Last 14th to 16th September the Third U16 Tournament organized by CB Sant Josep took place in Badalona. This is a event in which during the past editions players like Deni Avdija, Boris Tisma or many others made a names for themselves.
This time teams were: Sant Josep, Joventut, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Finland NT and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. That was an initial attractive for lots of people to watch first steps from many new players in their new teams such as: Teo Simic, Gael Bonilla, Pasha Dziuba, Matteo Spagnolo or Urban Klavzar.
On the following lines I will write about the players who I specially liked.
FERNAND VILAR (Badalona)
Fernand was one of the main problems for Penya’s rivals and heavily contributed to winning the tournament. Also got his spot in the All-Tournament team as the only Joventut player there. Beside good size he is really mobile and has good speed to run the court. Despite having an average athleticism he is really smart in defense and has good timing for intimidation under the rim. Furthermore he has good legs to defend players on the perimeter. He’s a fighter, not afraid of contact against anyone which combined with his great sense of position helps him in getting rebounds (averaged nearly 7 per game). He is really smart moving around the rim and reading spaces to get easy baskets thanks to his reliable finishing ability. He scored 14 points in Semifinal and Final while shooting 59% for 2.
MATTEO SPAGNOLO (Real)
Italian player came from Stella Azzurra. I watched him a couple of times with his team last year and also he had minutes on the U18 Adidas Next Generation Tournament. Matteo was the top acquisition for Real Madrid past summer. Really talented 193cm guard who plays with a lot of strength, likes to clash with the defender and penetrate towards the rim. Good shooting, with quite deep range. Plays the pick and roll nicely and is able to finish it or just to assist teammates. I saw a better passing vision than what I was expecting and what I saw from him in Stella. Especially he had a really good cooperation with Juan Núñez. He seems like he’s a player who likes to have the ball lot of time. Also, is a good helper on the offensive and defensive rebounding thanks to his body. Knows how to win position and then protect it to grab the ball.
KOSTANTIN KOSTADINOV (Real)
Kostadinov was coming from a good European U16 championship performance with his National Team of Bulgaria. It was my first live look at him since the end of last season. Kostantin was probably the most powerful and dominating player in the tournament. He has amazing physical conditions and a lot of strength. Good agility and can shoot from outside although he maybe needs to improve a bit his shot selection. He plays decently 1v1 when he takes an advantage of his strength. He dunks easily dunking if the lane is opened. Another areas that he excels in thanks to the body are: defense (really hard working on that end) and rebounding.
GAEL BONILLA (Barcelona)
Mexican player coming from C.B. Academy (Canarias), where he really stood out with performing an impressive season. He plays point guard despite being 203cm and was nominated to All-Tournament Team, plus won the best passer award (thanks to a 7 assist per game). He averaged 15.5 PPG and was the most important Barça player, by far. Despite his height he is really well coordinated player with nice wingspan. Plays really smoothly with his dribble. Drives to the rim and then finishes with a feather-touch. He’s also a threat from behind the 3 point line but not a great shoot creator though. Good pick and roll player. Great rebounder due to height difference with other guards.
JUAN NÚÑEZ (Real)
Juan is 2004 player, whose height is 188cm and plays point guard position. Recently he earned the MVP from Minicopa Endesa 2018 after winning the final against Iberostar Canarias. Despite being one year younger than others, he has played with the flashiness regarding handles and passing ability. He plays really good in isolations from anywhere in the court as he is able to throw his defender to the floor with some ankle breakers. Moreover when arriving nearby the rim he is crafty finisher. He is not an elite shooter but can take his shots from the three point line. He converted 43% 3pt but mostly from the corner. He doesn’t lack confidence but needs to improve his pull-up jumper as he was very inaccurate during the tournament.
Apart from those players like Iker Montero, Àlex Rubín de Celis or Guillem Vàzquez were really interesting and had good tournament in Joventut. ’04 Urban Klavzar had really good minutes with lot of intensity and good shooting. I want also to mention Ab Sediq Garuba, who despite still being a bit technically unpolished presented good things as a versatile wing. In Barcelona ’04 Teo Simic, didn’t have his best performance but he show some interesting post mechanics and I think it will be interesting to follow his evolution this season.
Photo: Gina Matias