By Artau Pascual

Plenty of top-level European prospects have decided to make their way to the United States this Summer. Most of them enrolled in College Basketball teams, but many others chose to accelerate the process and join High School programs. 

One of the main players to pack his bags and go overseas is Dwayne Aristode. The 2006-born Dutch Wing, currently a TOP-10 ranked player in the Eurohopes 2006-born players ranking, left Joventut Badalona’s youth program before the end of the 2022-23 season. We were unable to see him with the Netherlands NT in the U18 European Championship. However, he showed up in June in Treviso for the Adidas Eurocamp event, and he also made an appearance at the Basketball Without Borders event in Wroclaw, Poland, in late August.

Dwayne is an astonishing athlete. Standing at 6’7, he’s gifted and versatile enough to cover positions 2 to 4 at the current level providing lineup flexibility and an immediate impact in terms of activity and energy. We are talking about a lengthy perimeter player with wide shoulders who has the frame to muscle up well. He moves with long strides and covers an impressive amount of ground. As a player, he’s still a blank sheet: We saw him in a primary ball handler role with the Netherlands NT over a year ago, and he was used as a scoring threat on the offensive end a Swiss army knife on defense in Joventut’s scheme. However, the main reason for Brewster Academy to sign him is, hands down, his ceiling. At Brewster, he won’t be alone, since 2006-born Iowa State 2024 commit Nojus Indrusaitis will also be part of the program. Indrusaitis was crowned MVP in Wroclaw and was also part of the U18 Lithuanian NT as an underage player.
My goal is the NBA. I wanted to go to the US and Brewster Academy is a good program. Joventut gave me good years, but it was time to move on and go the next step”.

There’s still a long way to go, but as the player told Eurohopes in the Basketball Without Borders Europe event, the NBA has always been not only his dream but also his main target. Dwayne considers physicality and pace to be the two main areas that he’ll improve the most from the very first moment at Brewster Academy, and that’s one of the reasons why he didn’t wait longer to go overseas. 
I think I’m a tall Guard and a tall Forward. I can get to the basket quickly and make plays. I’m a good shooter. I’m a guy who puts a lot of energy and I want to win badly. I love my teammates and I like to get hyped with my team. I just love the game of basketball”.

Dwayne describes himself as a player who can fill different roles for his team and contributes on both ends of the court with high levels of motor and engagement. When you see him play, it doesn’t take long to realize his physical attributes allow him -at least in the European youth basketball environment- to get to the rim at his will. He plays tough there: tries to dunk the ball every time he has the chance to do so without being afraid of initiating or absorbing the contact. His tools as a slasher are impressive too: good first step, promising floor in terms of footwork and ball protection - better in the open floor than in wide spaces at this point - with room for improvement, and the ability to operate isolated or in screens -usually rejecting them-. The next step for him, which will also be useful to determine his ceiling on the offensive end, will be finding the balance between the blind confidence he has in his athletic attributes and staying in control. He has really good handles for a player of his size and draws the attention of the defense because of his ability to put rim pressure and get paint touches, so once the game slows down to his eyes he’ll explode better all the advantages he’s able to create. While in Treviso, we saw a player who sometimes was too accelerated and made some unforced mistakes because of his willingness to display his full potential, in Wroclaw we saw him much more poised and balanced and impacted the game in a completely positive way, even leading by example and communicating a lot with his teammates in games and drills.
I’ve been working on my game and preparing myself for the upcoming season at Brewster. It was the best decision for me. Next season I’ll probably play with them  (the Netherlands NT). After speaking to the coaching staff we decided I was skipping this Summer”.

Aristode considers shooting to be his best attribute right now. If we take a look at his stats in the recent tournaments that logged his attempts and made shots, we can see a high volume of shots and inconsistent results, but attending his games and diving into the tape we can see he’s a versatile shooter who keeps improving his shooting mechanics. Dwayne has a high-arch shot, and he’s confident to pull up from way behind the three-point line. One of the things that stood out the most about him in Wroclaw, Poland, was his lower-body improvements: in late 2022 and the first stages of 2023 his legs were a little shaky, but this past month he was a lot more stable. This also translated to the other areas of his game, but it was a key factor in his shooting development. Although he’s more of a spot-up shooter at this point, Dwayne has the space-creation skills to self-generate his own looks from the distance, and he’s also fluid and dynamic enough to produce off curls and screens. His ability to change the pace without the ball in his hands is remarkable, and this makes him easy to adapt to multiple sets. It’s a matter of time and repetitions for him to find consistency as a shooter, but the material is there already.

However, the most impactful part of his repertoire right now is the defense. He makes an impact both on and off the ball. On the ball, he’s able to lower his center of gravity and takes advantage of his length to get steals against high-level ball handlers with ease. Dwayne enjoys putting pressure and picking up his matchup early. His lateral quickness, size and mix of ability and willingness to recover if he gets beaten makes him a reliable ball handler defender by mirroring the ball handler and being an active threat to him. Off the ball, he has a really promising potential to help and protect the rim from the: his lower-body is always in tension, he has enough reactivity to jump passing lanes and create deflections and, finally, he has an impressive vertical leap that allows him to be a high-level shot-blocker from the weakside, generally without contact but also taking advantage of it if he’s able to initiate it.
The area I’m focusing the most on improving is my behaviour and consistency”.

Dwayne, who considers College Basketball as his main goal for the 2025 class, has plenty of time to figure out how to put all the pieces of his game together, which is clearly the most important thing for every prospect, and to achieve it he’ll need to focus on areas like behaviour or consistency, two of his biggest priorities right now. He has decided to do so in the United States, the place where he considers his game belongs.