From 9th until 12th of June we attended 2019 edition of Basketball Without Borders camp which took place in Elektrum Olympic Center in Riga, Latvia. As usual event gathered 40 of the most talented players, this time born in 2002. Here’s what we saw:
JUHANN BEGARIN (FRANCE)
As Len Schoormann was sick and could not attend the event, Juhann was clearly out of competition among guards thanks to his god given athletic abilities. French player displays special explosiveness and is an absolute killer in open court. He possibly attempted more dunks (including some nasty plays in traffic) than normal shots in 5 on 5 setting. He couldn’t be guarded by anyone and sometimes didn’t even have to use his full burst to get downhill where he presented couple notable non dunk finishes as well. It was hard to evaluate progression of his stroke (why to take threes if you can just explode and make another highlight reel play). As great as he looked here you need to take under consideration the pick up like environment and that the better dribbling and stroke is the bigger are his chances down the road. Anyway Juhann looks poised and very determined to become the best version of himself and his drive can take him to the highest level possible one day. Reportedly set to leave INSEP.
ARIEL HUKPORTI (GERMANY)
Ariel was teamed up with Begarinn. Both prospects have by far the best tools on their positions and often scrimmages which they took part in were reminding the dunk festival. Ariel still needs to limit lack of concentration but when he enables his motor he can be extremely dominant down low especially against peers as his pro body gained him already few BBL appearances and he may be even tried as back up big by Ludwigsburg next season more consistently. Hukporti has some considerable handles for a big man and at times could use it to speed up the offense after rebounds instead of questionable drives in half court situations. It will definitely help him moving forward if he can stretch defenses a bit but 5 man seems to be his the only right position on either end of the court.
YANNICK KRAAG (NETHERLANDS)
Long and lanky Dutch wing displays unique coordination talent. The way he extends his body in the air, his hangtime and plasticity give him great advantage as a slasher and allow to find good finishing angles in tough spots. Although he is still unpolished and starts the drives often from travelling you got to notice his overall unique fluidity (more smooth than explosive though) and huge room to grow physically and skillwise. Moreover he has defensive potential and promising touch to be a threat at least in spot up looks after catch. Yannick is a super interesting prospect and even must follow for NBA executives. Speaking of them reportedly besides great Spanish youth programs, Global Academy in Australia is an option for his further development. He still resides in Orange Lions Academy in Netherlands which is uncommon for youngster with his ceiling.
MATTHEW MARSH (ENGLAND)
English center looks like a hulk comparing to other 17yo participants. He really knows how to use his bulk and can be a problem nearby rim. Gets and up down the court quite impressively, can make a hard hedge and has a rolling upside given body to screen, huge bounce and fair quickness for 6’11 muscular 5 man. While he is clearly strength driven we talking about some serious power which can possibly ultimately be compared to Sasha Kaun and translate in quite dominant degree for pro level. Tried few pick and pop attempts, with little success so far but it may become another attractive factor of his game.
Point Guards often look great in camp settings especially scoring ones who can attack off the dribble. This time Juhann Begarin who is more of a two guard stole the show in that regard. Anyway here are quick thoughts on playmakers who participated in the event:
MATTHEW STRAZEL (FRANCE)
Short scoring minded player with deep shooting range and borderline cocky confidence in his jumper. Plays more like American guard, made few good passes here or there but doesn’t look reliable enough yet as main decision maker who can provide balance in ball distribution and organizing the offense.
TOMS SKUJA (LATVIA)
Latvia native. Undersized and endomorph body type. Has some craftiness typical for the lefty, runs the show on the court and seems like basketball gives him a real joy. Creative passer with good vision. Knows how to play.
MARKO ANDRIC (SERBIA)
Early developed small PG with good bounce. Good and very competitive on ball defender. Alpha dog dependent on having the ball to be productive. Good driver with fearless attitude, shot is still getting there.
JORYAM SAIZONOU (NETHERLANDS)
Just ok size, very good quickness, electric driver with promising finishing touch and shiftiness on the fly. More of defensive guard. Ok vision, not a ball stopper. Rather didn’t make mistakes but no fireworks as playmaker either. Release looks a bit slow, looks to penetrate too much.
AUGUSTAS MARCIULONIS (LITHUANIA)
You can rarely see a player instructing others in All Star game. Expect him to be ready for pro basketball very soon. Quite defined body already but very good dribbling, great passing skills and top notch IQ. Not an event for him, seemed a bit careless on purpose and looks better in serious games. Pull up which used to be a question mark looked greatly improved. Can be possibly very good 4 year player in High Major team.
ALEKSA GATARIC (BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA)
Really helped himself here. Tiny bodied but sneaky athletic. Navigates the screens really well and gets good elevation and high arc on his jumper. Can try too much at times. No facial expression, may lack vocal qualities desirable for playmaker.
BORIS TISMA (CROATIA)
Maybe wasn’t as dominant as other top prospects here but he still has ways to go physically. Great shooting package, rare ability to come off screens at 6’9 and next play sniper mentality.
LAMIN SABALLY (GERMANY)
Great bloodlines. Stubbornly tried at PG but needs a lot of time to get to that level. There is a talent and long term perspective for him but will be extremely hard to achieve similar level in men’s basketball to his sisters who dominate NCAA for women. Typical low floor, high ceiling.
ABRAMO CANKA (ITALY)
Frame is filling out nicely. Can be specialized defender and plays with rare poise. True warrior on a mission. However shot is still a problem. No stop button, hits the wall frequently. Dynamic but some dumb decisions at times.
PAVEL SAVKOV (RUSSIA)
Won the shooting contest but rather quiet tournament. Body is developing very slowly. Had troubles through contact and mostly settled for jumpers from behind the arc.
DAVID MUTAF (TURKEY)
I start to believe more and more that he can play as a point guard. Very nice pick and roll savyyness. Lefty with natural flair who can create his own shots. Personally I hope Sloukas can stay in Fener so he can learn from him at pro team practises.
IBRAHIM MAGASSA (FRANCE)
Grew a lot, very desirable tools for the wing. Forced the issue here and didn’t want to be in the shadow of Begarinn mainly. Aggressive but reckless at times. I see him more like a 3 and D wing in future.
AZUOLAS TUBELIS (LITHUANIA)
Kind of Jankunas with better speed. Fills the statline with blocks, steals, drawn fouls etc. Understands each other with Marciulonis perfectly. Thick in upper and lower body, can jump and drive in straight line. Shaky shooter.
LUC VAN SLOOTEN (GERMANY)
Positive tournament for Vechta product. Lately he was just firing it up from the distance like he forgot about his all around game. This event was reminder of his versitality. Was taking offensive burden, attacked off the dribble using screens and change of pace + ability to withstand the contact.
TIBET GORENER (TURKEY)
Played more aggressively than in the past and credit for that should probably go to US development system. Fluid athlete but didn’t gain much weight if any. Wasn’t really his best showing but talent is clear. Not built for Montverde probably and needs lower profile prep.
KRISS HELMANIS (LATVIA)
Got way more leaner, speed is still underwhelming but finally moves like PF. Good hands and instincts around the rim but didn’t stretch it here that much…Shies away from contact and getting physical seems definitely not to be in his nature. Doesn’t lower the body too well…
EMIL STOILOV (BULGARIA)
Nice potential as 5/4 hybrid for strong European league in future. Fierce competitor, played hard even when games tended to get sluggish or highlight oriented. Solid finisher, showed promise of being respectable outside threat as well.
AMARI WILLIAMS (ENGLAND)
Body looks simply tremendous. Brings the ball up and has considerable ball skills at 6’9. Seems like he doesn’t really wants to take all that banging inside. He won’t be a guard but 4/3 tweener and needs inside & outside impact. A lot of lazy habits but a lot of potential at the same time.
GILAD LEVY (ISRAEL)
Tower and hard to show over him. 7’5 wingspan and alters everything. Seems fragile, a bit bad body type, not sure how much additional bulk his frame can bear. Acts somewhat goofy at times but moves ok.
FILIP SIEWRUK (POLAND)
Seems to be on his way out from Barcelona. Really needs to find a good place after whirlwind years and regain his confidence. Kind of 3.5 position stuck but still can become a good pro.
LEO MENALO (CROATIA)
GREAT body, moves exceptionally fluid. Being invested in when he plays for Stella as oversized PG. Master of none but at the same time displays solid versitality. Could be tougher probably. Loads of talent, consistent production is not there yet but must follow even for NBA guys.
JOSHUA UDUJE (ENGLAND)
Could help himself if he was comboguard but looks more of a true two. Nice high arching shooting mechanics and balance on pull ups. Energy saving style often but in fact sleeper athlete.
ALEKSA BULAJIC (MONTENEGRO)
Very savvy, well rounded and can run a lot of point at 6’6. Not quick but pace shifter. Strong profile and very good defender through contact. Instinctive kid, not necessarily exciting for NBA scouts but possibly built for good European basketball.
Roko Prkacin & Luka Tarlac got injured during the event.