His profile rose almost as fast as he fell off the ground.
This says something.
“He’s 7 feet 4 wingspan, 6 feet 10 and a half, and he jumps really fast. He doesn’t need to adjust himself and then come back. He just gets up,” Indiana Elite manager Mark Adams told the Daily Hoosier.
Less than a year ago, Flory Bidunga arrived in the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an unknown in college basketball recruiting circles.
Now rated a 5-star nominee in the class of 2024, every major college basketball coach in the country knows his name. This includes IU’s Mike Woodson, who called Bidunga last week and offered him a scholarship.
Everywhere he goes in his brief stint here, Bedunga has been a huge influence.
He played at Indiana State for Kokomo HS last season, leading the Wildkats to eight wins in nine games, and a trip to the Class 4A semi-state game. In his first season playing organized basketball in the United States, he averaged 17.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 5.3 blocks per competition.
Bedonga played for Adams and the Indiana Elite in the Adidas 3SSB over the spring and summer, and helped lead the 16u team to the 34-2 record and circuit title.
Returning with Kokomo to school ball in June, Bedonga worked again when he scored 27 points and 10 rebounds in a much-anticipated game with the 6-foot-11 Xavier Booker 2023.
We asked Adams what allowed Dunga to excel in the game so quickly. There are many variables – the unrelenting drive, the natural abilities of the elite, the competitive spirit.
“He runs the court very well, like any big guy out there,” Adams said. “It’s really hard to get a huge guy to run the way he does.
“He has a nose for the ball – he bounces very well. He’s left-handed and he blocks shots really well because he’s usually the other guy’s right hand. All these things add up to make him so special.”
Then there’s one more thing you wouldn’t expect from someone who only played the game a few years ago.
Bedunga grew up playing soccer, a game that requires a big foot – which undoubtedly plays a role in what he can do on the field.
But bad hands have proven to be a concern for many inexperienced players on the outside.
In a way, Bedonga is a natural catcher of basketball, even in the fast-paced world of AAU rings.
“He has very good hands,” Adams said. “I don’t know if he missed a pass this year, which is really crazy, for a kid international to catch the ball like he does. Running, in traffic, in weird situations, it doesn’t matter – he has very good hands.”
Bedunga strong structure at a price of 215 pounds. He could be a productive center in major college basketball based on the current strengths of his game.
But bidding Bedonga for the NBA is a bit tricky at the moment. He didn’t need to venture out into the ocean and take quick shots yet because he was dominating the paint. If there is a question mark about Bedunga now, it is whether or not he will develop a reliable jump shot.
Adams sees the first signs of this happening.
Adams told the Daily Hoosier: “I noticed in July on the shooting runs that he is getting a lot better (in jumpers shooting).
“I’m not calling him out and shooting threes yet, but I’ve noticed in warm-ups and practice, he looks a lot better. He’s only been here for a year, and before he got here I doubt he’d shoot threes. His free throws have improved, And I noticed his jump shot looks pretty good. I think that’s going to happen in the next couple of years as well, because he knows that’s where he needs to get better.”
This is the other part worth mentioning about Bedunga – his competitive drive.
“He really wants to be at his best,” Adams said. “Someone ranked him 60th as their number one, which is pretty cool, but he was upset that there were 59 guys better than him.”
As interesting as last year was for Bedonga, things are just getting started on his promising career in basketball.
Shows by Indiana and Purdue last week marked a bit of a turning point in his appointment after rumors of a more narrow approach.
But don’t confuse these offers with implying that Bedunga is paying a lot of attention to recruiting at the moment. He still has two years left at the high school level.
“Recruitment is secondary to him,” Adams said. “He just wants to be the best player he can be, learn the language and work in his classes. Recruitment is going to happen when he explodes.”
And while he plays high school basketball in Indiana, and AAU in an Indiana-based program, public school fans shouldn’t look at Bedunga as if you were a potential client in the state.
“He just wants to go to the right place, the place where he can play right away,” Adams said. “He doesn’t really have a favorite school, he didn’t grow up in Indiana as a die-hard fan of any school. He just wants to be able to provide for his family one day, and that’s all he really worries about.”
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