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Trentyn Flowers: Rising Above, Down Under
After a somewhat rough start to his NBL season, Trentyn Flowers is focused on his NBA future. INCLUDING: Insights from Stephen's interview with the Next Star. PLUS: Notes from Stephen's OTE trip!
Rising Above, Down Under
The National Basketball League has been the blazing, bright spot of the young NBA Draft scouting cycle. The commitment of landing a player like Alex Sarr—who could be the number one overall pick in the 2024 draft—was a signal flare that the world should take notice of what will take place within the league. The signing of Bobi Klintman, who was a draft darling late in the season last year, and Alex Toohey away from the NCAA only added to the intrigue of what the Next Stars program could be. Players like Ben Henshall of the Perth Wildcats, and Lachlan Olbrich of the Illawarra Hawks have seemingly come out of nowhere to throw their hats into the ring as real draft prospects.
Of course, the NBL also added some young men who were heavily recruited by top college universities. Instead, they opted to play in this very competitive and tough league. AJ Johnson could have played this season for the Texas Longhorns, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, or a number of other prestigious programs, but he is now teammates with Olbrich on the Hawks. The NBL was also able to land another young talent—drawing him away from the machine of the NCAA.
Trentyn Flowers came into this class as a consensus Top 40 recruit. Standing at 6’8” and listed at a weight somewhere between 200 and 210 pounds, Trentyn drew the attention of many universities. He was heavily courted by teams like Memphis, Creighton, Alabama, and Louisville. In March of 2023, Flowers announced that he would be reclassifying and committing to the Louisville Cardinals in March of 2023.
Obviously, Trentyn did not stay with the Louisville program. One thing that has been consistent in his thought process is wanting to make the right decision. After all, players only get to make their first decision one time.
“First of all, you have to evaluate the situation a lot—trust in God…For me it was about developing as a player. I feel like in some situations, you can be good in that moment but, when it comes time to go to the next level and you weren’t prepared for it, it [the choice] didn’t benefit you. For me it was being able to go through challenges, to take on adversity. Once I’m able to overcome that hump, learn some more ins and outs, it’ll help better prepare my game—to go to the next level.”
The “hump” that Trentyn referenced is a very real part of the NBL experience. Oftentimes, when a player chooses an alternate pathway than that of the NCAA, the perception can appear to be that the player is choosing to avoid adversity. Perhaps the perception is that the players are looking for an easy way out.
Weeks ago, Liam Santamaria—an executive within the NBL program—sat down with Maxwell and me to discuss the NBL and its processes. One of the many things that Liam spoke so eloquently about was the type of player the NBL looks for when selecting a Next Star—a young basketball player who has the potential to make it to the NBA.
“Certainly we have a vast network of connections and relationships across the industry that we highly value. We try to present ourselves as people that can help others across the industry…There are some elements of what type player the guy is and what type of psychological and emotional makeup that they might have—that we feel might lend themselves to success here.”
The mental and emotional makeup stands out when talking to Trentyn. While he has an easy-to-root-for, friendly demeanor when having a conversation, he speaks with great passion for and understanding of the game. The commitment to leaving the comfort and familiarity of the United States and the players that reside within it goes underappreciated when evaluating these young men who leave for the NBL and other international leagues. The off-the-court dynamics that exist within deciding to play for this league certainly play a part of the “hump” Flowers referenced.
Tough starts are nothing new for prospects who have decided to take their talents down under. Ousmane Dieng had an abysmal start to his 2021-2022 season, but he found a way to turn things around to finish his year. He was selected with the 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. LaMelo Ball was heavily criticized for his efficiency number when he played for the Illawarra Hawk in the 2019-2020 season. He was taken third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft—and likely should have been taken higher. Josh Giddey faced similar criticism in regard to his efficiency. He was taken sixth in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Perhaps the on-the-court factors that exist in the NBL need to be taken into consideration a bit more when evaluating these young men. Liam also spoke about some of the challenges that exist within the league that go under-discussed:
“It’s a big move…What is still challenging is the fact that you’re a long way away from home—from your friends and your family…Then, of course, the basketball element—the fact that, you maybe haven’t played FIBA-style ball, or a type of basketball that’s as heavily coached and structured as what you might find in a tough, high-level pro league as this [the NBL]. And then, the strength and physicality of the players you’re competing with and against as well.”
This challenge was something that Trentyn was aware of when he made the decision to move to Adelaide.
“That’s really what my thoughts were in coming here to the NBL. That’s ultimately why I chose it over college. It’s a process; you can’t take any shortcuts. I’d rather take the long journey rather than putting something in the microwave, heat it up fast, and expect it to come out great.
If I’m being honest, this [the NBL] is probably the most physical league in the world. You’re constantly getting screened, the bigs are super physical. I mean, bigs can stay in the paint for however long so not only does that change the dynamic of the game—you got a shot-blocker or somebody just there taking up space, just waiting on you.”
Staying true to the process is something that will need to be the name moving forward for Flowers. The game plan for the 36ers was to make Trentyn the lead ball-handler for the season, but that decision didn’t yield the best results for winning games. Heavy criticism came while Adelaide didn’t win a game until October 14th. It should have been no surprise that the 36ers recorded their first “W” in Trentyn’s best game.
“It [the victory against the Illawarra Hawks] was such a big uplift. One thing I can say [regarding preparation] is staying ready. I was just told by my teammates—my coaches—was just to stay ready. When the moment comes, just be ready for your moment. In that moment—that situation, you know, we were down. It’s one of those things that we, me as a player—if I’m on the basketball court, I’m not gonna going to let my teammates lose a game—we’re not going to lose this game especially, playing against Illawarra.
My defense—the way I cam out and played in the first half, I was like ‘I gotta give everything I have’. I ended up getting hot and my teammates found me. We ended up walking out with the win.”
In that victory, Flowers scored 23 points on eight-of-ten shooting from the floor. He was five-of-five from deep, as he also grabbed three rebounds and a steal—all without a single turnover committed.
That high came in the midst of some lows, and it could be likely that Trentyn might have some other tough outings through the beginning of the season. It wasn’t until the 12th game of Dieng’s season that he would string together consistent performances. It took Josh Giddey about nine games to have consecutive good games. Despite their slow starts, they proved their worth over time and were taken high within their class.
“Ousmane Dieng, RJ Hampton, LaMelo Ball—Josh Giddey, who played for the Adelaide 36ers. There’s been a lot of great talent come out of here…just looking at previous history, and what they did as players and how they developed…it’s a no-brainer [speaking to the development of prospects in the NBL].”
The self-belief stands out when speaking to Trentyn. The combination of size, athleticism, feel, and versatility is what made him a highly desired prospect across the basketball community. He has the ability to shoot and get to the rim, and he possesses the defensive versatility to line up against multiple positions.
“I would say I’m extremely versatile. I can rebound the ball at a high level. I can pass the ball. I can create my own shot. I can catch and shoot. I’m athletic. I can get to the rim. Defensively, I’m figuring out that I can really turn into an elite defender…I play with a certain fire and grit.”
That fire and grit have been on display, even when the production hasn’t been where he would want it to be. It’s been what has enabled him to have some bright spots in an otherwise difficult beginning to his year. The same toughness and grit is what the NBL is all about and, in that pressure cooker of a league, what has produced incredible, NBA talent. We should all expect to see Trentyn rise above while playing down under.
Road Warrior: OTE Weekend
One of my favorite things that I have done since entering the draft space is develop a relationship with the fine folks at the Overtime Elite. I’ve attended a couple of Pro Days—which is always fun, but this past weekend was my first time being in attendance for actual gameplay. The Columbus Explorers of Miami Florida and Hoop Nation both came to the OTE’s stadium to compete in a two-day, four-game weekend of hoops. I’ll be touching on my experience at the game, but for today’s piece, I’ll also be sharing some insight from one of the players who participated in the fun!
Adam Oumiddoch, a 6’5”, class of 2026 perimeter player for the Cold Hearts, gave me a little of his time to discuss the build up for the weekend, some of the gameplan that he and his team had, his internal scouting report of some of the OTE players, and himself.
“We came in [to this weekend] obviously knowing it was going to be a huge thing for us. I feel like we prepared weeks before, watching film on them [the Explorers]—watched the games that they had last week at the Border League. Our coach [Tim Fanning] always says ‘Juntos’, which means ‘together’—we always come together as one. We work on things together in practice and be prepared for the game. I feel like we really prepared for the game at a high level.”
That could have been a bit modest, Adam.
The Cold Hearts won the game based on a number of factors. For one, they gave Cam Boozer a gauntlet of different defensive looks. Samis Calderon spent a lot of time in Cam’s jersey, making him extremely uncomfortable. Ralph Martino and Peyton Marshall also gave him some different types of defenders to have to work against. He ended up scoring 13 points on 14 shots—shooting under 36% from the floor.
For the Cold Hearts, Reynan Dos Santos led the way in scoring with 15 points. His defensive intensity was persistent throughout the night. A native of Brazil, his foot was on the gas on both sides of the floor. John Bol, a commit to Ole Miss, scored 13 points and grabbed 15 boards. As the game carried on, Bol asserted himself on offense—flashing a nifty dribble move that nearly converted through a foul. Despite having a slender frame, he showed some promise operating off of DHO looks.
Adam started the night on the bench but ended up playing the fourth-most minutes on his team. He scored 10 of 23 bench points for the Cold Hearts, albeit not in the most efficient manner. While the efficiency could have been better, the 2026 prospect showed a ton of promise. The moment didn’t seem too big for him, as his first bucket came as a floater at the second level over Boozer. He was very confident in his shot, as he connected on two shots from deep. Adam also caught the defense with two beautiful pump fakes that are identical to his normal shooting motion.
“My mentality is to go kill whoever my opponent is. It’s been instilled in me to always have confidence in myself. No matter who I’m playing against and no matter who is guarding me, I can go and kill them anytime I want. My coach has confidence in me. I feel like he has as much confidence in me as I do in myself. If I miss a shot, I always have the next one. It’s all about putting my head down, look for the next shot, and get back on defense, then making the next shot I have. It’s always about the next opportunity.”
The weekend as a whole was successful for the OTE program, as their teams swept all four games over the weekend. The environment was a nice one, with a number of NBA players, NBA media, scouts, and analysts in attendance.
“The atmosphere was definitely crazy. It was kind of shocking for me because, at my old high school we would have fans that went to the school for our crowd, but I’ve just never really seen stuff like that. The game, the mic, the music—it was definitely a new environment to me. But, I got used to it. I’ll only get even more used to it for the next three years.”
Draft fans should get more used to and familiar with Oumiddoch and his game.
Jase Richardson was the best player from night one for the Explorers. He put on a myriad of different finishes, showing off his natural athleticism. While his 19-point performance on night one was impressive, he showed the ability to play off others well as he registered six assists to only one turnover. Night two was not the best for him, as he struggled to get much going on the offensive side of things. Without having looked too far into his class, I still came away more impressed by his first night than what anyone else from the Explorers did over the weekend.
Malik Abdullahi, the Princeton commit, played in a way that makes you root for him. He gives everything he has to the hustle plays. He grabbed his fair share of rebounds, played hard-nosed defense, was a willing screener, and made nice cuts to the rim—even converting some lobs. His big area of concern will be the jumper, as was pointed out to me by some other scouts I got to speak with.
Cayden Boozer was very impressive to me throughout the weekend. His ball handling was very sound, and rarely did he ever appear to be rushed. His role looks to be a pass-first guard, but he has the ability to take matters into his own hands when nobody else has it going. His shot looks pure, despite not converting as much as you would like to see. His pace with the ball was at a mature level. Defensively, he waxed and waned a bit, but seems to have the tools to be effective.
Cam Boozer was the top-ranked prospect for the weekend but was given fits both nights. Between his matchups with the Cold Hearts and RWE, he struggled against the likes of Samis Calderon, Somto Cyril, Nathan Missa-Dio, Ralph Martino, and Peyton Marshall. With him struggling against that many different types of matchups, I came away a little underwhelmed. For what it’s worth, I was told that this weekend was some of the worst he’s played. If bad nights are 13 and 13 outings, then he is still someone to be excited about.
Karter Knox was the king of the Pro Day several weeks back, and not much has changed between then and now. Knox was the best OTE player for both nights, as he was able to put up two big games. On the second night, against the Explorers, Karter dropped 26 points—shooting four-of-six from deep. His jumper is pure, and he can hit it off of the bounce, the catch, and during movement. His upper body stays squared up no matter what else it going on around him. He was also a defensive hound for two straight nights.
Listen. Parker Robinson is a DUDE. I could give two you-know-whats about him being a 0-star prospect on some major recruiting outlets. That will change. Having only been with the City Reapers for about three weeks, Parker scored the second-most points for the Reapers. He dropped 17 points in a variety of ways, but his jumper is going to get him a lot of looks. He was 3/4 from deep and it was beautiful to watch. He set several screens away from the ball, moved the rock around, and defended his tail off. Class of 2026—remember the name.
Robinson’s teammate, Amari Evans was the top scorer, as he dropped 21 on the same night. He also shot the three very well, as he was 3-of-5 from range. He looks physically ready to run against the best in high school ball, and his defense proved to be very stout. He did commit some not-so-necessary fouls, but the effort was admirable.
Bryson Tiller is a favorite of mine at the OTE program, but he did not dominate the way I would have liked. Despite the shot being off for him, he did do many things well away from the ball, such as crashing the glass, playing hard defense, and handing out four assists. His improved vision and his growing playmaking skillset have me intrigued, he just needs to show more consistency on the jumper.
Future Kentucky Wildcat, Somto Cyril, is another favorite of mine and is one of the “O.G.s” of the Overtime Elite program. Seeing him dominate against such highly regarded prospects outside of OTE was refreshing, as evaluating him against other bigs in OTE can be a bit complicated. His motor runs hot, as he skies for boards and blocks, while being able to get to the rim with ease. He looks ready for whatever comes next for him.
Nathan Missa-Dio continues to be good at what he is good at: defense and rebounding. His role with RWE allows him to do more with the ball in his hands, which is good for his development. He is improving in finding his teammates, but he really has to work at taking and making shots from deep on a consistent basis.
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