Breaking Down Mackenzie Mgbako’s Game

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Mackenzie Mgbako was playing some of his best sneakers at the Nike Peach Jam to close out the July recruiting period.

Duke’s commitment was to shoot, score at different levels and be much more efficient than we saw throughout the EYBL regular season.

Earlier this week, I broke down my top forwards in the EYBL class of 2023 as part of a larger summer series in which I rate the top prospects, by position, from each of the major sneaker circuits.

Unsurprisingly, Mgbako was among this group as one of the best “stretch-fours” or “face-up fours” in the league.

These two terms are essentially synonymous these days and are used to describe a striker who excels at firing the ball from behind the three-point line and thereby maximizing attacking spacing by stretching opposing defences. Conversely, they can be the best defenders of an opposing four man, as long as they can bounce back enough.

Here’s a full breakdown of what we’ve seen from Mgbako throughout the EYBL campaign, and not just at the Peach Jam.

Screening report

Mgbako hasn’t shot a high percentage from behind the three-point line in the first three sessions. However, these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt as his shot from behind the arc is still his best asset. What was most impressive about his performance in July were the types of shots he made – three pick-and-pops, slipping off ball screens to make moving shots, or creating space with a series of sidesteps or strides. – back shots – which are all types of shots he is likely to see at the next level. Physically, he also seemed in great shape and as fit as we’ve seen him so far.

One of the big keys offensively for Mgbako is his ability to get points easily, which is why it was an encouraging sign to see him move well without the ball this summer. He’s not the type of scorer who reaches the rim or the free-throw line with consistent volume. Therefore, a lot of his scoring to date has depended on his ability to make hard shots, which is why his efficiency numbers have fluctuated over the EYBL season.

Similarly, his walking speed and lateral quickness on the defensive end of the floor is why he projects more like a stretch four than a true big wing at this point. However, he bounces the ball well enough that there is no fall on the glass when he is on four.

Overall, he’s going to provide immediate value and benefit from playing in a more attacking structure at the next level, but in the long run, his shot-creating abilities and defensive versatility are his greatest swing skills.

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