Dennis Schroeder had been making waves in 2013, but his true arrival came at this year's Nike Hoops Summit.
He dropped 18 points and six assists in a win over Team U.S.A., a team consisting of projected top-10 picks in the 2014 NBA draft. Schroeder quickly declared in 2013 after splattering his name across NBA radars.
Schroeder has pretty much locked up a first-round bid, and will enter this year's draft as one of those trendy names capable of catapulting up boards.
Schroeder makes an impression just by standing there with a jersey on. At 6'2'' with strong shoulders and long arms, you'd think he was an NBA guard if we covered his face with a mask.
As a true point guard, Schroeder has a lightning quick first step he uses to torch perimeter defenses. He's a good athlete, but not a superstar athlete, and will need to put weight onto that 164-pound frame.
Schroeder's footwork is tremendous. He's able to change directions and speeds on a dime. Check out Schroeder tie his man's shoelaces together without making contact:
I wish I was able to control anything the way Schroeder controls the basketball. He's got a shake-and-bake handle that puts defenders on ice skates. Between that and his quickness, Schroeder can be a nightmare to stay in front of.
His hesitation dribble is deadly, which goes back to his ability to change speeds.
Here he is using the hesitation dribble off the ball screen to break down the defense and set up an easy bucket for a teammate:
Schroeder is lethal in the open floor. With room to run, he can take it the distance and get to the rack before the defense can set up.
Watch him go coast to coast, turning a potential half-court possession into an easy transition layup:
Creator and Playmaker
Because of his ability to beat his man off the dribble, Schroeder creates four-on-threes and two-on-ones. And as a willing playmaker, he's able to exploit the advantage and set up teammates for easy buckets.
Check out Schroeder burning two defenders before forcing the help and finding the open man:
Schroeder shot 40.2 percent from behind the arc for his team in Germany this year, a standout number that he'll need to translate.
What really enhances the threat Schroeder poses is his improved ability to shoot off the dribble. Given his quick first step and athleticism, he's capable of creating separation by stopping and popping. If he can convert these jumpers routinely, Schroeder could end up being one of the tougher covers out there.
Watch Schroeder knock his man off balance with the pull-up off the dribble:
Schroeder's weaknesses have been linked to his on-court maturity and decision making. This season he averaged 3.3 assists to 2.5 turnovers, not the greatest numbers in the world. However, the NBA style of play is built for Schroeder's game. He's going to have to control his urges at times and learn to efficiently quarterback the offense when the game is slowed down. Being able to control the pace of a game will be his challenge moving forward.
Finishing at the rim could also be a obstacle. At the NBA Combine, Schroeder only got off the ground for a 34-inch max vertical, while many of the other point guards registered verticals over 40 inches.
The good news for Schroeder is his promising frame and near 6'8'' wingspan, a monster number for a 6'2'' guard.
Draft Breakdown and NBA Outlook
Schroeder will be competing for draft position with guys like Shane Larkin of Miami, Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse and C.J. McCollum of Lehigh. The best thing going for Schroeder is upside.
He has all the tools in order to become a solid starting point guard. He's got the size Larkin doesn't, the shooting touch Carter-Williams lacks and the pass-first mentality McCollum needs to develop to run an offense.
Trey Burke seems to be the consensus top point guard with Michael Carter-Williams at No. 2, but Schroeder should be right in the mix as a potential late-lottery option.
Some have compared him to Rajon Rondo based off his quickness and length. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I'd bet on Schroeder becoming a household name over the next few years.