When it comes to a high school prospect being compared to the seemingly incomparable Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, naturally that lofty comparison is going to be met with skepticism.
Then, I turned on the tape, and WOW. This kid’s game is complete! He blew me away!
Meet Gus Yalden, a class of 2023 prospect who plays for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. He’s one of the hottest rising prospects in his class and once you turn on the tape it’s easy to see why.
While it may seem a little too early to compare such a young kid to an NBA MVP, you can see the comparisons in playing style. Soon, big men who can hit the mid-range shot and pass like a point guard could become a lot more commonplace in today’s game.
Yalden also carries himself with a maturity beyond his years, which is why he’s garnering attention from some of the better hoops programs in the country, including Wisconsin, Florida State, Louisville, Illinois and Iowa, among many others.
Check his highlight tape below:
Sure, he’s got a long way to go, but already you can see the feel for the game, the ability to protect the ball and dish to the open man either under the basket or out on the wings, the ability to run the fast break, and even a nifty assortment of up-and-under offensive moves reminiscent of the great Kevin McHale.
Another thing I love about this kid is he’s very willing to take charges.
He doesn’t mind doing the dirty work on defense, either.
He has some incredibly crafty moves around the basket with his layups and short floaters. The Wisconsin native shows very good body control in the painted area when angling his body to get his shot up.
The “Gus Bus” is also an amazing passer. The kid can really shoot it from deep, too.
Made a stop in Cedar Rapids, IA @CourtsideFilms_ camp on Saturday… Had a great road trip, met amazing coaches, saw beautiful campuses, and learned a ton…headed back to k-town to get back to work @KearneyCrossFit pic.twitter.com/9TUkuJFJe0
— gusbus (@gusbus2023) June 14, 2021
Nicknamed “The Gus Bus,” Yalden is currently rated a four-star prospect in the class of 2023 according to 247sports.com.
He already has 19 scholarship offers, including one from the Louisville Cardinals who were the most recent team to offer.
He’s from Appleton, Wisconsin and you can tell from previous interviews that he really loves the Badgers.
The 247sports Crystal Ball Prediction has him as 100% going to Greg Gard’s squad, and that’s a perfect fit as far as I’m concerned.
Wisconsin has had a great many solid, high basketball IQ big men, but few possess the same feel for the game that this youngster has — and he’s still got plenty of years to add strength, size, skills, and to test his mettle against top competition.
He does need to bulk up to battle the grown men that populate the Big Ten Conference currently, but he should get there.
At 6-foot-8, 240 pounds as a sophomore in high school, Yalden is not done growing yet.
Time will tell where he ends up but one thing is for certain, this kid is destined for big things on the hardwood.
You can follow the “Gus Bus” on Twitter @GusBus2023.
Remember this kid’s name!
Doppelgänger ? https://t.co/j3bgLqFnfz
— gusbus (@gusbus2023) June 9, 2021