ANGT BELGRADE TOP PROSPECTS
End of February saw the end of ANGT Qualifiers for this season in Belgrade. The level of competition was a bit disappointing, final game was very predictable from the start. Only surprise of the tournament was Mega Bemax beating Crvena Zvezda in the final game, ending Zvezda’s long running winning streak in ANGT qualifiers. Even though the tournament lack the number of clear cut NBA prospects, there are some players that can have nice careers playing in Europe. Now, lets take a short look at the best prospects of this tournament.
Aleksander Langovic / 6’9, 2001 / Mega Bemax / MVP
Langovic was the MVP of the tournament even while it was not his best showing so far. In the group games he was not playing like the alpha type and he was pretty much careless with the ball, averaging 4.3 TO in three games. Still he was very effective around the basket thanks to his athleticism, strength and fundamental. Very efficient finisher around the rim, uses his light feet to his advantage. In addition to that, we can say that he was better in low post in this tournament. Most impressive part of his game is his rebounding instincts. Fights for loose balls and follows every rebound with nice positioning inside. Outside shot is still a work in progress, made 2/10 throughout the tournament. In the final game, he looked more focused than ever playing with high percentages inside without making easy mistakes and also being competitive on defense.
Aleksej Pokusevski / 6’11, 2001 / Olympiacos
Easily, the biggest potential in the tournement was Serbian physical wonder Aleksej Pokusevski. Olympiacos player has an interesting body, a bit narrow frame but winspan and the size of his hands are mesmerizing. Even though he lacks strength big time, he showcased his skillset in Belgrade. Very decent athleticism, good leaper and runs the floor very well. 6'11 player has instincts like a guard, can dribble the ball good for his size, shoot off the dribble. Has soft hands finishing around the rim and smooth touch from outside (52.6% 3pts). Shot release is quick and fluid, looked very comfortable especially shooting off the catch. Struggles inside due to his frail body but it will come together in the future. Can pass out of dribble nicely but still has to learn to play off the ball better. What was a bit troubling was his low effort in the tournament. On defense he was not focused on help defense most of the time, except the time he rose for weakside blocks.
Nemanja Popovic / 6’8, 2001 / Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade
Fluid forward had a good tournament overall. Good length, vision and constant effort makes him a valuable asset. Very good rebounder, hustles for loose balls and does not lose focus at anytime throughout the games. He is at his best operating around high-low post. Has good body strength already to compete underneath the rim and finishes well with expanding to the rim. On the high post, he shows exceptional awareness to make nice passes and find his open teammate. Versatile and mobile for his size but it is hard to call him a perimeter player yet. He hit some 3pts and midrange shots but not a constant threat so far. Looks to handle the ball better in this tournament but at least an improvement on his spot up jumpers will add a lot more value to his game.
Andreas Tsoumanis / 6’8, 2001 / Olympiacos
Greek player was a pleasant surprise of Belgrade ANGT. 6’8 forward has wide shoulders and decent length to play 3-4. Not athletic but moves well and looks pretty fluid on the court. Highly competitive on both ends with impressive fundamentals. Showcased nice flooder game. Basketball IQ is well above average as he was making the most of his fakes and off-ball cuts to get to the rim easier. Uses body strength and wide frame to finish around the rim with basic shoulder turns. Not afraid of contact and looks cold-blooded on the court. Good rebounder and a competitive defensive player as well. A bit of a stiff jumper outside but he still has some feel outside.
Davide Casarin / 6’3, 2003 / Reyer Venezia
Italian guard was phenomenal in group stage for Reyer Venezia. Being two years younger than the tournament, he was very comfortable and cold-blooded when he had the ball in his hands. Handles the ball very well but needs to work on creating separation with his crossovers as they are not efficient yet. Size and body looks already enough and it will only get better. Has a tendency to score in bunches quickly, somewhat a microwave at scoring the ball. Fortunately for him, team was got stuck on offense multiple times and then he stepped up. Good outside shooter, there is room for improvement in terms of consistency and shot decisions. Defensive effort and awareness are just OK. Not an athletic player but moves well, he still has a long time ahead of him to improve first step and body strength. Off the dribble he cannot build up lower body balance yet. Vision and passing skills are promising, definitely a player to keep an eye on in the next two years.
Lazar Zivanovic / 6’6, 2001 / Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade
Lazar was a scoring at will in Belgrade ANGT. His Per-40 scoring average of 25.81 pretty much sums up his offensive involvement. Until this tournaments, he was most of the time inconsistent. Zivanovic has good size for 2-3 standing at 6’6 although he is still very thing. He was undoubtedly one of the best athletes of the tournament, very quick first step combined with speed and agility. Not hesitant in anyway shooting the ball from outside, has a nice release and fluid motion. Does not fill out the stat sheet in other areas much. Defensively tries to stay in front of his match-up around the perimeter but looks more focused on offense.
Djordje Topalovic / 6’9, 2001 / Spars Sarajevo
Spars bigman had a solid tournament overall. He was the vital part of Spars, dominating inside with a basic and efficient game play even against his limited skillset. Positions himself well around the rim. Very strong body for this level, he was fighting in the paint, absorbing contact well. Hardworker with a team first mentality. He was not forcing the game. Defensively nothing special but does not get pushed around and stands his ground most of the time.
Notables: David Mutaf, Aleksa Gataric, Vukasin Masic, Bojan Tomasevic, Nikola Micic, Alen
Malovcic, Mihailo Musikic, Bosko Bumbic.