Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Ike Anigbogu – C – Freshman – UCLA
Weight: 252 lbs
Age: 18 years & 6 months
Projected: 21 (DraftExpress) 21 (CPP Big Board) 28 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: Who is Ike Anigbogu? Being overshadowed by UCLA studs Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf this past season, Ike Anigbogu did not hear his name mentioned a lot by the media. The freshman physical freak was not in the starting rotation for UCLA and was behind Thomas Welsh in the Bruins depth chart. As a result, Anigbogu was not able to show what he could do because of his lack of minutes. As a 4-star recruit, ranked 60 in the 2016 ESPN 100, Anigbogu knew that he was not going to see equal minutes as Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, but knew he could make an impact for UCLA by giving them depth. In 29 games this past season for the Bruins, Anigbogu averaged 13 MPG, 4.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. For averaging just 13 minutes a game, Ike Anigbogu proved to everyone that he was a powerful rebounder and crazy shot blocker. His per 40 stats are also very intriguing with 14.5 PPG, 12.4 RPG, and 3.7 BPG. At the combine, Ike Anigbogu was measured with a wingspan of 7’6 ¼”, one of the largest at the combine, and weighed in 20 pounds larger than he was at the end of the season. Ike Anigbogu is not going to be an offensive superstar, he never was, but can become a very well polished, physical, and defensive center in the NBA.
Strengths: Perhaps Ike Anigbogu’s greatest strength, which has lots of NBA personnel intrigued, is his frame and stature. He has long arms as I mentioned early and has a very strong lower body. Unlike many big guys, Anigbogu is very light on his feet and is surprisingly fast off his feet. In today’s NBA, teams are looking for quick and agile big men now that can play at a fast tempo and can run the floor. Ike Anigbogu showed these attributes multiple times throughout this past season. Offensively, Ike Anigbogu does not have a great jump shot, but makes a living off the offensive glass. Rebounding is really the forte of Anigbogu’s skill sets. With an enormous frame (250 lbs) and a lot of lower body strength, Anigbogu can box-out opponents with ease and draws a lot of attention from his opponents. Near the end of UCLA’s season, teams started doubling Anigbogu when a shot went up, just so they could box him out and attempt to get the rebound from him. There is no doubt in my mind that Anigbogu’s rebounding success will continue in the NBA against some of the world’s best rebounders.
Weaknesses: There is no arguing that Ike Anigbogu could be the best rebounding center in this draft class, but offensively, he struggles. He shot 56.4% from the floor at UCLA and 53.5% from the free-throw line. Anigbogu is in the early stages of developing a mid-range jumper and is a long way away from being a threat from long range. A clear weakness for Ike Anigbogu is his ability to catch the ball in the paint. Anything thrown above his head, he will catch and throw it down, but from his shoulders down, Anigbogu is 50-50 on whether or not he will fumble the pass. When he does catch the pass, he is very erratic at the rim and sometimes tries to show off rather then get the easy points. When matched with a player of equal athleticism and strength, which he will be in the NBA, Anigbogu’s lack of touch becomes an issue. Another major weakness for Anigbogu is his interior-post game. He shot 30.4% on post plays this past season, partly because of his lack of touch. Ike Anigbogu’s underdeveloped and mechanical footwork is also worrisome for NBA scouts and struggles at times being called for a travel. Ike Anigbogu’s skills offensively are not impressive at all and could lead to him sliding out of the first-round.
Comparison: Tristan Thompson
Ike Anigbogu has all the defensive tools and strength necessary to become a bigger, stronger, and better version of Tristan Thompson who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only is Anigbogu heavier and taller than Thompson, but he also has a much longer wingspan which could make him a better defender than Thompson is. In the NBA this season, Thompson averaged 9.3 RPG and 1.0 BPG. Overall, Tristan Thompson is a better baseline and interior finisher offensively, but rebounding wise, Ike Anigbogu may be equal with Thompson. For the Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson is vital for grabbing defensive rebounds and gaining second chance opportunities. If Ike Anigbogu can enter the league and start playing defensively like Tristan Thompson and throw down alley-oops from teammates, he will have a long and wealthy career as an NBA center.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: