Avi Koki Schafer was a diamond in the rough who was completely off the Japan Basketball Association radar before playing in scrimmage against the Japan U-16 national team in 2015.

When he showed up with the Tokyo Samurai for those games in October of that year, JBA officials were both impressed and caught totally off guard.

“So we scrimmaged and there was this 2-meter guy who was fighting like crazy inside,” said Torsten Loibl, who was coaching the U-16 squad at the time. “He gave our big men a hard time.”