Kaleb Tarczewski Updated NBA Draft Scouting Report
April 1, 2015
Kaleb Tarczewski was a key player for the Arizona Wildcat team that won the Pac-12 league and conference tournament championships before falling to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight for the second year in a row. After returning to Arizona for his junior season, Tarczewski saw his production plateau as he finished this season averaging 14 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted while shooting 58% from the field. The center played in every game for the Wildcats and has missed only two games in his three seasons. Widely expected to declare for the NBA Draft, Tarczewski will soon turn to the next page of his career where he hopes to get picked by a NBA team and become a valued part of a team's rotation.
Measured at 7'0” with a sturdy 245 pound frame, Tarczewski has the prototypical frame of a NBA center. He moves well getting up and down the floor, with quick runs from rim to rim in transition, and excellent agility in the half-court. His pro prospects are in ways hurt by his lack of length, as his wingspan was measured at just 6'11” in 2012. While this won't prevent him from a NBA career, as seven footers such as Cody Zeller, Mason Plumlee and Chris Kaman have been drafted with similar wingspans or shorter, Tarczewski will have to prove he can overcome this lack of length to be a capable NBA center.
Offensively, Tarczewski has been a complementary player throughout his career at Arizona, attempting 8.2 field goal attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He won't ever become a go-to back to the basket player but has some limited potential as a post scorer against backup big men, as he converted 50.7% of his post-up opportunities according to Synergy Sports Technology. His footwork isn't great and his length may hurt him against taller defenders, but he has some basic moves he can use to keep his defender guessing. He does need to become more comfortable with his off-hand, which he didn't use much while in college. He is adept at sealing his defender to get position around the rim helping to get easy looks.
Tarczewski will need to find ways to contribute offensively and one way he could do so would be in ball screen sets. He uses his strong frame to set a solid screen and then dives to the rim hard, demonstrating good vision to find the open space and quickness to beat the help defense. He's a capable finisher around the rim, averaging 61.5% according to Synergy Sports Technology, although his ability to finish at the next level will be hindered by his average physical tools.
Tarczewski will need to provide value in ways other than scoring to a pro team, as he doesn't project to be much of an offensive option. As a seven-footer, he's struggled as a rebounder in his collegiate career and he ended with just 7.8 total rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted, second worst among centers in our top 100. He is often much more focused on boxing out opponents and letting teammates come up with loose balls, which likely hurt his production, but his below average awareness combined with his lack of leaping ability and length don't project him to be a great rebounder at the next level, especially on the offensive glass where he averaged just 2.4 per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He'll need to focus on becoming a competitive defensive rebounder, crashing the glass relentlessly with high energy to track down loose balls, while continuing to box out opponents well like he normally did for Arizona.
On the defensive side, Tarczewski will struggle to be a rim protector, as his 0.8 blocks per 40 minutes were the lowest among centers in our top-100 and would be the lowest in our database since 2000 for a seven footer drafted to the NBA.
Tarczewski plays hard defensively, but his potential is limited by his lack of length as opponents will be able to shoot over him. He does have the strength to compete with big men on the block while he can move his feet well extremely well stepping out and guarding in different pick and roll settings. While he may never become an elite defender, continuing to play with energy while making proper rotations could result in him becoming a very useful team defender as he was for the past three years at Arizona.
Already 22 as a junior, Tarczewski's upside is a bit limited by his age and average tools. While he didn't dominate the collegiate game, he was surrounded by NBA level talent and accepted and filled a role nearly every NBA team is looking to fill. He was consistently lauded by his coaching staff for the work ethic and intangibles he displays on and off the court, and will likely continue to endear himself to whichever coach he works with next. Teams will certainly be interested in a player of his size who can defend the pick and roll at such a high level, and if he can find ways to contribute outside of scoring, particularly in terms of rebounding, he could certainly play his way into an NBA rotation. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-12, Part 6: Prospects #10-14
September 8, 2014
Arizona sophomore Kaleb Tarczewski put together a solid, albeit not spectacular, sophomore campaign, helping Sean Miller's Wildcats win 33 games before they fell to Wisconsin in overtime in the Elite Eight. Ranked among the nation's top high school players coming out of St. Mark (MA) in 2012, Tarczewski started all but one game for one of the nation's best programs averaging 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per-game while improving his numbers across the board from his freshman year.
Tarczewski's resume for the next level starts with his tremendous size. Standing a shade under 7-0 in shoes with a chiseled frame, the New Hampshire native certainly looks the part of NBA center. The main knock against the big man's physical profile is that he doesn't have prototypical length, sporting an underwhelming 6'11 wingspan.
Tarczewski's size and strength remains a critical part of his ability to contribute offensively, as his skill level and touch remain a work in progress. The St. Mark's (MA) product is at his best in simple catch and finish situations, whether he was sealing his man on the high side in the post or crashing to the rim from the weakside when his defender rotates, Tarczewski was very effective last season, shooting 65% in finishing situations in the half court according to Synergy Sports Technology.
More of a complementary option on a Arizona squad that was still quite balanced and NBA-talent heavy even after Brandon Ashley was lost for the year, the majority of Tarczewski's possessions a year came on the block, where he looked to have developed a better understanding of how to use his physical tools more effectively. Shooting a very solid 47.7% with his back to the basket, Tarczewski doesn't have great hands, overly polished footwork, or one truly refined post-move, but his ability to carve out position and bully his way to easy scoring angles allowed him to contribute one-on-one inside. Though he possesses nice touch on his right handed-baby hook, he looks very mechanical at times in the post, lacking the feel, fluidity, and midrange ability that would give him obvious upside as more than a finisher at the next level offensively.
With Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson making the jump to the NBA, Arizona will be looking to replace their top-2 scorers from a year ago, and while Tarczewski may seem like a prime candidate to assume a feature role, he'll face plenty of competition from a healthy Ashley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and a deep, talented group of freshman. Among the least prolific per-minute pace-adjusted scorers in our top-100, at just 14.4 per-40, this season will be a significant one for the 21 year old big man in terms of his perception among NBA scouts. If he can make strides as an offensive player by improving his touch and feel in the post, he could solidify himself as one of the Wildcat's primary weapons, but if he can't, he could once again get lost in an increasingly deep and talented cast of high-level recruits.
Given that Tarczewski is still developing as a scorer, his regression as a rebounder a year ago was a bit concerning. After averaging 11 rebounds per-40 minutes pace-adjusted as a freshman, he pulled down just 8.9 as a sophomore. Some of that drop-off can be attributed to the presence of Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson, and he does a very good job keeping his man off the glass when boxing out, but given Tarczewski's size, he seems to lack the instincts to be the rebounder his physical tools give him the opportunity to be, as he doesn't corral caroms outside of his area often or pull down the ball at the highest point. It will be worth watching how much of a presence he can provide this season, as his lack of length and average feel for the game are already concerns among NBA decision makers, and an inability to rebound at a high rate on either end of the floor only makes those weaknesses all the more glaring.
Defensively, Tarczewski plays with terrific intensity, and though he'll bite on some fakes inside, he showed more discipline a year ago defending the rim, helping him stay out of foul trouble. Showing the ability to step out and defend the midrange and use his strength in the post, Tarczewski's lack of length limits his presence as a weakside shot-blocker, but he is among the better individual post defenders in the college game.
Looking ahead, last season was a year of incremental growth for the highly-touted Tarczewski, and his ability to continue or accelerate along his learning curve will be something scouts keep a close eye on from the jump this season. The same age as most college seniors, turning 22 in February, there are some concerns about how much upside Tarczewski still has to grow into, which is why scouts will want to see improvement from him in different areas. He isn't the first big man who didn't blossom as anticipated early on in his college career and certainly won't be the last, but there's plenty of things he does well, which coupled with his size, make him an obvious prospect of interest whenever he declares. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-12, Part 3 (#3-5)
October 2, 2013
A consensus top-10 recruit coming out of high school, Kaleb Tarczewski was the headliner of Sean Miller's outstanding 2012 recruiting class. Facing the lofty expectations associated with those labels as a freshman, the young center struggled to make his presence felt for stretches and often found himself grounded by foul trouble. Still, the St. Mark's (MA) product gained valuable experience and strung together some stretches of solid play late in the year, leaving plenty of room for optimism as his game continues to mature.
Standing 7'0 with a maturing 250-pound frame to go along solid mobility and athleticism for a player his size, it isn't hard to see what makes Tarczewski an intriguing center prospect on first glance. He did a great job packing on weight over his last two years at the high school level, and certainly looks the part of NBA center, even if his frame still looks like it can handle more muscle. Aside from his below average 6'11 wingspan, Tarczewski has everything scouts look for in a big man.
As is often the case with freshman big men in his mold, Tarczewski played a small offensive role in his first season in Tucson. The majority of his touches came in the immediate vicinity of the rim where he was able to use his size and athleticism to his advantage as a finisher, but wasn't as consistent when forced to create a look for himself in close as his skill level is still a work in progress.
He did the majority of his scoring converting the looks his teammates created for him in simple catch-and-finish situations. Staying active in the half court and able to finish above the rim with authority when given a step to gather himself, Tarczewski shot a respectable 58.6% finishing around the basket according to Synergy Sports Technology. Narrowly missing more than a few tip ins and close range opportunities in traffic, Tarczewski looked rushed at times, especially when challenged, and is capable of more as he gets more comfortable operating under duress and with the speed of the college game.
In back to the basket situations, the New Hampshire native shot a middle-of-the-road 42.6% and turned the ball over at a fairly high rate, but nonetheless flashed some positive things to work with moving forward. Adept at establishing deep post position, his size and physicality allowed him to create some easy opportunities in close as he managed to seal his defender and catch the ball with two feet on occasion. He also tossed in a hook shot over his left shoulder from time-to-time, but has a ways to go to become a consistent post scoring threat as his repertoire lacks variety and reliability. If Tarczewski can take the next step as a scorer by developing his footwork and left hand in the coming seasons, his ability to carve out position in close should pay major dividends when he's better prepared to contribute as an individual scorer.
At this point, Tarczewski makes his best contributions on the glass, where he does a fine job boxing out defensively and getting to the front of the rim offensively. Averaging a solid 10.9 rebounds per-40 minutes pace adjusted, his length limits him to some degree and he comes up short of having outstanding hands or timing on the boards, but he puts a body on opposing big men and goes after the ball in traffic, pursuing caroms with a good energy level.
Defensively, Tarczewski's size makes him a formidable defender one-on-one on the block and his mobility gives him the potential to develop into the type of big man who can step out and hedge in the two-man game. His lack of great length and anticipation limit his impact as a weakside shot blocker, and he has plenty of room to improve his consistency, discipline, and fundamentals on this end of the floor. Nonetheless, the building blocks are there for him to continue to improve as he gains experience. In the short term, his ability to avoid foul trouble will be a factor in what type of season he'll have as a sophomore.
This will be an important season for Tarczewski's development as he'll have plenty of opportunities to take on a bigger role on the offensive end and emerge as a difference-maker for an extremely talented Arizona team looking to fill the void left behind by Solomon Hill and Mark Lyons. Considering his size and mobility, Tarczewski's NBA upside is apparent, but it will be the development of his skill level and defensive presence which ultimately dictate just how he's perceived by scouts when his sophomore season comes to a close. [Read Full Article]
2012 Nike Hoop Summit: USA Team Measurements
April 7, 2012
Height without shoes: 6-10.25
Height with shoes: 6'11.75
Standing Reach: 9'0.5
7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski (#8 Scout, #20 Rivals, #6 ESPN) continues to develop at his own pace, getting a little better every time we see him.
Looking noticeably stronger in the upper body, Tarczewski put together a workman-like 22 point, 6 rebound performance in a win in Springfield, tacking on 5 assists, 6 turnovers and 3 blocks for good measure. Playing against an extremely undersized Friends Central squad, nothing he did was particularly flashy, as most of his points came off simple moves inside the paint.
As we've noted before, Tarczewski has excellent size at 7-0, to go along with good mobility and a rapidly improving frame. Not a prolific shot-creator, he's capable of finishing with authority when opportunities are created for him, as he has good hands and gets off the ground fairly well. His back to the basket repertoire is simple, but fundamentally sound, mostly consisting of jump-hooks and up and under moves, sometimes using the glass. While he surely lacks a degree of aggressiveness asserting himself at times inside the paint, particularly in terms of carving out post-position and demanding the ball, he also doesn't force the issue, showing solid vision passing out of double teams.
Tarczewski will hit the occasional turnaround jumper, but doesn't show much range at this stage, something he'll likely continue to work on over time.
Defensively, Tarczewski is not a high flyer, but is nevertheless capable of making his presence felt inside, blocking shots with both hands. Like all big men, he needs to continue to work on his ability to step outside the paint and guard the pick and roll, but he already shows a decent framework to build off. At this level he's rarely challenged by another player his own size, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he's able to adapt at the college level. He's not particularly quick laterally, so he will need to show a better motor than he has thus far contesting shots and playing with consistently high energy to play up to his full potential on this end of the floor.
Tarczewski will have plenty of NBA eyes on him from the moment he steps out on the floor at Arizona. It may take him some time for him to adapt to the college level initially, but he surely has the talent to be a solid contributor as a freshman.
Playing against an extremely undersized and overmatched opponent, Kaleb Tarczewski (#9 Scout, #13 Rivals, #24 ESPN) had a very disappointing game in his team's 69-63 loss to Life Center Academy, with him failing to assert himself offensively, converting on just 4-of-12 field goal attempts in the game.
In a contrast to what we witnessed the last time we saw Tarczewski play, here he played very soft on the offensive end, refusing to back down opponents, having trouble securing rebounds, and often getting out-muscled and outhustled by players 4-8 inches smaller than him.
In the post, Tarczewski struggled with multiple entry passes, wasn't able to convert on any of his finesse moves, and simply refused to dunk the ball despite being in position multiple times. He got most of his 11 points getting to the free-throw line or getting putbacks of his own misses, doing very little to contribute for his team from a scoring standpoint.
To his credit, one thing he did look great doing on the offensive end was passing, showing a nice feel for the game to go along with the vision and passing ability to find players open on the other side of the court, something that could be of great use to him at the next level.
On the defensive end, Tarczewski blocked an impressive nine shots, looking outstanding on some plays, showing the anticipation, timing, and mobility to swat shots in the lane coming from the other side of the court.
It's not out of the ordinary for 16-year-old seven footers to have games like this, and Tarczewski is much farther along from a skills and feel standpoint than most comparable players his age, but the tentativeness on the offensive end is still somewhat concerning. We'll continue to track his progress over the coming years, as he's clearly a very promising prospect.
A legit 7-footer with athleticism and an excellent frame, it doesn't take very long to figure out why Kaleb Tarczewski (#12 Scout, #13 Rivals, #24 ESPN) is considered such a highly touted prospect. He provides his team with a major presence inside the paint on both ends of the floor, and looks to be a hard working player on top of that.
Offensively, Tarczewski is fairly raw as you would expect from a 16-year old 7-footer, but can already make his impact felt in a couple of ways. He has excellent hands first and foremost and does a good job of catching the ball high and finishing plays above the rim, showing excellent potential as a pick and roll finisher.
Tarczewski seems to have been very well coached early on in his career, as his fundamentals appear to be quite strong. Although not terribly fluid at this stage, he has some budding footwork inside the post and some signs of a jump-hook and turn-around jumper, two moves that should serve him well and he continues to improve his offensive polish. At this level he can also make an impact with his sheer size, strength and athleticism, running the floor and crashing the offensive glass, things he did well in the lone game we saw.
Defensively, Tarczewski is a huge presence with his terrific physical tools, and seems to have some solid instincts to work with as well. He boxes out opponents, can block shots, hedges the pick and roll impressively, and seems to want to compete on each and every possession, which is a great sign at this early stage. Foul trouble will likely be an issue early on in his career, but his basketball IQ appears to be above average, which will surely help him down the road.
While it's certainly way too early to be jumping to any long-term conclusions, there are a lot of things to like about Tarczewski's potential at this preliminary stage. He'll surely have his choice of attending any college in America (Kansas is rumored to be in the lead), and as long as he continues to develop, we'll certainly be revisiting his progress in the future.