Annual TBF U16 International Tournament was held in Sakarya between 28 th of January and 1 st of February. Lithuanian team dominated every game they played, team has amazing long term potential players as well as some guys with experience already in U16 level. Contrary to last year, there were no teams from rest of the world. In earlier editions, we had the opportunity to see Argentina and China. I have to admit that 2019 edition of the tournament was a bit disappointing, some headline prospects were not here from Croatia and Serbia and not all the games were competitive. Here I present some notes about interesting players of this tournament.
TAUTVYDAS BALTRUSAITIS (4, LITHUANIA):
Tall stretch four with nice frame and very good looking shooting stroke. Mobile and a fluid athlete for his size. He was very active on the boards in this tournament, very competitive overall. One of the better shooters in this tournament with no doubt. Waits for his moment, on the downside he does not create with the ball or dominate the offense. Still room for development finishing around the basket. Lithuania team talentwise was the best team in the tournament, guards did find Baltrusaitis around the arc and near the elbows many times.
OLEGAS KOJENETS (5, LITHUANIA):
Compared to last season, Kojenets showed much improved body coordination here in Sakarya. Definitely a high IQ player, aware of what is happening around him and can pass the ball down in the low block for easy looks. Physically underdeveloped but he is another mobile big from Lithuania team. He added midrange jumper to his offensive tools as well, which seems pretty solid and fluid. He has the ability to finish around the rim with both hand but struggles to keep his body control through contact. Defensively competitive, understands help defense and he can stand his ground on close outs. Overall, he still has a long way to go but the potential is there.
EMILS BUTKUS (2/3, LITHUANIA):
Player with more experience than rest of his team, Butkus was scoring whenever his team needed. His agility and strength for this level is very impressive. He can get inside with quick first step and create his own shot with ease. He seems like he is not growing anymore but even now his physicality is pretty decent going forward. He is handling the ball much better now and he was not afraid of taking responsibility for the team. He is a good 3pt shooter but usually takes shots inside the arc.
YOHAN TRAORE (3, FRANCE):
France here had players with tremendous physical upside but most of them were very raw in total. Yohan was one of those guys with really good physical profile and athleticism. A slasher with nice first step and change of speed. For now, he is just a straight-line driver but upside is there. We have seen some floaters and contact layups from him that are nonetheless promising. He has a strong upper body that helps him stand his ground on defense and around the rim. Shot needs some work but it is not broken, it can gain consistency in time.
BATIN TUNA (2/3, TURKEY):
Even though not producing at the level he was supposed to, we have seen some mature understanding of the game from Tofaş product Batın Tuna. Tuna is an all around wing with multiple tools on offense and he looked like the best defensive player in the tournament. Very smart on both ends, does not make much mistakes but could have taken more offensive responsibility for the team. He was a bit hesitant to take jumpers around the arc. Driving to the rack is one of his notable skills, he can take contact or finish with his weak hand. More of a team player than an alpha dog for his team without doubt. He has good overall basketball IQ; makes good defensive reads, has nice passing instincts and gets rebounds very well for his position.
Nikola Radovanovic, Stefan Dabovic, Rokas Jocius, Radvilas Kneizys, Titas Sargiunas, Liutaras Lelevicius, Tomislav Ivisic, Duje Brala, Antonio Santic, Ousmane Dieng, Adem Bona, Ege Peksarı