European Prospects

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Albert Schweitzer Tournament 2010: Croatia

April 14th, 2010 · No Comments

We start our review on the Albert Schweitzer Tournament with the 7th placed Croatian team. As Croatia had to play without PG Toni Katic and forward Filip Najev and herefore had a very limited and young rotation, the result in Mannheim gives no reason to be annoyed according to

Marko Ramljak – 1m98 – Forward – 1993

The multi-use Croatian forward played a major role in short-rotating team in Mannheim. Ramljak impressed during the U16 European Championship with constant effort and a big motor while being present anywhere on the court. He continued in this way during the days in Mannheim where, however, he still lacked a real position playing a role as full-effort combo forward being more present at PF than SF though. With being only 1m98 tall, Ramljak’s future is of course on the SF, but right now, his long distance shot is not accurate enough, despite looking very well in terms of mechanics.

The forward, who currently plays for the Bosnian team of Posusje, is however an important factor in defense where his wingspan helps a lot in deflecting passes or stealing the ball when guarding wing players. Offensively, Ramljak mainly scores on fast breaks where he is doing a great job but also on penetrations where he can finish of difficult runners of the glass. He needs to develop his shot, especially out of the dribble in the next years in order to gain minutes at the Small Forward position if he does not want to remain stacked at his current level.

Stats: 8.3ppg (35.7% FG – 5/22 3FG) 4.5rpg 1.8apg 1.0spg

Dario Saric – 2m03 – Forward – 1994

The youngest player of the Croatian team but the clear-cut leader too was Dario Saric. Still looking like a too fast grown kid, Saric is wearing a baby-moustache, he talks to his team mates already like he’s already a grown leader. Nearly all the balls on offense go through his hands as every time he gets the ball, you have the feeling that he can create something for himself or his team mates. Being 2m03 tall and probably still growing, Saric has excellent size for playing the SF position in the future.

His offensive arsenal seems excellent already now, a good looking jump shot which he connects with good percentages, excellent ball handling which gives him great possibilities on the drive, great court-vision and capacity to pass the ball and a typical veteran like European game of a player that knows how to get the calls from the referees on offense. His body control is great for a player so young and so tall, he can stop out of a full speed drive to go for perfect triple-threat positions without losing his balance at all. Additionally, his fakes are highly effective so that he goes a lot to the free-throw line (9th in the tournament).

Out of his drives which he can conclude with a jump shot, layups or floaters, he can also dish the perfect pass for either the roller in Pick and Roll situations or for the inside guy that gets open through help defense. However, Saric is currently still really thin and has not gained a lot of muscle since we have seen him last summer in Lithuania. But being born in 1994, he has still a lot of time to add the necessary weight. Before that, the winner of the Burkhard Wildermuth Award of the most talented player at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament (being the successor of Alexis Ajinca and Enes Kanter) will play the U16 European Championship this summer with Croatia and can come back to Mannheim in two years once again.

Stats: 14.8ppg (48.5% FG – 6/17 3FG) 6.5rpg 2.8apg 1.0spg

Boris Barac – 2m03 – Forward – 1992

The younger brother of Stanko Barac had a correct tournament in Mannheim where the 2m03 tall forward had to play lots of minutes on the Center position. Barac showed some back to the basket game using his physical presence to create open opportunities for himself that were however more the result from pure power than from good footwork or finesse. Barac does not have the best hands either as you could see him miss some catches but also miss some attempts from close to the basket. His terrible free-throw shooting is just another sign of this.

However, Barac takes his chance also from outside up until the three point shot where his release does not look very secure or particularly stable. He took also some jump shots out of the drive but his offensive game was mainly limited to the paint. He looks right now like the typical player that can do some damage on this level in youth categories but will probably struggle on the professional level due to limited size and technical skills, unless he will see a late growth to reach the height of his brother Stanko (2m17).

Stats: 13.0ppg (46.3 FG – 5/22 3FG – 29.6% FT) 6.8rpg

Roko Rogic – 1m85 – Point Guard – 1992

In the absence of Toni Katic, it was Roko Rogic who took over the starting PG job and the player originally from Cedevita Zagreb played a correct tournament. Rogic, who is mainly a scoring guard, can finish around the basket after strong drives where he is also not afraid to go for the offensive rebound, especially on his own misses. He recognizes game situations pretty well but is not a major creator for his team mates.

He can finish his drives with both hands, but seems to have a preference for going left. Rogic can hit the three point shot in catch-and-shoot situations but he is not a regular threat from outside the 6m25 line. With Toni Katic in the roster, Rogic will be a nice backup at least this summer with U18 Croatian National team in Vilnius.

Stats: 9.8ppg (39.7% FG – 5/22 3FG) 2.5rpg 2.5apg 1.7spg

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