Joel Embiid, Cameroonian 7-footer, looks like real deal just one year after first picking up a ball

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Remember when Greg Oden was a high school phenom? At the time, the 7-footer looked both indestructible and unstoppable, dominating every game he played in and ruthlessly taking charge in the paint.

Now there's another 17-year-old beginning to show some of those skills in Florida, and he's standing out on the elite AAU circuit despite having picked up the game only a year ago.

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Meet Cameroon-native and Gainesville (Fla.) The Rock School center Joel Embiid. While you may not have heard of him before, this is almost certainly not the last time his name will be prominent in the elite hoops scene now that his presence is finally being felt in the U.S.

Cameroonian 7-footer Joel Embiid —
Cameroonian 7-footer Joel Embiid —

As reported by's Eric Bossi and others, Embiid first began playing basketball just a year ago, at the age of 16. Despite his late adoption of the sport, the Cameroonian has shown few of the typical struggles with coordination and dexterity that often plague other 7-footers.

In fact, as the AAU highlight reel above showcases, Embiid has gone to the other end of the spectrum, flashing the kind of athleticism that one rarely sees from big men at any level, let alone those who have yet to officially tip off in high school basketball.

As one might expect for a player of Embiid physical stature and gifts, there have been no shortage of collegiate suitors for his services. Elite programs like Kansas, Louisville, Texas, Marquette Virginia, Wake Forest and UCLA, among others, have all extended scholarship offers to the center, with visits to Texas, Kansas and Virginia all forthcoming.

Whether the future home of Embiid comes from those earlier lists remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: If he lives up to even a small portion of his potential, the Cameroonian could have a major impact on the collegiate scene.

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