The cycle of evaluating and scouting “Who’s Got Next?” never ends in sports. With the “French Mamba” Victor Wembanyama having made his NBA debut this week, who are the next batch of elite prospects that NBA GMs will be salivating to draft to their franchise who will excite fans around the league?
Whether it’s the “Menace from Maine” Cooper Flagg, 7-foot-4 Spaniard center at UCLA, Aday Mara, Matas Buzelis of the G-League Ignite, or A.J. Dybantsa from Boston… Here are my top five NBA prospects on the horizon:
5. Aday Mara (UCLA Bruins)-
Height: 7’3 Hometown: Zaragoza, Spain
Weight: 245 lbs Wingspan:7’7
If you thought Wembanyama was the only 7-foot plus “Alien” ready to revolutionize think again. There’s another freak of nature from Spain who just came to the States to play his college ball for the renowned UCLA Bruins, Aday Mara. A program that has produced NBA legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Gail Goodrich, Reggie Miller, & Russell Westbrook to name a few.
Mara’s measurements are preposterous, standing 7-foot-3 with a 7-foot-7 wingspan with some solid weight on his frame, already being listed at 245 lbs.
His skill set at his size is what separates him as he has a soft touch at the rim, can shoot the 15-foot jumper, as well as stretch it out to three-point range (a must in today’s game), a lethal threat in the high post, and a solid defender.
His stats might not have reflected that Casademont Zaragoza of the Liga ACB League where in 20 games of action he averaged 5.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, and a block per game in just 11.8 minutes per game shooting 60% from the field. His numbers might not pop out to you, but the talent is evident in the Spaniard giant. He showed just that at the U17’s last summer against the USA National Team where he recorded 13 points, five rebounds, and three blocks on 5-of-7 from the field while also converting on a deep three-pointer, showing his capability to stretch the floor.
Now he’s not as fluid athletically or as eloquent in his movements as Wembanyama, but he still can run the floor well and make his opponents pay in transition.
Now Mara will need to continue to get stronger as most young bigs do when they continue to transition to higher levels of competition such as the NBA in order for him to fully realize his limitless potential.
The Spaniard savant is truly an incredible talent who is one of the best young passing bigs I’ve ever seen, whether that’s from the high post, swinging the ball from one three-point corner to the other, or even passing out of double teams.
Here’s a montage of his passes below, yes his teammates missed these shots, but once he gets to the NBA level with more talented and better players those passes will end up as assists for the Spaniard giant.
Overall, since the turn of the new decade of the 2020s, it seems the new descendants of ultra-talented big men after the Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid generation are upon us in Evan Mobley, Alperen Sengun, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Victor Wembanyama, and now Aday Mara.
Comparison: Rik Smits, Marc Gasol
4. Matas Buzelis(Ignite)-
Height:6’11 Hometown: Chicago, IL
Weight:195 lbs Wingspan:6’10 1/4
Born in the basketball hotbed that is Chicago but also of Lithuanian descent is the towering 6-foot-11 forward for the NBA G-League Ignite and reigning 2022-23 Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year for Sunrise Christian with averages of 15.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game, displaying his all-around ability on the basketball court.
He can take the ball full court off the glass and push it in transition, hit the three-ball, and hit shots off the bounce. Buzelis is also very mobile and fluid for someone his size who can guard multiple positions.
He knows how to play without the ball from cutting without the ball and baseline and finishing with authority here:
Or even spotting up and knocking down threes.
Now for all Buzuelis does well, he does have faults, like all young prospects do. He’ll need to get stronger, as he has a slender frame at just 195 lbs, and will get pushed around in the paint on drives offensively and while trying to guard in the post defensively at the NBA level.
Buzuelis is athletic but not the fleetest of feet, as you wouldn’t call him an ultra-athlete. He’ll also need to continue improving his perimeter shot as well and already has a solid handle that can only get better.
He has All-Star potential.
Comparison: Franz Wagner
3.Cameron Boozer(Christopher Columbus HS, Junior)
Height: 6’9 Hometown: Miami, FL
Weight:215 lbs Wingspan: N/A
The son of former NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer, who was a beast in his own right. Cameron Boozer is considered one of the best prospects in all of high school.
He’s the reigning 2023 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year with averages of 21.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.0 blocks per game. He did that as only a sophomore in high school! He was the consensus No.1 in most scouts' eyes in the Class of 2025 until A.J. Dybantsa’s (former No.1 recruit from 2026) reclassification from 2026 to 2025.
Boozer has an NBA-ready frame already at just 16 years old, able to bully his opponents to get easy buckets in the paint and create easy shots for himself or have the defense clog the paint to help and kick out to an open teammate.
He can hit the three, finish with either hand and always seems so composed, never seeming rattled or startled by a big game or moment. Boozer is a strong rebounder and an intelligent passer who can take the ball off the glass and throw beautiful outlet passes to initiate fastbreaks.
Boozer’s former class rival Cooper Flagg (who you’ll see later on this list) has had some classic battles with NBA scouts drooling over the chance to draft one of these two in their respective drafts as they had iconic duels at the NBA Top 100 Camp this past summer as well as the Top Flight Championship recently.
He’s not a top-notch athlete but is mobile enough that he can play above the rim and has long arms and good instincts defensively to be an impactful defender as well.
Comparison: Paolo Banchero
2. AJ Dybantsa (Prolific Prep, Junior)
Height:6’8 Hometown: Brockton, MA
Weight: 196 lbs Wingspan: N/A
Dybantsa is a 16-year-old 6-foot-8, 196 lb small forward wing with the arms of a Deinocheirus, measuring with a nearly 7’0 wingspan… And he’s not even close to being done growing!
He attacks the basket with ferocity like a Giannis Antetokounmpo, displaying his elite athletic ability, and willingness to seek and play through contact. Hustles on defense by guarding the opposing team's best player Kawhi Leonard, and has a smooth offensive game like Kevin Durant.
At Saint Sebastian’s last season as a freshman, Dybantsa showed his ability by averaging 19.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game en route to being named the Massachusetts Boys’ Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year where he led his team to the NEPSAC Class A state championship, but lost in a 77-76 nail biter to Milton Academy.
Dybantsa took his production to a higher level on the EYBL circuit at the Nike Peach Jam this past summer for the Expressions Elite, producing a stat line of 25.8 points (led Peach Jam), 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
Whether it’s hitting a casual rhythm three, which he’s done a million times in workouts, taking the ball coast to coast off the rim and finishing strong in transition, or creating an easy shot for a teammate, Dybantsa is truly a special prospect who seems destined for greatness.
Comparison: Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard
1. Cooper Flagg (Montverde Academy), Senior
Height:6’8 Hometown: Newport, Maine
Weight:200 lbs Wingspan:N/A
I mean who else would be the top overall prospect on NBA radars over the next couple of years? He’s the best prospect in the world and it’s not particularly close. He was the second-best long-term prospect outside the NBA after Wembanyama before he was drafted into the NBA.
Even one anonymous NBA scout said Flagg is a mixture of NBA stars from Giannis, Jayson Tatum, Franz Wagner, and Paul George… Talk about a freak combination of the most powerful wing in the league in Giannis and some of the most skilled players in the world to round out the list.
Flagg is a smalltown kid from Newport, Maine who is a profoundly unique and special prospect from most of my time watching prospects, as he stands at 6-foot-8, 200 lbs with long arms, is a fluid explosive athlete, and has a tremendous basketball IQ that’s more advanced than others his age.
This summer Flagg has seemed to take his game to an even higher level on the Nike EYBL 16U circuit, averaging an otherwordly 26.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 4.5 blocks per contest through 17 games.
In Memphis Flagg continues to light up the competition… Here are some of his stats:
27 points, 17 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals against Indy Heat
45 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals against Team United
12 points, 17 rebounds, 8 assists, and 12 blocks against Team Durant
25 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals against Phenom University
That’s not even including his best performance ever, and the Nike EYBL 16U single-game record when he scored 52 points on 16-of-18 from the field (89%), 4-of-5 from three (80%), and 16-of-20 from the free throw line (80%).
Those are NBA superstar numbers from a 16-year-old who makes the competition on the circuit look pedestrian compared to him.
Flagg reclassified from the 2025 class where he was ranked No.2 behind Boozer, to the 2024 class where he easily was placed atop the rankings as the No.1 overall player, and the favorite to go first overall in the 2025 NBA Draft.
He’s a transcendent talent with an unquenchable drive to win who plays relentlessly on both ends of the court and does things that no one else can do as a prospect coming up the draft pipeline in the next couple of years on both ends of the court.
If he continues to get stronger, tighten up his handle, and jump shot, it’s over for the opposition. He has the defense of Andrei Kirilenko and Scottie Pippen, with the offensive smoothness of George and Durant… Gear up ladies and gentlemen, because the Flagg hype is about to get real over the next two years.
The “Menace From Maine” is coming.