After attending third qualifier of Adidas Next Generation Tournament, this time in Lithuania, we continue our series of evaluating the prospects who may have a serious shot to put their name into NBA Draft consideration next years. Below scouting notes on two the most translatable potentials and rest of the names to follow:
YANNICK NZOSA (2003, CENTER, CONGO, STELLAZZURRA)
Named to All Tournament Team despite being two years younger than the competition. I had a chance to see Yannick just one week before at Szent Istvan Basketball Cup where he was totally dominant among his peers but what he did in Kaunas was even more impressive. Defensive potential of nearly 7 foot tall Congolese center is basically through the roof. He not only makes sure to contest every shot possible including full court chase downs but possess really quick feet and can switch onto almost anyone. From the way he slides on the perimeter and lowers his hips he can resemble Amar Sylla from Real Madrid. From grit, determination and coachability (plus size and lankiness) I would compare him to Vinicius Da Silva from Badalona who makes up for all his skill or strength based imperfections with hard work. Nzosa is a soldier on the court who excels in going hard for every 50/50 ball and at times it even seems that he could possibly calculate more in order not to hurt himself at some point. Offensively he is raw but reliable as a finisher and makes impact based on his energy alone. He seems quite instinctive rolling to the rim, is opportunistic for above the rim passes, avoids blocks and possess solid body control + spatial awareness after catching the ball. Areas to improve besides filling out is clearly jumpshot (mid range release takes way too long) or ability to handle the ball. Yannick made a big jump since joining Stella and seems as gifted as anyone 2003 born in Europe at this point. He doesn’t seem overly mature from physical standpoint which can make scouts hope he can grow more into his body and continue refining his feel for the game and skillset at a good pace.
JUHANN BEGARIN (2002, GUARD, FRANCE, CFBB)
Juhann Begarin emerged past summer as arguably the most gifted guard from 2002 generation in Europe. Tournament in Kaunas was great opportunity to see him live outside of France for the first time after half a year which is solid time period for U17 player to visibly improve his game especially for someone who has been in good development spot for just less than two seasons. It was really up and down showing for French prospect. While he is on completely another level in terms of athleticism and plays with rare poise, his fundamentals and skill level leave really a lot to be desired. Most of the damage Begarin is able to cause from slashing to the rim. He gained a lot of muscle mass and was ultra aggressive in playing through contact with the ball in his hands. However he lacks finishing flair and relies very heavily on his bounce and tremendous tools to play bully ball on youth level which allowed him to make some huge dunks or simply put back his own missed layups. His hands are somewhat stiff in general which causes too strong, effortful jumpshots (3/22 from behind the arc in tournament, 25/126 in the season) and makes his dribbling look very mechanical. Feel for the game is not perfect either. He tends to stand and observe passively far away from the rim and does a lot of things lazy way especially passing which led to horrible TO numbers (24 in 4 ANGT games). Also defensively despite having potential to be specialist he gambles way too much. It seems like he possess mindset of a scoring guard while skillset and profile predisposes him to more of simple slashing, energizing and locking down opponents. He may stand at very average 6’5 if we consider him for 3 position but definitely plays bigger with his nearby 7 foot wingspan. From physical profile Begarin is clearly NBA prospect but event in Lithuania showed how much work he needs to put all the things together and become legitimate guard capable of at least one crucial skill: playmaking or shooting.
NEXT IN LINE: MAXIME CARENE (CFBB)
TO FOLLOW: MODESTAS KANCLERIS (ZALGIRIS), GUSTAV KNUDSEN (DBA COPENHAGEN), MAREK BLAZEVIC (RYTAS), AZUOLAS TUBELIS (RYTAS), LEO MENALO (STELLAZZURRA),