Alexander Kaun has emerged as one of the top post targets in the United States after impressive performances on the AAU circuit this summer. That could be considered an astonishing feat for a player that, according to his coach, has only been playing organized hoops for two years. However, when you take into account his size and excellent athletic ability, it's easy to see why the college coaches across the country are drooling. Kaun's coach at Florida Air Academy, Aubin Goporo, mentioned that the attention his player has received thus far is well deserved. "Sasha has only been playing for 2 years so he is improving everyday. He works extremely hard and is very easy to teach. He's working on improving his offense facing the basket. He's already excellent with his back to the basket and has great post moves. Plus, he runs the floor better than just about any big man out there."
Kaun establishes position in the post.
I watched Kaun play 3 times recently and the assessment given by his coach is very accurate. Kaun gets up and down the floor quicker than most of his peers. If he ever hooks up with a good point guard he'll get a ton of points filling the lane as the trailer in transition. He also establishes a good base when settling into post position and makes himself a really big target for the entry pass. It appears as though he's still getting a feel for the offensive game because he did throw the ball out of the post a little too quickly at times. However, when he decided to go up with the shot he converted at a high percentage courtesy of a good drop step and a nice back down/ turn-around game.
Kaun backs in vs. Lionel "Train" Sullivan
One of the areas he needs the most improvement in is his offensive positioning. He often set up too far outside of the paint. That rendered him offensively ineffective at times. It also nullified his board presence. Team Florida Coach Tom Topping indicated to me at the Nike MDC that they are working on the young Russian's aggression on the court. "I'm working with him on being more assertive out there. He's still learning how the game is played over here, but he'll pick it up." I saw him match up with Kalen Grimes at the Nike MDC and Kaun was rendered virtually ineffective in the paint in both scoring and rebounding. He wasn't use to dealing with such a physical presence. However, he came back the next day and turned up his intensity versus Ronald Coleman and The Family. He set up closer to the basket and crashed the boards a bit more in that contest.
Kaun tries to establish position vs. Kalen Grimes
The nuances of the game will all come in time for Kaun. The fact of the matter is he has traits that can't be taught. He' almost 7', extremely agile, and is a super bright kid. As an athlete Kaun puts me in the mind of a few other athletic big men…, namely Chris Mihm and Chris Kaman. His offense isn't nearly as advanced as that of those two players when they were in college. That said, he brings all of their physical tools to the table. This young man has "through the roof" potential and all the big time coaches from around the country have recognized it.
Included below are excepts from conversations I've had with both Coach Goporo and Sasha himself.
From Coach Goporo
What parts of his game does he need to improve upon the most?
"He needs to work on catching the ball in the post and his face-up game. He needs work on his jumper and I've been working on those things with him since the season ended."
Tell about Michigan's visit with him.
"Coach Amaker came down with Coach Swenson during the visit period and really impressed Sasha. Coach Amaker blew him away with how he carried himself and how he sold the program. They offered him a scholarship. It really could not have gone any better for Michigan."
What do you think will be the most significant factors in his decision?
"He's a very smart kid so he won't be looking for a school with just a good basketball program. He also wants a school with good academics. His list is still a little long for my liking but he told me that all he knew about the schools on his list right now was what kind of basketball programs they had. He said that he wanted to get on campus so he could see what the schools have to offer academically. His relationship with the head coach will also play a huge roll."
What are his remaining plans this summer?
"He'll be attending the NBA Players Camp later this month and The Nike All-American camp next month."
From Alexander "Sasha" Kaun
When will you take your official visits?
"I won't be taking them until the fall."
Tell me about your contact with Michigan.
"The head coach came down to visit me and I really liked him a lot. He told me about the program and I think that's one of the schools I will visit."
Do you plan on making a decision during fall or spring signing period?
"I'll probably make my decision in the fall after my visits."
What will be the most significant factors in your decision?
"Of course the basketball will be a big factor. I'll also be looking at the people at the school, especially the head coach.:
(And for one of the all time dumb questions!) Have you ever seen snow before?
"I live in Florida now, but I'm originally from Russia!"(laughing)
We'll have more from Sasha in the coming months.
Alexander Kaun Scouting Report and Update
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