POOR B DIVISION
We didn’t see elite talent in Oradea and competition level was disappointing if we compare that to Skopje last year where Deni Avdija or Vit Krejci participated. While NBA scouts were extremely bored during watching the games, there are still noteworthy discoveries or good sleepers who turn out to make a big jump recently. Below some notes on the Top prospects from the event.
RATI ANDRONIKASHVILI Georgian slithery guard possess unique ability to get downhill thanks to his sneaky athleticism and presents rare finishing package at the rim at the same time comparable to Roko Leni Ukic back in the day. His length gives him defensive potential where he is stealing machine but that comes with a lot of gambling. He is also a good passer but still has troubles controlling the rhythm of the game which shows in TO numbers, cannot play at different speeds, has carry the ball type of dribble and is rather poor shooter. While he still has a holes in his skillset, his talent and flashy performances make him look extremely intriguing at times. However biggest question mark may be his behaviour. Rati has one of the worst body languages I ever seen in my scouting career because of constant complaining or demonstrating anger. If he never changes his problematic temperament he may remain longshot NBA prospect who is on pace to become Leb Gold player.
KERR KRIISA No unnecessary movement type of PG, very high basketball IQ and gifted passer. Veteran game and pro ready thanks to the advanced feel and instincts. However shooting heavy even on such a low level. Range or speed which could open more are not elite. Is he built to play against great athletes? Probably not but very strong candidate for high Euro level.
VINCENT VALERIO BODON Saw him already two and a half years ago and was very intrigued. This was first FIBA tournament with NT for him and looks like he still got it which makes you think where could he be at the moment if was more focused on basketball and left Hungary…Lanky and long comboforward which resembles Louis Olinde from physical profile. Raw but intriguing potential. Stands at good 6’8, makes knock down jumpers, slashes with his long strides, can pass a bit and bring the ball up. Maybe it’s not too late to become a good pro for him, could benefit from a good situation in college ball.
PELLE LARSSON One of the most positive surprises here. Serious physical profile for a guard/ wing and multi dimensional game. Can’t really shot well but can do almost everything else. Elite rebounder, solid athlete for Euro guy, can really straight line drive, fills the statline and makes winning plays. I can imagine heavy college recruitment but he doesn’t really have to choose this route. To me he is pro ready in 2 or 3 years on good Euro level.
DAVID BOHM Good ball skills for a player his size. Opportunistic scorer but good feel for the game. Can drive and pull up, best as face up 4 it seems. Average length and athleticism. Montverde bound, it doesn’t always go smooth for good Euro talents in elite American preps…
TRENDING IN DIVISION A
ADEM BONA (2003, Turkey, Center)
Nigerian native who represents Turkey helped himself as much as anyone else in Volos. Incredibly speedy and bouncy modern energy big. His potential as a rim runner, dunker, rebounder and shot blocker is really through the roof. Perhaps the best defensive prospect of the tournament hasn’t been playing basketball for a long time in his life which at times shows in slightly improved but still poor feel for the game. Especially passing is below a critical level. He doesn’t show much promise of shooting or playing back to the basket either but even without that he can be still fine given how elite he can become in few simple tasks that will be his main job. However his drive from behind the arc vs no one else but Moussa Diabate which ended up by spectacular poster dunk and perhaps top play of the tournament may suggest he can occasionally be something more than catch & finish guy around the rim. While he jumps out of the gym he is still relatively short for a big man (6’9) and even one inch more can definitely help moving forward. Anyways he resembles in big degree Clint Capela, with further development can eventually end up as a first round caliber prospect and it is just scary to think how dominant he will be at upcoming U16 European Championships in Udine if participates there.
MOUSSA DIABATE (2002, France, Forward)
French team was loaded as usual but underaged Moussa was best player and top potential at once from the roster. Extremely fluid athlete who gets up and down like a guard at 6’10 plus reportedly possess 7’3 wingspan. Rebounding is a clearly elite skill as he posted mind blowing 9’2 offensive rebs per 36. He has a light feet, great timing, glue in his hands and quick secondary leap. It looks like Diabate is taking advantage of being used as a point forward in his program as perimeter game and feel for the game seemed greatly improved comparing to last summer. He likes to operate in mid post where he can make a pass, try to post up or turn it face up. To some degree he is still really unpolished and mostly scores easy buckets thanks to his energy but room to grow offensively is definitely there. Moreover he displays relentless motor, can really lower himself, bother with length and potentially guard maybe even every position. Shooting remains a swing skill for hope to become a potential high lottery pick candidate. He was dared by opponents to shot more, made some long 2s but still attempted only one three and converted just 12 from 25 free throws. Anyways with that development pace he can be simply too good for prep school basketball in 20/21 season and not benefit from that at all. At the same time High schoolers won’t be allowed yet to go straight to the NBA at that point. People familiar with Moussa background know how tricky and complicated his recruiting process became last weeks. Actually maybe turning pro for draft eligible year could be a solution? I would not be surprised if it happens.
SANTI ALDAMA (2001, Spain, Forward)
While Usman Garuba production was something that everyone took for granted, Aldama basically stole the show from him. Talent was never a question with Santi but he stepped up big time in Volos and emerged as perhaps one of the top NBA prospects from the event. Spanish wing displays absolutely tremendous combination of size and versatility. It’s rare to see approximately 6’11 guy playing SF position most of the time. Aldama possess very good spot up shot, high level feel for the game and has a knack for moving off the ball within offensive flow. Moreover he can make accurate extra passes and is a threat in closeout situations given long strides and finishing ability. Doesn’t force the issue and let his scoring opportunities come to him naturally. While fluidity is there he is not exceptionally quick or athletic and needs to bulk up solidly moving forward. Also defensive projection is not that great at all at this point. He has a solid feet & great length but if enough burst to guard 3s in space or strength to check 4s? We will see moving forward. Anyways if he finds defensive fit there is a lot of optimism about Aldama’s outlook. Forward with his size and mobility who is that good shooter, that good team player, that solid rebounder with that high basketball IQ is just very rare. Before I finish this paragraph: kudos to Ivo Simovic. How great of a recruiter you have to be to land Filip Petrusev in Hartford back in the day or Santi Aldama in Loyola Maryland? Wow…
ALEKSEJ POKUSEVSKI (2001, Serbia, Forward)
Phenomenal and pure basketball talent. Super tall, long and can do it all. 7 footer who can bring the ball up, lose defender with behind the back dribble, pulls up off the dribble like a guard or come off screens, run PnR as a point forward, makes advanced stationary passes, rebound like a PF and finally block shots like legit rim protector. Possess elite instincts, very good understanding of the game and can put on a clinic against peers. A bit mixed results statistically. Tremendous defensive impact (how good is his projection on that end on next level though? Deflects the ball, challenges around the basket but in space it really gets worse + average motor) but on the other hand some shooting inefficiency too (should be fine in time with his natural touch). Biggest problem may be his frame which is just very narrow and doesn’t have much room to fill out. While he may always struggle to play through contact, his ability to operate over defenders or long strides in open court (grab and go artistry given handle for size and vision on the move) is something that he will rely on. Coordinated but has some concerning athletic limitations. How good can he be now vs energetic and physical freaks who often display versatility close to his own? His size doesn’t give him much advantage given interior offensive finishing limitations. It can obviously get easier for him if he becomes very, very good shooter.