College coaches are always looking for new names to recruit. One new prospect to the coaches and the United States is 6-foot-9 forward Sandro Mamukelashvili.
Mamukelashvili, who just turned 17, landed in the U.S. about a month ago and immediately hit the trail, participating in a Hoop Group event and then at the prestigious Nike Skills Academy, which was held in Hawthorne (Calif.).
“I was born in New York, but my father and mother are from the country of Georgia, it’s a small country in Europe, next to Russia,” Mamukelashvili told Scout at the Skills Academy. “I lived there 14 years of my life. Then I went to play at Angelico in Italy.”
“It was a huge step,” he added. “I’m 12 hours far from my house and it’s more difficult for my parents to come visit me.”
Mamukelashvili will finish his high school career at Montverde (Fla.) Academy. He said the purpose for the move was to help his progression on the court and give him more exposure off of it.
“I think for me to develop better and go to the next level, it was a very good step,” he said. “I did everything I could in Italy. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to showcase my self. [Nike Skills Academy] is my first camp. I’m very nervous, but I will do the best I can and show everyone that I’m capable of playing with these guys.
Mamukelashvili has good size and mobility. During camp, he played with good effort, consistently ran the floor and showed an ability to step out on the perimeter and make jump shots.
“Everybody calls me a big guy, but I don’t like playing like a big guy,” he said. “I like passing the ball. I like grabbing rebounds and pushing in transition and finding guys. I like shooting threes and getting to the rim. My favorite thing is to get an assist.”
Mamukelashvili participated in the adidas Next Generation event in late December. Playing for Stella Azzurra, Mamukelashvili averaged 14.5 points and 5.3 rebounds through three games.
Schools are beginning to find out about Mamukelashvili.
“Some of them, but I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’ve never thought about college basketball before. I don’t even know what colleges are looking at me right now. My coaches said there are a lot colleges interested in me.”
According to Frank Holloway, the Associate Head Coach at Montverde, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, Louisville, South Carolina and SMU are among the schools that have shown interest in Mamukelashvili.null