By Lilou Dupont
It’s that time of year again. The 2017/2018 season is complete, and the GMs and their organizations are looking forward to the incoming class of rookies. However, before the crazy thing called the draft gets underway, let’s first see how the best rookies from this year did in their premier season in the WBA.
Center: Bertrand Deleaucourt -Disco, age 22
Despite his young age, Deleaucourt is not a complete newbie on the professional level, having played in the IBF. That experience transferred well to the WBA as he became a valuable part of the Disco’s second unit. Spending an average of 23 minutes on the court, he got them about 8 points, 5 rebounds, and even 1.5 assists per game. He managed to achieve a couple of double-doubles and a Player of the Game in his first year. His achievements were thus recognized by his placement as a participant in the Rookie vs Sophomore Game and, of course, as the center for the All-Rookie First Team.
Forward: Amaury de Schutter – Bloods, age 20
A classic one-and-done rookie, de Schutter proved that his choice to leave collegiate ball behind was a good idea. He started for the Bloods, playing an average of 37 minutes and getting about 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. He snagged the title of Player of the Game four times during his first year and various scouts throughout the league have analyzed his game, stating that he will only get better and better as he continues to develop. He’s fast with good agility and endurance. It will be pretty exciting to see how the career of this young man from California A&E University grows.
Forward: Vitor Morales – Pirates, age 24
Another great player from the IBF, Morales started in 68 games for the Pirates, getting them about 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game. He came into the league ready to play at the WBA level. Double-doubles, in points and rebounds, were a fairly normal occurrence in his game throughout the season. He also scored the title of Player of the Game two times. With him just hitting the beginning of his prime, the Pirates have a good rebounding forward in their hands.
Guard: Victorino Pinelo – Devils, age 26
While Pinelo is much older than a traditional rookie coming out of college (he is actually the oldest rookie on either of the All-Rooke teams), the experience he received from the IBF and the D-league greatly prepared him for the transition to the WBA. His hard work and great athleticism bought him a starting position and an average of 34 minutes on Tokyo. He took the trust placed on him and gave them about 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal averages for the season. The league as a whole also recognized his skills by granting him the title of Rookie of the Month each month of the season as well as Rookie of the Year. His age and experience has been more of a boon than hinderance and from what others say, he is only looking to further improve.
Guard: Al Mueller – Xtreme, age 22
When getting toward the end of the draft, most GMs feel that the scraping of the barrel has started, and one just has to pick the best player available at the time, which normally isn’t all that great. However, Mueller seems to be the exception rather than the rule. He started in 44 games for Miami and played on average of 22 minutes, in which he scored around 10 points and had a 3-point shooting percentage of 41%. He’s a great offensive player and will continue to develop his game, especially once he figures out his inside game a bit more.
Center: Mack Patel – Hellcats, age 22
Originally drafted in 2015, Patel has been hanging out in the D-league and preparing himself for the rigorous trail of the WBA. He impressed others with his dominate inside game and amazing strength that scored him a series of awards: 24 Player of the Game titles, 1 Player of the Week, an All-League First Team position, and an All-Star appearance. Once back up in the main league, he continued to impress by getting an average of 10 points and 4 rebounds a game in 20 minutes. The awards haven’t come as easily in the WBA as in the D-league, but there is still plenty of time for this promising young man to gain the same respect of awards and respect he gained with the Sharks.
Forward: Charles Doyle – Snow Bears, age 22
Doyle, coming from Coastal State University, is a great athlete with high ranking in the four main categories of athleticism: quickness, strength, jumping, and stamina. Due to his ability as a pure athlete, he started in most of the games he played this year for the Snow Bears. In 26 minutes, he averaged about 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. He gained one Player of the Game title as well. There is definitely some potential in the young player as his skills are groomed for the Snow Bears’ style of play. Once he gets a couple more years of training camps and professional level experience, he will be able to use his strong body to Moscow’s advantage.
Forward: Lacy Toomer – Gargoyles, age 22
Even though he definitely is not the strongest or most talented defensively, Toomer provided Los Angeles a decent offensive presence averaging about 8 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist per game. Another young player as well, he has some developing to do as he adjusts to the professional style of ball from his days at Middle Oklahoma Academy. A quick power forward with nice jumping ability is always an asset to any team. Looking forward to what this young man does for the Gargoyles in the future.
Guard: Richie Reddy – Bloods, age 23
Seems like the Sydeny Bloods did pretty well on this year rookies, having two players on the All-Rookie Teams. Richie Reddy started for the Bloods all season and got the ball moving around, averaging 5 assists per game. He’s a more traditional point-guard, a pass-first-and-shoot second sort of player, instead of being like the scoring point guards who are making their mark on the league. Despite his sharing tendency, he still demands the ball from his opponents by averaging 2 defensive rebounds per game, even at the small height of 6’1. That certain must be due to his quick speed and surprising strength for a guard. With him and de Schutter on the Bloods, they have a promising future ahead of them.
Guard: Latrell McDyess – Sun Warriors, age 22
Drafted near of the end of the first round, McDyess is a good all-around athlete and player. He started a good chuck of the games for the Sun Warriors and averaged 5 points, 3 rebounds, and nearly 4 assists per game. He also managed to get a Player of the Game as well. Some may state that he was drafted a bit early since he isn’t the best shooter despite being a shooting guard, but looking beyond the surface and seeing the potential that McDyess has as a defensive and rebounding presence, he can be a great part of the Sun Warriors’ future.
Another season ended and bright futures are ahead for these fantastic rookies. The world over is excited to see how these young men continue to grow and develop into stars and leagues in their own right, for this is just the beginning.