What you see is what you get with Jefferson Koulibaly. An all-around stat-stuffing, energetic competitor who averaged 27.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game in his senior season, according to the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association website. All those marks were team highs and he even led his team in steals per game too.
Koulibaly is highly regarded in Canada and is known as one of their top players, and not only did he lead his league in scoring, but he was awarded as the Most Valuable Player as well.
He’s coming into WSU next year as a player who’s ready to contribute from the get-go. The makeup of the team is still in question with the future of C.J. Elleby up in the air, but whether he’s on the roster or not, the Cougars will need contributions from Koulibaly.
Jefferson Koulibaly’s ability to make plays is what could elevate the level of play of the Cougars. He plays the game so fast yet it looks as if he’s playing in slow motion. He attacks with his head up in transition and is always prepared to make the correct play when the defense slows him down.
Take a look at this clip of him grabbing the rebound and setting his teammate up perfectly in transition:
Playing the game at this tempo comes with responsibility. Being able to control the offense in transition with patience and discipline is what made him an elite point guard at Lincoln Prep. He has moments of showcasing this talent and it’ll make Koulibaly an unstoppable force if he can continue this skill onto the next level.
Take a look at this clip of Koulibaly breaking down the defense and using his patience to find his sharpshooter spotted up in the corner:
With the athleticism that Koulibaly has, he easily could have risen above the defense and forced a shot, but his patience and trust in his teammates ultimately led to the right play and the winning play for his team.
He’s about explosive as they come for an eighteen-year-old and the way he combines it with his ability to the handle the ball is what gives him the potential to be a lethal offensive weapon for the Cougars.
Here’s a clip of Koulibaly playing off the pick and roll masterfully and splitting the double team with excellence:
The best part about watching Koulibaly play is how easy he makes the game look. He makes it seem like he’s performed that move a couple thousand times, and for all we know, he has.
He is equipped with different ways to find himself around the rim making him unpredictable and a threat anywhere the court. When studying the play of Koulibaly I watched four or five of his high school games that I found on YouTube and this next move from him is what caught my eye the most.
Must watch: Jefferson Koulibaly in transition using a spin move to create an easy finish:
Looks easy, right? No matter the competition or who you are playing against that move works. That’s what has me so excited about Koulibaly coming into WSU next year.
Most of his points come with pro-level moves, meaning they will always be sufficient whether it’s NCAA play or the NBA. He will remain a very difficult cover as long as he continues to practice those moves and find ways to improve them.
Speaking on pro-level moves, Koulibaly also comes equipped with a lethal step-back jump shot.
Take a look at the level of difficulty on this step-back from Koulibaly:
The degree of difficulty in that shot is extraordinary. Just like the rest of his game, his jump shot appears to be so pure. Every release looks so simple and smooth.
And, the craziest part of all these highlights is they come from just one of his games. He finished this game with 35 and also had scoring nights of 48,44,39, and 38 during his senior campaign. Koulibaly knows how to put the ball in the hoop and he showcases it over and over again.
Here’s another highlight of Koulibaly making a jump shot seem so easy:
Another thing that really impressed me in the way that Koulibaly plays is the way he works off the ball. Teams are doubling him on the catch and playing denial defense on him, meaning if he wants to contribute he must find creative ways to find his spots.
He played nearly the entirety of the game in the ones I watched and he spent half the time on offense working to create his shot. He makes it evident how much he wants to contribute and understood what it takes.
He utilizes the common theory in basketball that setting screens for others is what will likely find you your best look.
This clip demonstrates Koulibaly setting a back pick leading to him finding rare separation and a driving lane:
He perfectly uses the art of setting a screen for someones else to find himself some space on the court and it led to that quote from the commentator saying “That’s the most space he’s had all day today.”
The expectations from Koulibaly are high and everybody should be ecstatic to get him into crimson and gray. He prides himself on his competitiveness and that’s what he believes sets him apart, he said.
“I’ll do anything to win and I hate to lose,” Koulibaly said. He’s just as excited to get here as we are for him to arrive. He believes Wazzu is the perfect fit for him and that he’s earned his right to compete as a Cougar.
“I’ve been putting my work in,” Koulibaly said. “So I’m just ready to go in and have fun playing the game.”
Koulibaly also made it clear how important basketball is his to him because when asked it’s value, he responded with “it means EVERYTHING”
Oh yeah, he’s also an incredible athlete. No explanation needed here, just watch this: