We picked six prospects from unranked section of 1999 generation which have considerably bigger potential than rest and can notably raise their stock this and next seasons.
SZYMON & JAN WOJCIK (6’9, Forwards, Elan Chalon)
Together as they have never really played separately even in youth national teams. Twin sons of arguably the best Polish player ever (even counting Marcin Gortat). Born relatively late in 1999 and gifted with tremendous physical profiles. However they can play complementary roles and mix both forward positions. Raised in quite comfortable settings where they had time to work individually on their all around game which pays off now. Currently adjusting to the highly competitive and athletic competition in France at Elan Chalon program which raised some NBA players last years – Clint Capela and Thabo Sefolosha. After their father, biggest fan and mentor is gone they can either lose focus on basketball or commit to hard work and make it big in tribute to him. Also it is intriguing how will they cope without each other as it is nearly impossible to play in the same teams during entire career.
NICOLAS BRETZEL (6’10, Center, Ratiopharm Ulm)
German hidden gem in Ulm program. As usually young talents who doesn’t participate in FIBA European youth competitions remain a bit off the radar. This summer Nicolas was at the camp with U18 NT for the first time. However he didn’t go with the team to Bratislava, Slovakia and instead was practising in Pittsburgh with his teammates – Marcel Pongo and Christoph Phillips. During the time he spent in USA, Nicolas even reportedly impressed Patrick Ewing during the scrimmage games. Bretzel is a very good athlete who recently got into even better shape and stands around 6’11. He can make highlight reel plays and even won dunk contest at the tournament in Vienna last year. Young frontcourt prospect is getting significant playing time early in the season in Ratiopharm’s affiliated team – Orange Academy, which plays in Pro-A League (second tier). Last round he scored 11 points and collected 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes of action against Hanau. It is very likely that we will hear more and more good news about Bretzel this and next years.
YORO SIDIBE (6’8, Guard/Forward, GBA Prague)
Senegalese swingman arrived in Prague less than one and a half year ago. Raised in Dieda Basketball Academy has barely practised indoor before heading to Europe. The pace of his development here is really amazing. Game by game he shows better skillset but what is even more intriguing is how Yoro improves his court awareness which is not always easy for African players. Moreover he possess elite athleticism and basically NBA tools. 6’8 Sidibe is a great target for alley-oop dunks. His energy, relentless motor and competitive attitude is a combination hard to find. You can see him first in transition getting opportunistic for the dunks and few seconds later first on the defensive end chasing for the blocks. However if you begin from low starting point then the progress is easy to notice. What matters most is how much room for improvement left after you reach good level in order to stand out from competition and become great. Next years will give answer how tall is his ceilling but he can possibly play on High Major level.
AYOUB NOUHI (6’6, Guard, The Academy)
Ayoub appears to be the best prospect coming out of Brussels for a long time. His presence could definitely help Belgium past summer to promote to Division A but he secured other trophies for his nation – FIBA U18 3×3 European & World Championship. Nouhi was named the MVP of Finals in Chengdu, China and finished as 2nd best scorer of the event. Moreover he attended Adidas Tournament in Las Vegas where he gained exposure in front of American coaches and even impressed some of them. This season Nouhi will continue his career in The Academy (fusion of CBA Canarias and Canterbury International Basketball Academy). He is very good athlete with decent body control and ball handling skills who needs to improve his shot. Recently he says more and more boldly that he dreams about NBA. Of course it’s everyone’s dream and he has really long way to go. We will see next years if he can walk the walk.
YAGITCAN SAYBIR (6’7, Forward, Anadolu Efes)
Turkish prospect was not a player with high popularity until the last two years. In loaded Anadolu Efes youth rosters, behind the ones like Onuralp Bitim, Muhaymin Mustafa, Saybir was a little under the radar beyond these players. He started to step up while Onuralp Bitim was in US, and showed premises of what he can do then and in the future. His constant good effort in the last U18 European Championship, Saybir was a vital part of the team that reached as far as the semi-final. 6’7 player can play both forward position and has the quickness to be able to play as small forward in senior team competition. As a lefty, his improved outside shooting dramatically increased his stock in the last couple of years. Was not a big part of U17 World Championship silver medal finish but he came to Slovakia as a much better player with more responsibility. His mental attributes are also impressed many as he plays with lot of energy and effort in every available circumstance.