Adama Bal and the NBA

We thought this might happen, though at least he is retaining college eligibility for now. He is still a 2nd rounder on many draft boards. And it would be neat for SCU to go 3/3 in as many years on NBA picks. Recruits with those aspirations will take notice.


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Addition by subtraction for SCU? I like Bal, but the iso game was exhausting to watch


I agree somewhat. Except that I think that Bal being told that he needs to work on POA defense and team offense to realize his NBA dreams could bring him back as an incredible player for SCU. It just depends on whether he will develop his game to eliminate his weakest points with another season of heavy minutes. And Bal is still very young for a junior, so playing another season doesn’t get him slapped with the “old” label that leads a lot of front offices to pass on talented senior players.

I think this is a win-win for SCU in the long run. Either Bal comes back with redoubled effort to showcase his NBA talent by patching the holes in his game. Or he gets drafted in the 2nd round, and SCU starts becoming a major destination for extremely talented players left on the bench at elite programs. And that latter bit might be what SCU needs to overcome considerable NIL gaps with some of the big dogs.

Best of luck to Adama, either way. I have to imagine, like Podz, he is grateful to SCU for giving him the opportunity to show how good he can be.


Not surprised.
These announcements almost always sound like the player is gone but the: ‘retaining college eligibility’ is key. Many players test the waters but decide to return…GU’s Anton Watson comes to mind.

Here’s the thing…a player doesn’t need all 30 NBA teams to believe in their potential; all they need is for one team to see something in them.

If Bal gets some strong interest from a team or two, even if not a 1st round guarantee, that may be enough for him to go. That doesn’t mean he’ll have a Jalen or Podz first year impact…a two-way contract and/or going back-forth between G League and NBA is more likely.


Isn’t this more of a Herb problem than a Adama Bal problem?

Genuinely asking.

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Bal is not on the list of the 78 prospects invited to the NBA combine. That’s a pretty good sign of how he’s currently viewed by teams. To stay in the draft would be crazy.

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Are we not at 14, one over the alotted 13 scholarships, if Adama returns and with the addition of Carlos?

“There is always money in the Banana Stand.”

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Yes. But we had 14 last year because CMJ took a walk-on spot. I assume someone will be doing the same this year, and they’ve already identified who it is. I assume the player gets their scholarship covered with NIL money, but I have no inside knowledge.


The scenario could be what Patty has described. Or…Bal could be planning to turn pro regardless and roll the dice, plan (hope) on getting on a summer league roster (which shouldn’t be hard), show well, land a free agent contract or training camp deal and hope to stick with a team, maybe on a 2-way contract with G-league.
Or similar to Willy Caruso, Bal could head back to France; as a European national he’ll have more opportunities, particularly in France, compared to North American guys. I imagine he’d be a candidate for top level league and make OK $, and maybe more than he’d make in the G-league. The details may vary from league to league in each country but I believe all or most have roster limits on foreign nationals or non-Europeans so there are fewer roster spots for non-Europeans and so harder for those non-Europeans to land spots in the top national leagues.

There are multiple paths for guys to realize their pro ball dreams…4 years in college isn’t the best or right path for everyone.

We’ll know soon enough, players have until May 29th to withdraw from the draft and maintain college eligibility.

Frankly, I’d be surprised if Bal returns. I’d think inside or first-hand knowledge from the guys on the roster played a hand in everyone else returning. Would Kosy have changed his mind and returned if he thought Bal was likely to return??? If Bal returns it would add to the playing time log jam at the 2 and 3 spots: Bal, Mahi, Bryan, Ensminger, Kosy, Hammond…6 guys all vying for / sharing 80mins of playing time; you’d have to think Bal/Mahi/Bryan would suck up 75 if not all 80 of those minutes, leaving others with crumbs of minutes. Not to mention Carlos can certainly play the 2 and O’Neil could play some at the 3, adding to the PT crunch. We could see some no PG lineups as we did last year (ie- Bal, Bryan, Mahi) but then that cuts in to available PT for Carlos and Knapper at the 1. Bottom line, their simply isn’t room to play 13 or 14 guys, let alone 11 or 12 guys with regular and decent mins (say at least 8mins a piece).

Related note…both Ajayi and Mogbo made the combine list.
No surprise there, both have legit NBA potential IMO.

Neither are included in this mock draft: 2024 NBA Mock Draft: Lottery Simulation and Full 2-Round Predictions | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

But that could change if they show and measure well at the combine.
Could see either or both as 2nd rounders with maybe outside chance of late 1st round if they wow in workouts.

Also note a familiar name in the mock draft…Jalen’s bro Cody at #11.


I hear you, 92. I think Bal stays in the end. For one, the school is still promoting him as being part of the returning group. Maybe that’s just cautious optimism or hope, but the coaching staff, I assume, has the best idea of what his intentions are day-to-day and seem to think he’s staying if not being drafted.

He’s also different from Caruso in an important respect: he’s a legit NBA prospect. Willie wasn’t and basically was best served by setting himself up for the best Euro contract he could.

Bal has the physical makeup and athleticism to be an NBA guard/wing and on a good contract. And while it’s possible to jump from a top euro league to the NBA, it’s harder. He will have a much easier time getting NBA-prospect exposure in college than in a euro league. And he knows that SCU is going to give him a lot of playing time, so he’s coming back to a cushy situation insofar as getting Jalen or Podz attention. The scouts will be at a handful of SCU games to see him, and he’ll get the touches he will need to impress.

He might just have a shot at the lottery if he makes a reasonable jump from last season. I’m operating under his assumption that is his goal and, if it is, I think he’s better off coming back to SCU to make that happen. The Europe and G-League doors are still open if he returns, but the NBA door may close a little if he goes to Europe or takes a lesser NBA contract a year earlier than he should.

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Patty’s eternally optimistic so that view / take on Bal isn’t surprising.

I’m just not as sold on Bal as others and appears most NBA guys weren’t either if they didn’t invite him to the combine.

It’s a team sport and the objective is to win and I don’t think Bal plays winning basketball consistently, at least not yet. Both Jalen and Podz checked nearly all the boxes you want to see in a prospect…not as ‘maybe’ or future potential, but via demonstrated production in college. Bal hasn’t done that.
Bal lacks strength and physicality and shies away from contact, the complete opposite of Podz. If he was only a frosh I could see that characteristic changing but he’s a 3rd year guy heading to a 4th. Bal tended to wilt and disappear against the better teams, especially the more physical ones; looked terrible against SMC’s physical D in the WCC tourney.

And re: Bal’s physical gifts, length and athleticism…I see all those gifts, but what does he do with them??? He should impact the game more significantly in a variety ways but doesn’t. The length helps him get off his floaters and tear drops in the key but that’s about it. The length and athleticism should allow him to rebound well…but he doesn’t. He should be a lock down defender…but he isn’t. He should block some shots and finish with dunks at the rim…but rarely does.
Beyond that on the skills side, he had a proclivity to get loose and sloppy with both his ball handling and passing. A lot bad habits including ill advised one-handed, long cross-court passes that got stolen or deflected.
Just a lot of red flags that would give me pause if I were an NBA scout. But that’s my take…if he returns to the Broncos, I hope he proves me wrong. Maybe he’ll clean up a lot of his weaknesses and show progress but he has a lot of work to do.


I’m 100% with you on each and every one of these observations. I’m disappointed he was not earmarked for the combine. I’m not going to fake it - my heart of hearts says our chances of SCU long-term success and NCAA playoff contention was better without him coming back. (If the SAME Bal returns).

This is said out of constructive criticism. Clearly the NBA has the same sentiments and if that is his net goal - Bal would do well to listen and learn. And that part gives me HOPE he will adjust/improve. An improved Bal would improve chances vs current Bal who hinders.

To summarize: if he is coming back - I hope he works on each and every one of these shortcomings. Because collectively they add. Good players win games. Great players win championships.


Three of the guys this year are all former teammates or opponents of Cam.
Alex Karaban - great role player. Sniper on the 3-point if you leave him open. Decent defender. Alex should be a solid guy in whatever program pursues him.
Kyle Filipowski surprises me. He was light work for Cam in every matchup throughout their High School years. Guessing Duke worked on that. TBH, I have not followed his college career.
Tyler Kolek surprises me the most! He was a one-dimensional player. Again, I admit I have not followed him either - so be interesting to see how they have evolved the past 4 years.

As for Bronny James. Does anyone else agree this was more for his dad? I think Bronny needs to develop more overall. But its pretty likely dad will retire after this season.


Other than those in the James household, just about everyone agrees Bronny isn’t good enough at the moment.


LeBron has expressed interest in the past in playing with his son.
If he stays in the draft, the Bronny situation will be interesting to watch. Would a team draft him in the 2nd round as part of a strategy to draw/entice LeBron via trade???
Or you could see some competition or fighting over him to sign as an undrafted free agent as a similar strategy to draw LeBron.


More on Bal and draft. Bal was invited to the G League Elite camp as part of a group of 44. Sort of the Tier 2 of draft camps. May 11th, ahead of the NBA’s draft combine.
There’s no set # but apparently the the top 6-8 performers at the G-league camp typically get invited to the NBA combine. So added to the 78 invited to the NBA, that’s ~85 players at the combine for 58 draft slots. (I have no idea why there are only 58 draft slots in a 30 team league, suspect certain teams had to forfeit a draft pick for whatever reason).
44 Prospects Invited To G League Elite Camp | Hoops Rumors

Interesting. I noticed at least 4 in 78 current invites are from G-League Ignite. I cannot believe Anton Watson is on that list and not the original 78. Talk about an all-around player who has been overlooked - it is this guy.


Bal gets selected for a pre-draft workout with Golden State:

There’s not too much to read into this, in my opinion. Foster, Brownridge, and Justice all got pre-draft workouts and went undrafted ultimately. But it’s a good opportunity for Adama to, at minimum, get feedback if he does come back to college. I assume that most of the flaws that we see in his game are largely the things he will hear about in all of the pre-draft rituals which will hopefully make him a better player if he chooses to return.

And if not, having three guys drafted in consecutive years would be pretty darn cool for a school like SCU. I still don’t think he takes an opportunity other than NBA/college, but as 92 said, I’m the eternal optimist around here.

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