European Prospects

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5 players to follow in the Portuguese LPB 2013/14

November 26th, 2013 · No Comments

(Luís Cristóvão) With 5 rounds played in the Portuguese LPB, it’s time to focus in a group of players who are preparing themselves to be part of the next generation of the Portuguese National Team. The country has recently shown some good results in the FIBA Europe Women’s competitions, while their Men’s teams were not able to keep the pace along the best European teams, failing Eurobasket 2013. Nonetheless, with Mario Palma keeping his place as Head Coach in the National Team, and more players putting an end to their International careers, the Portuguese team needs more prospects.

This season, the Portuguese LPB presents more young players in the team’s rosters, as while the Basketball Federation kept the rule to present three Under 23 players in all the game rosters, the financial crisis also has a very important role, while making each team look deeper in their youth ranks for players who can help their League team with a smaller impact in the payment sheet. While Miguel Cardoso (’93) keeps a good run at JSF Nanterre, having already made his debut in the French Pro A team, being this generation strongest prospect, five other players could, in the near future, have a similar impact in stronger leagues than LPB.

Artur Castela – 2m03 – PF – 1993 – Benfica

Castela is the interior player with bigger impact in the Portuguese youth teams who played in FIBA Europe competitions during the last seasons, having five presences in European Championships – Division B. Staying at Benfica is a challenge for this young player, as he struggles to get significant minutes with the pro team. He’s usually plays with Benfica B team, a D2 team, where he averages 12 points and 6.5 rebounds. A quick power forward, with a great basketball IQ and a rebounding reputation, Castela uses his time with the Portuguese champions to improve his shooting, with a respectable midrange shot in his résumé.

League Stats 2012/13: 5.9 points, 5.9 rebounds with Benfica B (Proliga, Portuguese D2)

Andre Calabote – 1m78 – PG – 1993 – Sampaense

He might be one of the most improved players in the LPB, this season. Andre Calabote completed his basketball education in the Benfica youth teams, after starting his career at Barreirense, but left the Lisbon team last season to Sampaense, along with Jose Calabote, his father and former U18 National Champion. He spent one season with a very low usage behind two experimented guards, but was called to take charge of the team for the new season. Calabote had a great impact in the Sampaense’s run to the Antonio Pratas Trophy final, a pre-season tournament with all the LPB teams, highlighting 18 points and 3 assists while beating Benfica in the semi-finals. He’s facing a very though competition to keep his place in the Sampaense’s team, with Bellarmine graduate Chris Dowe on the roster, but averaging 25 minutes a game, he’s the young prospect with a bigger role in the league.

League Stats 2012/13: 1.3 points, 0.7 assists with Sampaense

Joao Fernandes – 1m77 – PG – 1992 – Galitos Barreiro

Being one of the prospects named in last season’s article, Joao Fernandes completed his second LPB season and entered the new one with a stronger role in the Galitos team. While seeing Miguel Minhava being signed to be the team star, Fernandes is getting major minutes from Head Coach Antonio Paulo Ferreira, who uses his quickness and aggressiveness to keep the team’s pace high. Joao Fernandes is another product of the Barreirense schools, and even lacking some physical presence, he can be a great contributor from the bench in any good team.

League stats 2012/13: 3.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists with Galitos Barreiro

Diogo Ventura – 1m89 – PG – 1994 – Alges

With Head Coach Andre Martins taking charge at Alges, new opportunities raised for younger players, as Martins is better known as the Portuguese Under 20 Head Coach for the last four seasons. Diogo Ventura was part of the Under 20 National Team this past summer, after a slow start with Alges pro team last season. But with new season and coach, a new role was given to Ventura, who also profited from Antonio Pires injury to gain minutes in the pre-season. Ventura is a very intense player, adding a good shooting efficiency to his characteristics. In a team who needs to keep a high pace during each game, his role will be very important during the season, even considering Pires is already back on track in the starting five.

League stats 2012/13: 3.6 points and 1 steal with Alges

Henrique Piedade – 1m90 – SF – 1994 – Alges

Piedade is an Andre Martins option for the Alges team, making his debut in the LPB. A product of the Estoril Basket youth ranks, Piedade spent his last season with the Under 20 team, while also playing with their senior team at the Portuguese D3. He’s also a regular in the Portuguese National Teams, with two presences in European Championships, U18 and U20. Piedade will be used as a defensive minded small forward, putting all his effort in stopping opponents from scoring, while trying to improve his shooting ability. Made to be a worker more than a star, Piedade’s size might make of him a defensive expert in the exterior game.

League Stats 2012/13 with Estoril Basket not available. Averaged 6.8 points and 2.9 rebounds with the Portuguese Under 20 team at the European Championship – Division B.

Prospect scouters might be interested in following Proliga action this season, with the FC Porto associated team, Dragon Force, taking the lead. Spanish Moncho Lopez is the Head Coach of a team who has the Portuguese Pedro Bastos (’94) and the Spanish Ferran Ventura (’95) as their best scorers.

Luís Cristóvão is a Portuguese Sports Writer. He has been working for PlanetaBasket.pt and WhoopsMagazine.com. Luís has also been published on Inside Women’s Magazine, Solobasket.com and BasketMe.com. In 2012, he was the FIBA Europe freelance writer at the U16 European Championship Women – Division A. Follow him on @luis_cristovao

Note: Special thanks to Ricardo Silva, a great friend and a fantastic coach, for his opinions and insights.

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