After posting preview of competitions organized by Euroleague Basketball last week, we are following with third and fourth tier of international club competitions: Basketball Champions League and FIBA Europe Cup.
KARIM JALLOW – Loan to Ludwigsburg can be breath of fresh air for Jallow. Even despite his below average basketball IQ it is hard to understand why in this world he was barely a walk on in Bayern team which had many blowouts last year as a kid born and raised in that arena and already just too good for their B squad. Despite that, Karim worked very hard and even made some NBA scouts attending Pro B games. He can possibly find a solid role in John Patrick system which demands a lot of physicality, defensive pressure, mostly uses all the players in the roster regularly and doesn’t require advanced tactical knowledge.
Bamberg’s decision about joining Basketball Champions League for year was somewhat surprising. However tt may mean bigger chance for the trophies and at the same time more playing time for the best youth team products during entering senior team. Already drafted in late 2nd round Arnoldas Kulboka and Louis Olinde who is looking to follow this achievement next summer are expected to have extended roles with +/- 15mpg on the court. Talented 1998 born forward is really versitale at 6’9 but his lanky frame seems somewhat unfillable. Situation is unclear regarding William Mcdowell White who was superior on Pro A level last season but as foreigner didn’t stand a chance to appear in BBL games. With Tyrese Rice, Nikos Zisis in the roster and after comeback of Daniel Schmidt it is reasonable to have a worries that it’s not going to be another season mostly with Baunach.
Real prospects hotbed. The most exciting team to watch for all the NBA scouts but youth and winning doesn’t come together at all. Suffice it to say that one of the most experienced players will be Olimpija’s former main prospect – Blaz Mesicek who spent last year and a half in Brindisi. Recently he is reaching really good shooting consistency and with adding some muscles and big season he is not out of draft chances. However more surefire NBA prospect in the roster is Luka Samanic. Croatian megaprospect left FC Barcelona and hopes to get lottery looks thanks to good ABA Liga and Basketball Cl performances despite slow start. Things will get even more interesting when Marko Simonovic completes home grown status on loan to Roseto, Italy and possibly goes back right away to Ljublana. Perhaps we could also mention Jalek Felton who is nephew of NBA veteran – Raymond Felton. However his talent and right attitude doesn’t always come together and it is unclear whether he stays in Ljublana entire season as experienced PG may be more reasonable option to go for.
GYTIS MASIULIS – One of the smartest players you can see in U20 stage. His instincts are not teachable and it seems like he has just perfect timing in everything on the court whether it’s positioning for loose balls, cutting off the ball or rolling after screen. He had some double digit performances in LKL but struggled to see some more minutes in Euroleague. Going on a loan to Neptunas seems like a great opportunity to get extended role on reasonably high level which is at the same time not too high. He will have to compete for minutes with Osvaldas Olisevicius and Simas Galdikas but it’s easier task than it would be with Edgaras Zelionis last season.
TIM LAMBRECHT – Another prospect for whom time is clearly running out. Even at FIBA U20 European Championship past summer his statistical output was worse than in the same competition one and two years ago. Still not very tough and reliable defensively but there is very little number of youngsters with his versatility and budding offensive skillset at 6’11. If Tim’s role is not visibly increased this year, he should not be loaned to another Oostende based team in lower division which is not his level anymore but at least to some Euromillions League rival and play outside as much as possible.
VRENZ BLEIJENBERGH – While Belgium league is proven destination for mid to high level NCAA rookies, paradoxically domestic prospects are not eagerly given minutes quickly in their careers. At the age of Vrenz, Hans Vanwijn or Ismael Bako were just a walk ons. He may be even more exciting project but still has ways to go physically and can struggle to get consistent playing time in close games despite being part of generally very young roster, especially on the beginning of the season. Last year he played as almost non dribble stretch four in B team. Hopefully at least that role is changed as we all witnessed how good of an offensive facilitator he can be while given more possessions with the ball in his hands.
Turkish basketball powerhouse for many years, Banvit rejuvenated its roster this year. With the new coach Ahmet Gürgen, who was coaching U18 team of Banvit last year, took over the position of head coach and he is looking pretty confident with the level of young talent on the team. Erxhan Osmani, a standout in last 2018 Eurocamp, mobile bigman means a lot for Banvit’s frontcourt rotation. He already looks like a viable option at both 4 and 5 at the start of the season thanks to his level of contribution last year in Turkish Second Division team of Banvit. Versatile big with astonishing motor he will probably find around 20 minutes per game in BCL. He still has way to go in terms of toughness and low post defense. He has the ability to play outside a bit as well and unquestionably one of the key players of Banvit. With constant good performances he might get late 2nd round draft looks. Frontcourt back-up will be no one other than highly touted prospect of 99’ generation, Ragıp Berke Atar. He showed flashes of what he is capable of in the pre season games. A bit traditional big man who can converge soft hands and physical strength down low. He was the top performer for 5th place Turkish team, he might be able to prove his worth against pro level European competition this year. Another big time contributor will be 99’ Sehmus Hazer. Athletic wing is reminding us Cedi Osman a bit, especially with his relentless motor. Getting better every year shooting the ball, also proficient running the transition and perimeter defending. He will most probably deliver in support roles in backcourt.
HAPOEL TEL AVIV
Another year and another Hapoel. Tamir Blatt who recently played against his father team in pre season scrimmage in Greece for the first time ever signed two year deal with the team from Jerusalem. Despite beating them in last season in the semifinals with Holon this is probably another step forward in terms of prestige and finances. Son of former Cleveland Cavaliers coach possess exceptional basketball IQ and is basically great player in bank teller’s body. Another prospect in team from holy land is Tomer Levinson who came back from short stint in Croatia with Osijek. 2000 born forward may not play a lot yet but learning from experienced veterans like Amare Stoudemire or Lior Eliyahu may really pay off moving forward.
ANTONIOS KONIARIS – After battling injuries and being released from his 5 year contract with Panathinaikos, Koniaris already established himself as important player of PAOK. Last two seasons he received award of the best U22 player in the Greek league. Pass first point guard has great positional size and length. While his vision, passing skills and pesky defense are top notch, he possess somewhat scoring liability which makes him predictable and limits his potential. Anyway even without more aggressiveness offensively and consistent outside shot he will still remain good back-up for Greek high-level teams since he can do great job supporting scoring PGs.
Dimitris Moraitis (AEK), Nikolaos Rogkavopoulos (AEK), Omer Al (Besiktas), Enes Taskiran (Besiktas), Luka Kontrulja (Oostende), Servaas Buysschaert (Oostende), Mads Sturup (Tenerife), Jose Familia (Le Mans), Jacob Round (Fuenlabrada), Laurynas Beliauskas (Neptunas), Dziugas Slavinskas (Neptunas), Eleftherios Mantzoukas (Promitheas), Dimitris Karaiskos (Promitheas), Gora Camara (Virtus), Alessandro Pajola (Virtus), Ludovic Beyhurst (Strasbourg), Quentin Goulmy (Strasbourg), Vincent Gielen (Antwerp), Roi Huber (Holon), Kristaps Kilps (Ventspils)
FIBA EUROPE CUP
DEANDRE BURNETT – American Point Guard joined Riders after decision to skip senior year of college and will be automatically eligible in next draft. Brittish team was granted a spot in Basketball Champions League qualifiers but got verified quickly after huge loss to the Bakken Bears. Anyway such environment is perfect for someone who wants to promote himself and make a jump in 2019 not necessarily regarding the NBA chances but before everything else as far as career in Europe. Roster is young, full of players straight from NCAA who he knows how to play with, language / culture shock is smaller than elsewhere, level is not overwhelming, you got a chance to get exposure internationally and fully focus on that aspect as domestic league is far from being demanding. Another American who left university, came overseas and could participate in FIBA Europe Cup is Tavarius Shine from Lulea. However his team is very unlikely to get in after losing in first leg of 3 rd qualifiers round to Turkish IBB.
NIKITA MIKHAILOVSKII – Russian prospect had himself a true breakout 2017/2018 season. On one hand Avtodor’s has two quality import wings: Mckenzie Moore and Tre Mcclean who are young and still on the rise, but on the other hand roster is not that deep. There should be plenty of chances for Nikita also regarding unexpected loss in Basketball Champions League to dark horse of qualifiers – Fribourg from Switzerland, which means participating in less demanding competition. Organisation seems to be aware how great prospect they possess and be commited to developing him. Mikhailovskii still needs to improve strength, handle to be more efficient shot creator and get consistent with his stroke. This year he should appear in every game regularly and next year be more important part of Saratov so draft looks will become possible.
DMYTRO SKAPINTSEV – It is still unclear at the time of releasing the article whether Cherkasy will defend advantage from home game vs Keravnos but Ukrainian center with enormous + 7’6 wingspan and + 9.4 standing reach was solid so far in qualifiers. He possess acceptable mobility, rather strong frame, ok passing / rebounding ability and is reliable around the rim finisher. As usual his biggest challenge will be to stay healthy for longer stretch. In previous season alone he missed U20 European championship because of knee injury and had also hand fracture in September 2017 which kept him out of the court for half a year. Despite that setback Skapintsev is just 20yo and there is still hope for him to end up in better leagues on the continent.
NOTABLE REGISTERED: Fynn Fischer (Wuerzburg), Badu Buck (Wuerzburg), Joel Ekamba (Mons), Rienk Mast (Groningen), Efstratios Voulgaropoulos (Aris), Vasilis Charistidis (Aris), Gorkem Dogan (Karsiyaka), Francisco Amarante (Porto)