Assessing Herve Kabasele Kasonga

May 7, 2018

by Alan Lu

This time around, I wanted to take the opportunity to watch Breogan’s 6-10 center, Herve Kabasele Kasonga from D.R. Congo.  He is a 1996-born player that will be automatically in this year’s draft, and he had drawn some buzz earlier in the season due to his strong play in the Afrobasket.  I decided to take the time to watch him play in an LEB Gold game against Leyma Coruna that was played on April 20th, with thanks to YouTube via Basquet Coruna.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well as his skills may translate to the NBA.

Herve Kabasele Kasonga is a very athletic, high-motor player that can often score on hustle plays around the basket.  He will look to set many screens as he will tend to slip them, and he can score and draw free throws on rolls to the rim.  His best score of this contest was when he caught a lob pass on a roll to score on a thunderous alley-oop dunk, as he did a great job of catching and finishing on that play.  He also drew free throws on another dunk attempt after slipping the screen.  He also managed to catch a lob pass later on, but he missed on an alley-oop dunk as the pass was slightly off-target, and it didn’t lead him to have much room to throw it down.

He also ran in to catch a teammate’s blocked shot, as he scored on a nice put back off the glass.  Also, Kabasele Kasonga runs the floor well as he can often beat his man down the court, and in this game, he managed to draw a foul on a drive in transition.  Unfortunately, the defender collided into him, and Kabasele Kasonga ended up injuring his knee in the middle of the second quarter on this play, as another teammate took free throws for him, and the result of this caused him to miss the rest of the game.

Kabasele Kasonga did a very good job of finishing plays around the basket, but his team didn’t really look to run plays for him, as he didn’t receive opportunities to score in the post or off the dribble.  He also did not take a jumper in this game, as he was strictly used in off-ball motion plays, as well as to finish plays around the hoop.  He also showed off fairly decent playmaking skills in this game.  Kabasele Kasonga played unselfishly, as he would make the extra pass to find the open man, and he can get the ball to shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  He also will often set screens for his teammates, and one screen allowed a teammate to get an open jump shot.

However, he will need to improve his ability to rebound the basketball.  For the positives, Kabasele Kasonga managed to get an offensive rebound, and he will also tip balls to teammates to help them get boards on offense.  Also, he managed to box out his man to help a teammate swoop in to get a defensive board another time.  However, he did not come away with many rebounds in this game, and sometimes he would be unable to get balls in his area that he should have obtained.

Also, he showed off adequate defensive skills.  Kabasele Kasonga is an active shot blocker that can swat shots to help his team protect the paint.  He did a good job of defending in the post, as he would actively challenge shots to force misses, and on one play, he swatted a shot to himself when defending down low.  He also managed to deflect a entry pass, and he also showed good footwork when defending opposing ball handlers out on the perimeter, as he managed to contest a long two to force a miss.

However, sometimes he can tend to over-rotate, which can lead to scrambling situations, as this led his team to allow opponents to score on jumpers.  Another time, he hedged and got back to his man, but he gave up too much space to the opposing low post player, as his man scored on a jump hook.  Also, he was called for committing a touch foul defending in the post off the ball early in this contest.  In general, Herve Kabasele Kasonga is a very athletic big man that possesses an intriguing set of skills, as he could project into being a rim protector in the NBA.  He can make some solid hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he will need to continue to expand upon his skill set offensively, and he will have to improve his rebounding ability. 

Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for this year’s NBA Draft.  Unfortunately, the knee injury he ended up getting in this game will definitely be a set back for him, as he could end up being out for a while.  When he recovers to get back to basketball, he will need to work hard to continue to make strides in his overall game.  If he makes a full recovery and heals up, with the right team, he could end up flourishing as a defensive specialist at the next level.