While the talent pool in Europe is lacking this year, especially compared to last year's draft class, many teams are in consensus that Seraphin and Donatas Motiejunas are the cream of the crop and both are worthy of first-round consideration. The Cholet Basket product is still trying to discover his offensive game, but at just 20 years old he has developed enough athleticism to have teams feeling that it won't be long before he will contribute at the NBA level.
A native of Cayenne in French Guiana, a colony on the northern coast of South America, he spent most of his youth playing soccer. Seraphin has spent most of his basketball life on the junior circuit. He began playing organized basketball with Mony Joly (Poiters) in 2005 and was later recruited by Cholet junior team coach Jean-Francois Martin. From 2006-09, he resided at the Cholet Basket Training Center, seeing one game of brief action in the French A League (also called French Ligue Nationale de Basketball) in 2007-08.
The following season, Seraphin competed in 19 games with the parent club. He averaged 9.3 minutes, 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during the 2008-09 campaign, but showed enough in limited playing time to be elevated full-time to the A League roster the following year.
In 2009, Seraphin was named to the All-Tournament team of the FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship 2009 after helping France to win the silver medal. He was also chosen the best center prospect in that tournament. At the Nike Hoop Summit, he helped the foreign team defeat the U.S. squad, 97-89.
Seraphin then appeared in a total of 37 games for Cholet Basket in 2009-10, including six contests in Eurocup action and 31 in the French League. He averaged 6.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots in Eurocup competition.
With the parent club, he made 52.2% of his field goals, averaging 6.2 points per game. He pulled down 135 rebounds, handed out 17 assists and blocked 28 shots. Playing near mistake-free ball, he was charged with just two turnovers in 488 minutes of action. Hoping to improve his level of competition, he announced in April, 2010 that he was making himself eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft.
Positives: Seraphin is still a work in progress, but it is his athleticism that impresses teams the most He has very good court speed for a big man (3.23 3/4 court sprint) and has a 7'3" wingspan that he utilizes with good effectiveness to alter shots and easily put the ball back in off the offensive glass Times his leaps well and can get high above the rim when playing defense Very mobile running the floor, with the lateral agility to stay in front of the shooter His offensive game is limited to five feet from the basket, but he finishes strong charging to the rim and has shattered a few backboards with his emphatic dunks Has a well-defined, muscular frame with room to add more bulk for a future move to center, but with his quickness, he could earn decent minutes at power forward right now (more likely to be drafted and then asked to spend another year in Europe to continue his offensive progress) Versatile athlete with the power to bang the boards at center or power forward Has developed effective post moves and can take the defenders off the dribble and to the rim Moves well without the ball and is a decent offensive rebounder and shot blocker, showing the court vision, timing and elevation to get to the rim in a hurry for put-backs Has good footwork in the post and uses his body well to impede the opponent's inside shot Plays better facing the basket, rolling nicely to the rim, looking for space underneath to get defensive position Has large, soft hands and uses them well to finish in transition when running the floor Has a nice touch working down low, but also demonstrates good spin moves to score on the layup Is still a work in progress as far as utilizing his body to box out the opponent, but shows good coordination moving up and down the court When he gets close to the basket, his money move is usually a right-handed semi-hook shot Not a great dribbler, but will put the ball on the floor in order to come closer to the basket Has the lateral quickness and understanding for taking proper defensive angles and shows good balance trying to squeeze through tight areas Likes to get physical in the low post and keeps his hands active while getting into proper position when executing rotations Shows good off-the-ball movement skills on the pick-&-roll and is effective at setting screens Shows no hesitation when asked to face up and defend against the layup (will get hit with costly fouls when he gets too wild swinging his hands in the air, though) Has the agility and range from either side, along with good quickness to beat the lethargic center when penetrating Generally shows good positioning and lateral quickness handling defensive changes Team-oriented player who is unselfish with the ball and will not hesitate to sacrifice his body diving for loose balls.
Negatives: Has just one season under his belt in which he received decent playing time and a team drafting him might benefit by leaving him in Europe for another season to work on his overall game Plays strictly on instincts and needs more court minutes to see if he will develop basketball IQ Best shooting in close range, as his slow release and poor mid-range accuracy make him a liability taking jumpers at the perimeter Struggled with defensive rotations early in the 2009 season, but once he gained valuable playing time in the second half, he seemed more alert to positioning and using his body to alter shots Struggles at times with his back to the basket and might be a better fit at power forward than center Needs to refine his mechanics at the free throw line and unless he is scoring on dunks or put-backs, his release seems very deliberate, inviting a bigger, more physical NBA forward to get in his face and alter his shots.
Compares To: SERGE IBAKA, Oklahoma City -- Seraphin's athleticism makes him as enticing as Ibaka was to OKC last year, but he is not as advanced as Ibaka showed in limited action last year. He also reminds some of the Nuggets' Nene, as he has that freakish athleticism and length that a patient coach would love to develop, but Seraphin is still very raw in basketball experience. He might be better served spending another season in familiar surroundings in France, honing all aspects of his game, but he showed late in the 2009-10 season that he has lots of promise. His offensive game is strictly near the basket and he might never develop a mid-range jumper to force big men to come out of the paint to defend vs. him.
--Report by Dave-Te' Thomas
Seraphin played in a total of 37 games - 31 with the parent club in French Pro A League competition and six contests in the Eurocup Combined, he logged 608 minutes on the court, playing mostly in the pivot Scored 232 points (6.3 ppg), as he made 102-0f-196 field goals (52.0%) and 28-of-49 free throws (57.1%) Registered 174 rebounds (4.7 rpg), grabbing 74 from the offensive glass Registered 19 assists (0.5 apg) with 35 blocked shots (0.9 bpg) and seven steals Turned the ball over just 10 times Scored in double figures eight times Started his last nine games, scoring in double figures in four of those contests.
Played in 19 games with Cholet in the French A League, seeing action for an average of 9.3 minutes per game Finished with averages of 3.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.7 blocked shots per game Made 53.2% of his field goals and 63.6% of his shots from the foul line.
Seraphin spent the 2005-06 season with Mony Joly (Poiters) as a forward In 2006-07, he joined the Cholet Basket Training Center, remaining there until 2009 Was a member of the French Cadet U-16 squad in 2006-07 and played center for the junior Major Hopes unit in 2007-08 He was named the best center in the European Championship Under-20 competition, held in Rhodes, Greece in 2008-09, helping lead the French team to a silver medal In 2009, he played in the Nike Hoop Summit, where his team defeated the U.S. squad, 97-89, as Seraphin scored eight 8 points, grabbing eight boards and blocking four shots for the international team He was also in the French team that lost the Euro-Challenge final to Bologna, 77-75.
Born 12/07/89 in Cayenne, French Guiana.