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TREVISO, ITALY—As a shot-blocker, Michael Fusek’s timing is impeccable, impressive, perhaps even NBA-caliber. During his 2016-17 campaign with Spirou Charleroi in Belgium’s top league, Fusek swatted away 9.7 percent of opponents’ shots while he was on the floor.
By comparison, Utah’s Rudy Gobert led the NBA with a block percentage of 6.4 percent this past season. But as a prospect who hopes to someday compete on the same courts as Gobert, Fusek’s timing is off. If he were 18 or 19 years old, the NBA might salivate over the potential packed into his spindly frame, the fluidity with which he runs at 7’4”, the touch with which he tosses hook shots through twine. But at 22—closer in age to a second-round senior than any of the college freshmen set to dominate the top of the 2017 NBA draft—Fusek is more project than prodigy, a gamble rather than a guarantee.
“The potential is smaller with every month,” says Kamil Rerabek, one of Fusek’s agents, “because the time is running and you cannot stop the age.” Still, there was no missing him at Adidas Eurocamp last weekend. Last year, he was named the top center at the annual showcase in Treviso, Italy. This year, he was tabbed as the top defender while flashing a knack for passing that had a former NBA coach in attendance calling him “Magic Mike.” “You cannot coach height,” one Western Conference scout based in Europe told Bleacher Report.AcceptReject