Adria Gasol, the 18-year-old brother of NBA big men Pau and Marc Gasol, has enrolled as a student at UCLA and intends to walk-on to the team next season. A UCLA spokesman said the youngest Gasol brother will not join the Bruins on their exhibition tour of China when they leave Wednesday, but he will begin practicing with the team this fall.
Although the youngest Gasol is 6-foot-10 and has impressive bloodlines, it would be a surprise if he is able to make much impact at UCLA in the near future.
He wasn't interested in following in his brothers' footsteps in basketball growing up and played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore at Lausanne High School in Memphis before returning to Spain the past two years. He worked out with the Spanish U-18 team last summer but did not show enough to make the roster, suggesting, he's well behind his brothers at the same stage.
At age 18, Pau was a phenom who joined Barcelona's senior team after excelling for the junior team the previous two seasons. Marc was overweight while attending high school in Memphis and did not blossom into NBA prospect until he returned to Barcelona.
"(Adria) looks like a typical late-developing kid — long, skinny, fast but lost on the court," said Rafal Juc, a Poland-based scout for EuroHopes.com.
"Adria was on radar of a couple of Spanish agents and scouts, but they don't see him in the future on as high a level as his brothers play. His basketball IQ is limited, he shows some serious lack of basketball fundamentals and struggles due to many injuries. But in my opinion it's smart move by UCLA (to add him). It doesn't cost anything to get the kid a place (on the) basketball team when he pays for his academics, especially when his last name is Gasol."
Even if Adria never becomes the caliber of player that his brothers are, his famous last name alone should make him a favorite among UCLA fans and a source of intrigue in the final minutes of blowouts.
If he focuses on basketball and develops into a surprise contributor at some point in the next few years, then that's a coup for UCLA. And if he does nothing more than persuade Pau or Marc to occasionally work out against the UCLA frontcourt during the offseason, then that's still a greater contribution than the average walk-on makes.
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