Bol Bol is not your average 7-foot-2 basketball player. He is not awkward, not stiff, not gangly. He does not succeed solely on his height—though it certainly helps. He is mobile, and he is athletic, and he is offensive-minded. Physically, his body can’t help but remind you of his famous father. But a more immediate and effective comparison might be to Kevin Durant. Bol can ball.
Bol has grown another inch since he committed to Oregon last fall, and we’re close to getting the first glimpses of what he can do against real competition. Not that Thursday’s exhibition game against D-II Western Oregon necessarily qualifies as that, but it’s a sight better than what we’ve previously had to rely on: highlight reels, dating back to when he was a 6-foot-5 middle schooler, of Bol dominating opponents a foot or more shorter. Well, here’s what Bol did last night, and it’s very easy to see his moves being effective against opponents of any size or skill:
Bol had 19 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks in 34 minutes of action, and just the four highlights in the video above provide a hint of his offensive range: in order, a turnaround three; an alley-oop which a shorter-armed man would not have been able to reach; a supple little floater in the paint; and a between-the-legs, behind-the-back crossover to set up a stepback jumper. These are not things you expect from a dude that tall, but these are things Bol Bol does.
Bol was 8-for-13 from the floor, a sure sign his game is not merely a post one. He led the Ducks in attempts, and sophomore guard Victor Bailey Jr. acknowledged that “getting [Bol] the ball is definitely vital for our offense.”
Of course, head coach Dana Altman would like to see Bol contribute away from the ball, on both ends.
“He’s got to play a lot harder. He’s got to improve his positioning, talk defensively, but he is talented. He is skilled,” Altman said of Bol. “We said from the start he’s a unique player, unique talent. There’s a lot more there. He coasts a lot. But he’s getting better. He’s working at it. He’s going to be a work in progress all year but there’s a lot more that he can do.”
There’s not an 18-year-old alive without huge room for improvement, but there are very few 18-year-olds with Bol’s ceiling. He won’t reach that ceiling in college; he’s expected to be one-and-done, and is projected as an NBA lottery pick next summer. It’s going to be very interesting to see if he can keep racking up highlight reels as the competition gets series, but Bol’s draft stock is going to hinge mostly on his potential, and that potential is obvious.