In my new segment, 'Diggin' in the Tape', I review the top trending prospects in major college basketball and draft eligible prospects out of the G League. In my first episode, I review Loyola (Md.)'s Santi Aldama, a positionless 6'11 Spanish wing/forward with a versatile offensive toolset. While his team began the season on a covid break and this contributed to their slow start (in addition to playing Lafayette in 6 of their first 10 games), they have picked up steam recently and could be dangerous in a conference tournament scenario. Aldama has performed admirably, showcasing a more consistent stroke from long range to complement his high basketball IQ. In terms of his background, Aldama comes from a basketball family. Santi's father played professionally in Spain and Portugal, and ultimately for the Spanish National Team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Similarly, his uncle was a professional basketball player in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Santi cemented his status as an elite prospect at the FIBA U18 European Championships, where he led his Spain team to a gold medal, earning an MVP after averaging 18.0ppg 7.6rpg 2.6apg [2.3bpg 1.9spg and posting the highest plus-minus rating at the event]. These performances placed him squarely on the NBA's radar.
In terms of his evaluation, most of the lure behind Aldama as a pro prospect stems from his intriguing offensive profile, coupled with his good measurables. Standing at 6'11, Santi functions primarily as a wing in Loyola (Md.)'s offense. He possesses excellent straight line quickness - bolstered by nimble feet - and thrives moving without the ball, demonstrating an advanced awareness of floor spacing. As such, Aldama is constantly in motion and he utilizes the threat of his outside shot to backdoor cut on his opponents. After beating his man, Aldama does a nice job finishing either bounce passes or lob plays over the top of the help defender. When he does not finish on these plays, the misses are mainly 'concentration misses', as opposed to instances where he was disrupted by contact.
What do you all think of him as a prospect? He is definitely rising. I saw him maybe a couple of weeks ago and this has been in the works for a bit.