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Scouting report on Cal basketball offer Ignas Brazdeikis

Will the forward land in Berkeley for the 2018-19 season?

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament California vs Utah Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

6’8” forward Ignas Brazdeikis is a rising high school senior who plans to enter college for the 2018-19 season. He was born in Kaunas, Lithuania but later moved to Canada. He now plays for Orangeville/Athlete Institute Prep in the province of Ontario, leading the team to a 21-2 record in 2016-17. Brazdeikis is considered one of the finest high school players in the region and has drawn interest from many programs. In fact, Eric Bossi of Rivals remarked that he might rank within the top 50 players in his class if he played stateside. The California Golden Bears made him an offer last month, but he has received many other appeals from schools such as Michigan, Vanderbilt, USC, and Florida. Asked about when he’ll make a decision, Brazdeikis responded: “I’m thinking after the summer probably.” It didn’t hurt that he won the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association’s MVP award, either.

Brazdeikis is partial to the step-back, which allows him to create space and swish a suddenly open jumper. Even his ball handling can be flashy, as he’s not afraid to go behind the back to fool his defender. Other times, he simply chooses to blow by his man for the lay-in. Brazdeikis is so shifty close to the hoop that even double teams can fail to stop him. Add to that a budding post game and you have a player who is very difficult to guard.

He has a diverse arsenal, including an underhand scoop shot off the dribble and subsequent spin. Brazdeikis will show off his range, but not at the expense of making easy buckets when the opportunities became available. While he likes to drive to the hoop in the process of creating his own shot, Brazdeikis employs a quick catch and shoot motion that can lead to assists for teammates willing to get him the ball.

The clip above is from a March 18 game in which Brazdeikis tallied an eye-opening 50 points. Offensive talents aside, Brazdeikis has also been heavily recruited for his excellent defense. He has shot blocking prowess and has already picked up the coveted “two-way player” label from scouts. According to his high school coach Nathan Johnson: “He’s just blossoming into the player we all knew he would be."

The player who calls himself Iggy made a name for himself at the 2016 FIBA Under-17 Championship, scoring 27 points and grabbing 13 rebounds per 40 minutes of play. While polished in terms of his skill level, Brazdeikis will need to continue building strength in order to have major success at the next level. He’s listed at 200 pounds but is not considered an elite athlete. Nevertheless, he’s a solid four-star prospect.

Brazdeikis has also suited up for CIA Bounce, a Nike Elite Youth Basketball team. He has been one of the top scorers in the entire league alongside teammate Simi Shittu. For example, in a recent EYBL win over Team Melo on April 21, those two were the only scorers on the team to reach double figures. Brazdeikis posted 18 points while Shittu finished with 13. When asked about the group dynamic, he praised his teammate: “We have great chemistry as a team. The coaches really know how to use my ability offensively. Attacking the basket, shooting the three, posting up. Playing with a guy like Simi for a long time really helps.”

Brazdeikis’ strength is making defenders make mistakes, which not coincidentally is a common occurrence when he plays. On April 29, he had a whopping 42 of his team’s 82 points on 14-25 shooting in a game against Seattle Rotary Style. Brazdeikis shot 50.4% from the field, 30% from distance, and 71% from the charity stripe in EYBL play. He averaged 22.4 points over 15 contests, which is especially impressive given the low-scoring nature of many games.