Zaragoza, a team that managed only 4 victories in the first 17 stages, got its 3rd victory in the last 4 rounds yesterday and get out of the red zone. After this match that ended the series of 10 consecutive victories of Barcelona in the championship, I was impressed by Aday Mara. A kid of only 17 years who played against one of the best teams in Europe with incredible easiness, managing to score 7 points in the first quarter. He finished the match with 13 points, 3 rebounds and an assist in only 17 minutes spent on the floor, 5 of 8 from action and 3 of 5 from the free throw line, being the second scorer in Zaragoza’s most significant victory this season.
Usually, the top of each generation explode from a young age and have an upward path, but Aday started to shine recently and to be a player with confidence in him after he was selected to participate in the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, a FIBA -NBA action, where he was considered “The Spanish Wembanyama” due to his height (they measured him at 2.21 m.), mobility and game’s understanding.
Mara began his basketball career with the under-18 team for Zaragoza. He played in the 2020–21 Euroleague Basketball Next Generation Tournament and averaged 8.5 points and 10.5 rebounds having 9 points and 14 reb in the 5th place game with Fenerbahce. Mara was loaned to CB Peñas Huesca of LEB Oro at the start of the 2021–2022 season where he averaged 2.7 points and 3.8 reb. This year was assigned to Anagan Olivar of Liga EBA, the Spanish fourth division, where he averaged 10.8 points and 7.2 rebounds. In October, he made his debut in Zaragoza’s first team in the first quarter of a match with Baskonia, managing to score 8 points, 2/3 from 2 points, 1/1 from 3 points and 1/2 from free throws plus 4 rebs in 19 minutes.
Aday played for the Spain under-17 basketball team at the 2022 FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup, he averaged 12.6 points and 5 rebounds. Although he did not make the team of the tournament where 2 other Spaniards (Izan Almansa and Lucas Langarita) were included, he was Spain’s best scorer in the lost Final with the USA with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 assists alongside Gonzalez and in the semi-final with France also with 16 points. He helped Spain to achieve the best ranking in the history of participation in the FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup, 2nd place.
He has a repertoire of hook shots and floaters that he is using to convert difficult shots, being an occasional threat in the mid and high-post areas. Mara’s size, length and strength make him a productive interior defender but he needs to improve his level of quickness because this makes it hard for him to change direction. If he works on his mobility level, he will be able to become imposing under the rim and rebound many more balls.
Considering that he manages to play so well in the ACB, the strongest league in Europe makes him a top prospect of the 2005’ class along with Alexandre Sarr and Alexandros Samontourov.
Photo credit: 20 Minutes