs to work on this if he wants to be as competitive as a rebounder on a higher level. Despite his length, Jaiteh is only an average shot blocker which can be explained by his above mentioned lack of explosiveness. The good thing though is that he has even raised his numbers when moving up from Nationale 1 to ProB this summer. This is a positive sign for the next steps that Jaiteh will make in his career.

Jaiteh is supposed to play the Nike Hoop Summit in a few weeks where he will match-up with the very athletic US team. It will be highly interesting to see if he can handle this athleticism and how he will adapt his game to the American environment. The 2m08 tall center is rumored to put his name in the NBA Draft 2013 but the recent match-ups with Rudy Gobert and Alexis Ajinca in the French Cup have shown him that it is still a long way to go and some additional steps before moving over the Atlantic would certainly not be an error.

Abdoulaye Loum came to Boulogne on loan during the season. The 1991 born forward was a last second addition to the Adidas Eurocamp last spring where he had a so-so showing not exactly knowing on what to focus during the games. The game we saw from him this season with Boulogne was quite remarkable as the the 2m08 tall player was very effective on both ends of the court. Offensively, he showed a very good three-point shot nailing 5 out of 7 attempts from behind the arc. He is shooting at 53.1% (17/32 3FGs) so far this season in ProB which is an excellent value. His mechanics look fluid even if they are not yet fully stable.

Loum is a superb athlete who plays very vertical. He can run the floor well and likes to play above the rim. However, this does not make him an outstanding rebounder on the defensive end as he has also some flaws in boxing out his man or finding good positions. But Loum is really long and can compensate his lacks in the understanding of the game with a great energy level and tentacle-like arms. Offensively, he needs to find some other options than just the three point shot as Loum was only scoring on the long-range attempts or after an offensive rebound. We could not see if he has improved his ball handling as he just went for catch-and-shoot situations when he received the ball on the three-point where he was probably waiting a bit too much instead of using his size in the paint.

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