The Adidas Eurocamp 2012 has kicked off this Sunday morning in la Ghirada Treviso for the tenth time. All NBA teams and a multitude of coaches and agents from Europe traveled to Italy to see the best young European players compete in one small gym. Let’s check what happened during the first day.
The first thing to mention is of course the change in the direction of the tournament. After 9 events, Pete Philo stepped back as director of the camp and Arturas Karnishovas took over. With a European on the top of the main Draft event on the Old continent, you could expect some changes happening which was also the case. A major difference in my eyes was the presence of a Euroleague proven coach in Andrea Trincheri as responsible of one of the teams. Trincheri took this role extremely serious and practiced several set-plays that you have seen on Euroleague courts during the season with his team and even used the warm-up phase of the game for putting some last touches on the spacing. It ended up positively as his team won its game even if in the end, winning a game does not mean much in such an event. It was however quite a change to the often “everything is fine, everything is positive” American approach that some of the other coaches give to their players.
A second remark might be that there is no player so far that is really standing out or dominating the competition. With Evan Fournier in the gym but not participating to any drill or game so far, no participant played himself in the first NBA Draft round this Sunday. It was a good opportunity for some players to put their name on the table for the first time or to show their talent in front of people who did not know them but there was no “wow” effect on any player at least for me.
The first game in the morning was not really of good quality and no player could really excel. The 4 times 10 minutes running were over so fast and with 10-12 players per team, the minutes of every prospect were quite reduced. Boban Dubljevic showed that he can develop into an interesting player for the European market in the future but that the NBA is not an option for him as well. Despite only limited minutes, Dusan Cantekin showed some nice things in the paint and running the floor but overall nothing outstanding either. James Birsen was more aggressive in the few minutes here than during the whole games I saw of him at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. But in the end, nothing really spectacular happened.
The second game of the day was between a mix of youth players from Benetton Treviso and a selection of players of the Australian Institute of Sports. The Aussies dominated the game easily behind some good effort of Owen Odigie and Dane Pineau who dominated with their physique and athletic abilities against an Italian team where only the giant Samuel Deguara showed some interesting stuff.
The afternoon session was more interesting as not only the games were played with a regular clock but also the level was higher. The Polish Olek Czyz showed his good athletic abilities for some spectacular finishes while Oleksandr Lypovyy had an excellent game as Point Guard. The Georgian Tornike Shengelia played like he was on a mission as he looked very focused in what he was doing and showing a multitude of offensive options. One of the surprises to me was the Turkish big guy Izzet Turkyilmaz who showed tremendous effort on both sides of the court and great shot blocking presence. His team was lead by the scoring of Nihad Dedovic but the Bosnian looked a bit lost in the team concept and was doing a lot on his own.
The final game of the day was played between a first All-Star selection and the Russian U20 National Team. The Russian team, that is still early in their preparation struggled massively against the talent assembled on the opposite side. They were in the game in the first quarter but two three-pointers in a row of Maxi Kleber made a first break in favor of the All-Stars that could never be closed again. The German forward had an excellent game as he showed his shooting skills but also good defensive and rebounding presence. He got supported by Tomas Satoransky in the backcourt who looks to have really improved his jump shot and technique. After struggling in the first game, the German big Maik Zirbes could do some damage in the paint against the shorter Russian inside players while the Danish Jonas Bergstedt is one of the positive surprises with his hustle play. Louis Labeyrie was very present as a shot blocked and closed the paint together with the big Bogdan Radosavljevic. On the Russian side, Dmitry Kulagin was nowhere to be seen except for some bad shots while Vladislav Trushkin could not really develop his game.
With the second day coming, we will see if there will be players really standing out. The presence of Fournier on the court will of course give the whole camp a little more excitement as for right now, the 1st level talent remains limited.