The summer belongs to Kyle Wiltjer...at least how that's how things stand in our eyes. Not only has the young man from Oregon been lighting things up on the AAU circuit and impressing scout after scout, but now he has made his mark on the international scene. For the past few days, the best prep players from around the globe took part in the FIBA U18's and it gave way to some tremendous basketball. The American team, loaded...and I mean loaded, from top to bottom waltzed through to a gold medal but one of the more impressive teams had to be our friends to the North and you could argue their best player all tournament long was big time Gonzaga prospect Kyle Wiltjer.
The Oregon native and Canadian citizen rolled through the tournament in San Antonio with 19 points a game and led the field in free throw percentage and, more amazingly, three point percentage. It's not like he made 3/5 either. In the tournament, Kyle went 16/23 which equates to nearly 70%.
As he has done all summer long, Wiltjer killed teams with his strong inside-out game. Nothing exemplified this more than in today's bronze metal match against Argentina. In a hotly contested game throughout, Kyle remained as cool as ever and knocked down 9-12 shots from the floor including 5-6 jumpers from three. To make the night even sweeter, Wiltjer knocked down the game winning three as time ran down to deliver the bronze metal north of the border.
Seeing Kyle shoot so well from the outside in this kind of tournament is so exciting for a number of reasons. Many will point to the fact that he seems more confident on the outside but I just see a kid that adapted to what his team needed. Canada has a very strong and big front line with guys like Birch and Bhullar so Kyle was able to play outside more and help his team in that respect. I think during AAU play we have seen him show more post game rather than outside game so it is nice to see he can literally dominate from anywhere on the floor. Most players like Kyle are far more confident in one aspect of their game than another but I have yet to see a game when I thought he was absurdly better in one aspect. He's very balanced and that is what makes him such an intriguing prospect as Mark Few looks to bring him to Spokane for his college career.