Who is Eduardo Bersch Klafke? Taking a Deeper Look at Ole Miss’ latest 2024 Men’s Basketball Commit
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss hoops got some good news recently, as for the first time in the Chris Beard era, the Rebels landed an international prospect in Eduardo Klafke. Here, we will take a deeper look into Klafke and his skillset.
Hailing from Brazil, Klafke, known as “Du,” committed to the Ole Miss program, and would later post the announcement on his social media pages.
— eduardo klafke (@eduardoklafke_) September 7, 2023
Klafke chose Ole Miss over both Xavier and Creighton. He visited Ole Miss on September 6th before committing a week-and-a-half later. He also visited Xavier and Creighton before making his decision.
He is the third player to pledge to Ole Miss for the 2024 class, joining center John Bol and the uber-athletic guard Jason Jackson.
So who is Eduardo Klafke?
Eduardo is a 17-year-old who stands 6-foot-5 inches and currently is part of the NBA Academy in the Latin America division. Listed by some as a point guard, Klafke has the ability to play multiple positions.
The NBA Academy was initially launched in 2016, with the goal of the program to highlight elite talents in multiple parts of the world essentially aiding in their development. The Latin America program was started in 2021. Some of the names players who have had success from the Latin America division include NBA Players Bennedict Mathurin and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Arizona’s Oumar Ballo and Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi.
Prior to joining the NBA Academy, Eduardo was a member of the Brazilian club Sesi Franca — a club his father played for also. Eduardo was on the roster for two seasons with the club.
On December 21st, 2020, Eduardo made history by becoming the youngest player to compete in the Brazilian NBB (Novo Basquete Brasil), the premier league for Brazilian basketball. Eduardo was 15 years, 1 month and 10 days old on the day of the competition.
Klafke highlighted the support received by the coaching staff, club professionals and teammates.
“Thank you to my coaches (…) for showing me a path and giving me so many lessons (…) Thank you to all the players I had the pleasure of sharing the court with.“
As mentioned above, Eduardo’s father Rogerio was a professional player in Brazil for several years and has enjoyed extremely decorated career there. Rogerio was a 5-time Brazilian league champion, 2-time South American Club Champion, 2-time Brazilian All-Star, and competed in three FIBA world cups and the Olympics as a member of the Senior national team.
Eduardo has also been a key member for the Brazilian Youth National team, competing in four major competitions for Brazil. Here are his statistics for those competitions.
FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup (2023)
7 games – 8.6 PTS, 3.9 REB, 1.9 AST
FIBA U18 Americas Championships (2022)
6 games – 13.5 PTS, 4.2 REB, 1.3 AST
South American U18 Championships (2022)
5 games – 7.4 PTS, 4.6 REB, 1.6 AST
The first thing to stand out about Eduardo is that no matter what we’ve seen him in, he has consistently been playing up in his competition. At 15 years old, he was competing on a team with dudes over twice his age going through that professional process.
He is 6-foot-5, as mentioned earlier, and his father is 6-foot-7. There are multiple reports on his height, but it’s not unreasonable to think he actually stands at that 6-foot-5 mark listed by the NBA Academy. Physically, he’s going to have to get stronger. Fortunately, Ole Miss has one of the best in the business in that department.
Eduardo is neither overly athletic nor explosive. He won’t wow you in that category, but he is incredibly smart on the court. He knows his role, where he needs to be, and the situations — and it’s all very impressive. He knows his reads, when to trap, and when to help stunt weakside. The awareness and ability to do all the little things right is going to be a reason why I think he can make an impact for almost any team he’ll be on.
To describe his archetype, he fits in as a two-way sharpshooter with growing confidence as a creator. Offensively, he has been labeled as a sharpshooter and after watching some film, I see where it comes from. Eduardo has a pure shot and can get hot from three. I think there is potential for a little bit more but shooting will be his main offensive calling card.
For Brazil, he was a great shooting option who had looks dialed up for him, especially as the team tried to close the gap against Argentina at the 2023 U19 world cup. The two areas it seemed he really excelled as a shooter were in transition running lanes to the wing and the corner and off-movement in the half court. He does a really good job at getting square off movement and has a decently quick release with a nice arc-ing shot.
Klafke certainly can catch and shoot, but at least in FIBA competition he looked more comfortable going through all the motions of the play. Sometimes Eduardo would set a ghost screen to flare out for open looks as well. He was used as a good floor spacer for Brazil, and there were moments where he really excelled at moving and relocating without the ball. I would like to see him drift more and create separation as his teammates drive.
Some outlets list him as point guard. He certainly has elements to his game that show some capability to run an offense. Eduardo has a solid handle and can attack with the ball in his hands. He can work on tightening the handle, but functionally he excels at using length, changing speeds, and the pace he plays with the ball. Eduardo used several crossovers, in-n-out moves, to attack as well.
He was also used as a handler for several P&R and rub screens. Two plays with different outcomes showed me he has a very good IQ of what to do. The first was against Argentina (U19 WC), a simple screen as soon as he dribbled across the court approaching the perimeter line, coming off the screen, Eduardo saw the big defender was in a tough spot deciding to press up onto him or stay with the roll man. The bigs hips turned toward the roll man giving the high foot for Eduardo to attack. Eduardo goes in draws contact and gets two free throws.
The second came against Slovenia (U19 WC) where off movement Eduardo gets the ball, turns to look to shoot, the defender is there, and he goes into a triple threat position. Immediately, he gets an on ball screen that he goes off, sees the guard get through and he cuts the corner to attack as the guard recovers. He uses a hesitation move, then takes a big step towards the basket pushing the defender towards the hoop. Then he steps back creating good separation, nailing a mid-range jumper. It’s probably the favorite play I saw of him.
Defensively, Eduardo does so many of the important little things. As we know, Chris Beard’s teams pride themselves on defense and the energy/intensity on that end. Again, the awareness is on full display, reading the plays of what’s going on. Eduardo is a good off-ball defender in his ability to maneuver around screens.
Brazil mostly iced, so Eduardo knew when to jump towards the middle in those situations. “Icing” is a term where the POA defender (normally a guard) recognizes a screen coming and jumps toward the middle of the court, essentially forcing the handler to go toward the sideline eliminating a pick opportunity. The amount of times he read handlers eyes and would go double or see the look to the roll to stunt was eye-popping.
On ball, he can turn it on and did pick some pockets for steals. Eduardo recovered well on attacks but did have a habit of reaching down at the ball instead of keeping his hands up that got him in trouble. He used his body well and could put his chest into the attacker. He is going to have get more physical on this to stonewall players more, but there is a lot to like there. Overall, the term “glue guy” defensively was something I saw, and it makes a ton of sense for his ability to be in the right spot. It makes a guy very playable and keeps him in the lineup.
Lastly, something I wanted to note is that Eduardo has been a solid rebounder for a guard. He really elevates and gets the arms up to high point the basketball. He is not necessarily a physical rebounder, but he can crash in and in some instances he caused tip outs for extra opportunities.
Conclusion on Klafke
Overall, Eduardo Klafke is a bright player who has consistently been challenged over his young career and will be fascinating to watch in the Ole Miss program. He is a smart player who can play both sides of the ball and won’t hurt you much on either end of the floor. He is increasing his skillset offensively and already adds value as a perimeter threat and smart defender. Seeing his development in Chris Beard’s system will be fun to watch, and Ole Miss fans should be excited for him as a member of the class of 2024.
TJ Oxley is the Vice President of Operations and the Director of Community Relations for The Rebel Walk. He is also the Director of Basketball Content and Senior Basketball Writer. He has over five years of experience providing in-depth analysis of college basketball through multiple platforms. A former MBA graduate of Ole Miss, TJ started with The Rebel Walk in 2019.