FIBA U20 European Championships Div. B: Prospects

Best prospects starting from the highest level:

Steve Enoch (Armenia, 1997, 6’11, Center)

Has no connections at all to the country of Armenia but participates with the U20 for the second consecutive summer. Two unsuccessful season at Connectitut are really hard to believe looking at the skillset and tools that he possess. Enoch has beautiful shooting touch and can stretch the court. This combined with ability to set and operate after screens make him good either pick and pop or lob target. Not affraid to battle for position inside. Even stronger than he looks (close to elite level), can push defender out of his way after offensive rebound. Best while used as a 4-man. Although enormous skillset gap between him and the rest of the teammates he never showed any behaviour problems. Good communicator. On the other hand face up game and awareness are still work in progress as he seems to react slowly for ongoing situations on the court. Anyway in my opinion he is a sleeper and will have a breakout season in Louisville. Possibly he can end up in the range of 30-40th pick.

Goga Bitadze (Georgia, 1999, 6’11, Center)

Goga had very successful season as he participated in the final game of Adidas Next Generation Tournament and averaged about 10ppg in Mega’s affiliated club (Smedranevo) in Serbian First Division. Bitadze was really dominating under the rim this season but unfortunately almost no one could top his size and strength in his age category. This tournament allowed to evaluate him against equally big and physically mature players. He had ups and downs. Showed his full potential against loaded Croatia but also had terrible foul troubles and revealed poor body language which keeps raising questions about his future. There is no doubts that Bitadze is a serious NBA prospect He has some Nikola Jokic to him regarding not only same team they started making big career but also body type and decent passing & ball handling skills. Moreover Georgian center has really good timing for the blocks, very soft hands to finish a play and excellent shooting motion. Last months he added some extra range and is able to hit three pointers on the regular.

Leo Cizmic (Croatia, 1998, 6’8, Forward)

Son of Teo Cizmic – former international pro, currently head coach of Kormend in Hungary. Leo is a very fluid wing with all around skillset. He is very comfortable while handling the ball. Can start offense immediately after rebound and make coast-to-coast plays. Also his body control is notably good and he shows flashes of being very good non dunk finisher. Makes effort to use his height as an advantage against smaller players. Shooting is another key part of his offensive arsenal. Doesn‘t use much legs while taking the shot but mechanics is really quick, smooth and repeatable. In general very smart player who can check many boxes on the court and is easy to play with
– unselfish, fills all the open lanes offensively. His body frame looks ok but not particularly toned. Also possess just average quickness and athleticism which limit his NBA potential. But he is serious late 2nd round/stash potential up to his performances next season(s).

Tim Lambrecht (Belgium, 1998, 6’9, Forward)

Lambrecht is a lefty combo forward with good instincts and tremendous size. He possess decent face up game, can handle the ball and create for him and teammates. Shooting skills is what makes even more intriguing as a prospect. He possess good pump fake, quick release for a big man and can come off screens with good feet set as well. His length allow him to make impact as a rebounder. Unfortunately he seems much more comfortable going to his left hand. He is also not ready at all to face very physical competition. It limits his driving ability and contribution as a pick and pop option. Skills are there but needs to bulk up his body, become consistent and show more toughness.

Andrey Lopatin (Russia, 1998, 6’9, Forward)

Lopatin looked like a player with best potential from Russian team with the biggest chance for NBA shot thinking long term. He is very longish and lanky tweener forward who is more inclined to play as a 3 man. Possess smooth but not overly consistent shooting mechanics. He trusts his shooting skills and is very opportunistic in pick & pop. He sets intelligent screens and then rolls to the rim very well. Being light on his feet allow him to finish plays very quickly. Andrey tries to make his presence felt by cutting to the basket. He has decent court vision but doesn‘t play much with the ball for now, seems to be a bit right hand dominant and too careless. Also his legs are not strong enough. He lacks burst and plays below the rim. Improving ball handling, lateral movement to add switching ability and explosiveness are crucial for his further development.

Jordan Davis (Azerbaijan, 1997, 6’4, Guard)

The biggest intrigue of the tournament. Northern Colorado sophomore guard was given Azerbaijani passport. The country was searching for a combo guard to naturalize and reached out to Spencer Nelson (Utah State assistant with dual American/Azerbaijani citizenship) who reccomended Davis with some help of Draft Express‘s Jonathan Givony. Jordan pretty much used this tournament to promote himself, get overseas exposure which can give him better job after collegiate career. He took more than 20 shots per game and averaged just 1 assist. He possess tremendous overall athleticism. Great explosiveness, leaping ability and aggressiveness allow him to get to the rim anytime and be elite rebounder for position. He also converted about 40% 3pt FG and many off those shots were really tough attempts off the dribble in defender‘s face. His energy reminds to some degree of Russell Westbrook. He can take over the game but sometimes hurt his own team as well. Anyway Davis achieved what he wanted in Oradea. He will have to become more of teamplayer in order not to remain just main offensive option in weaker competition. Skill and tool wise he is definitely suitable for high (maybe the highest) level in Europe.

Terrence Bieshaar (Netherland, 1997, 6’10, Center)

6‘10 Dutch Center withdrew his name from 2017 NBA Draft. Willing screener who has a nose for the ball and offensive rebounds. Also capable passer from low post. Very active as far as setting up his position and looking for open spots on the court. Can occassionaly make advanced move and finish above the rim. Displays nice mid hook shots but very right hand dominant as
a finisher. His mid range jumper is highly efficient as well from various spots although he uses no elevation. Could improve quickness and coordination. Very valuable on defensive end. Really bothers passing lanes and alter shots with his length. Lacks some elite skill to be considered for Top level.

Mate Kalajzic (Croatia, 1998, 6’2, Guard)

Player with great athleticism for European Point Guard. He has a great motor and dynamite first step. Also very bouncy with the stong frame. Possess very good court vision also on the move. Specialized at creating advantage from penetrations where he can kick the ball out to the open man. But he provides much more than just offensive contribution as he is notable defender especially on the perimeter. Shooting improvement is crucial for his further development. If he can play at acceptable FG% from behind the arc, can possibly end up even as a Euroleague player. Stays in Split for the next season.

Roko Badzim (Croatia, 1997, 6’6, Guard)

Very good shooter and type of bucket getter. Can score in variety of ways and possess great offensive instincts in general. Able to play both backcourt positions but firstly creates for himself. Displays decent height which he can use as an advantage but doesn‘t really stand out in terms of his body and athleticism. Currently signed by Union Olimpija Ljublana for a three year deal. Should have enough opportunities starting from next season to prove himself in ABA liga.

Marek Dolezaj (Slovakia, 1998, 6’8, Guard)

Dolezaj is a very skilled forward and even more underdeveloped physically. Especially his upper body looks very thin which affect the way he stands the contact. Marek displays typical guard skillset. He is great ball handler for his height able to change speeds and blow by defenders but creates mostly for himself. Draws tons of fauls, can finish with big dunk in transition, has polished eurostep move and possess length advantage on position. His three pointer looks a bit flat sometimes and he moves right leg way too forward but release is quick and looks very developable in this regard. Also seems to be a bit soft at times with poor body language. To sum up Syracuse committ may turn out to be highly intriguing late bloomer if he improves his body and playmaking skills.

Emmanuel Cate (Romania, 1997, 6’9, Center)

MVP of the tournament who led host team to the title and promotion. Cate is a bit undersized center with good strength either in upper and lower body. He plays like a typical but not really modern center. His game is very inside heavy. He possess very good positioning, fights to establish himself in post arena, has enough bulk to get under the rim with his back to the basket and operates well as pick and roll man. Also displays notable rebounding instincts and effort. Has only basic low post moves in his repertoire. Smart player but not overly creative. Doesn‘t give much in terms of court stretching or other assets typical for power forward. Solid European player who can play bigger and bigger role in ACB but definitely not special or skilled enough to dominate on senior high level.

Agasiy Tonoyan (Russia, 1998, 6’7, Forward)

Tonoyan is a smooth, fluid wing. Coming off quite successful individual season (especially FIBA U18s). Already graduated high school last year decided to move to prep school in USA during the season. He possess good feel for the game as well as highly intriguing playmaking skills in transition and pick & roll. Also creativity level is extremely high and his teammates must be constantly ready to catch his passess. What‘s more important he displays very good attitude as he is not affraid of anyone and trusts his skills. Surely he needs to continue working on shooting skills and physicality. Touch is really good but gets pushed out of his way and struggles to finish penetrations against the length.

Marcel Ponitka (Poland, 1997, 6’4, Guard)

Marcel was a true leader of Polish team after he finally become full time Point Guard. It is hard to find any stronger players in Europe on PG position than younger Ponitka. He is two way player. Able to press much above three point line and to go over almost every screen. But also excells in transition where he gets very opportunistic, can force his way to the rim and finish above it. There is also notable progress in half-court offense where he distributed the ball patiently. On the other hand shooting, ball handling and pick & roll game are still not polished to the desirable level. If Marcel continues to improve his skills in those regards I can easily picture him as a starting Pg in strong European leagues and Polish senior national team.

Edon Maxhuni (Finland, 1998, 6’1, Guard)

Rooted in Kosovo, made and polished in Finland, Edon is a pure talent. As a son of the coach he has top notch instincts and understanding of the game. Possess very good defensive anticipation. Plays similarly to Petteri Kopponen – very good dribbling, prefers to have the ball in his hands. Great footwork and quick trigger allow him to create his own shoots at will in isolations. Also notably good pick and roll executor. Average physical profile and quickness. Still gets streaky with his shooting. Was unable to step up in crucial game. Very dissappointing tournament but skills are there. Definitely can picture him playing in strong European leagues after college career where he choose Long Beach over Texas Tech and two other scholarship offers.

Carl Wheatle (England, 1998, 6’5, Forward)

Type of glue-guy on the court. Displays tremendous effort on both ends off the court. Great defender who throws his body around and makes sacrifices for the team. Able to guard multiple positions if there is no significant height disadvantage. Also fantastic rebounder. Offensively shows flashes of good pull up game. Uses his good energy and athleticism. Not so skilled player but possess really good IQ. Plays under control and makes good passing decisions. Has a bit of Jae Crowder to him.

Hannes Polla (Finland, 1998, 6’11, Center)

Hannes is a big bodied Center with somewhat oldschool flavour. Oklahoma Sooners commit moves surprisingly well for his weight and can even elevate a bit. His natural strength allows him to get under the rim from low post where he finishes with either hand. He is also capable of making the hook shots with a proper follow-through which ends up over his head. Polla is also a hard screener, possess efficient mid range jumper and plays wisely in general. Biggest weakness at this time is pick and roll defense as he can‘t go back quickly to his man after hedge. Also has some occassional issues with catching low passess and receiving the ball on the move as a pick and roll man. While not exactly what modern basketball call for, still it‘s worth to track development of this unusual player.

Endar Poladkhanli (Azerbaijan, 1998, 6’7, Forward)

After dominating some C Division competitions he is making now a name for himself on more and more serious level of competition. Poladkhanli is a physical specimen. He is built like a tank, possess extremely broad shoulders and tremendous bounce. He is deadly in transition as he is almost unstoppable given his speed and strength combination. He can be a really tough match up on both ends when he gets into his aggressive mindset. Feel for the game and skill level keep improving (especially shooting and driving ability) but his handles and offensive moves still look
a bit unnatural and are far from being polished. Also Poladkhanli is not neccessarily next play guy as his body language seems not to be perfect after few unsuccessful attempts.

Aleksander Dziewa (Poland, 1997, 6’9, Center)

Dziewa was sensational in Poland during 2016/2017 season as he won U20 MVP and led his team to promotion to 1st Division. I expected him to pick up where he left off and establish himself as the best prospect on Polish team beside Ponitka. But he is under experienced player who was not well know even in his country one year ago and it showed a bit in Oradea. His performance was inconsistent but still he is must follow moving forward for teams from better leagues than PLK. Olek possess great touch in his hands and shows flashes of court stretching. He is easy to cooperate with on offensive end – fills the open spots, possess very good scoring instincts. He also has decent low post moves and body built. Lateral quickness is below high standards at the moment.

By | 2017-07-26T14:45:04+00:00 July 26th, 2017|News|0 Comments