The biggest surprise of the tournament was of course the third place of the German U17 team. Coming to Mannheim in order to prepare the U17 World Championships, the team of coach Frank Menz wanted to gain experience and eventually win a game or two. Even if they had probably the easiest group stage, the wins over Turkey, Italy and especially the USA showed that there is some interesting potential in this group despite having no individual super prospects.
Besnik Bekteshi – 1m87 – Guard – 1993
The German guard of Albanian origin played an excellent tournament coming of the bench mostly as offensive energizer. In a team that plays a very controlled basketball, Bekteshi is the player that breaks out of the system sometimes and showed some sparks of great talent. He can create his own shot out of the dribble easily and he is being used to play a scoring role. Being a bit undersized to play the SG, Bekteshi holds his own however on this position and is not afraid to drive to the hole against the biggest players.
His main offensive force is his three point shot that looks picture perfect in catch and shoot situations. He has a nice high release point but he could not connect his attempts with great percentages throughout the tournament. He turns though at 47.2% (25/53 in 11 games) in the German U19 League (being two years younger than the other players) which shows that he is pretty accurate in this exercise. Out of his drives, he mainly creates for himself going for tough shots or floaters of the glass. Defensively, he shows nice lateral speed and has the potential to become a nice ball thief against the man, his long arms being of major help in this area.
Stats: 11.3ppg (47.3% FG – 8/28 3FG) 3.6rpg 2.0spg
Jakob Krumbeck – 1m87 – Guard – 1993
The aggressive SG from Jena played an interesting tournament in Mannheim as he was one of the few players in the team that really attacked the basket with power. His drives were very hard and Krumbeck could finish them of both hands. He has a preference though for starting his penetrations with his strong right hand. Out of these plays, he can also go for for the mid-range jump shot if he does not see an opening to continue until the rim.
Krumbeck has also good range on his jump shot, he was an important factor for the German team from behind the arc with the most hits for his team in the tournament. On kick outs, he looks particularly comfortable but he can also hit the shot when being out of balance. But at the moment, his game is more based on the drive but he may develop into a very interesting SG down the road if he continues to develop. However, being only 1m87 tall but playing a bit higher will probably not help him to gain minutes at the professional level. But as the whole team, he is only born in 1993 and has still a lot of room to progress.
Stats: 10.9ppg (48.2% FG – 8/16 3FG) 1.9rpg
Paul Albrecht – 2m04 – Forward – 1993
Paul Albrecht was the major inside force for the German team. The 2m04 tall PF played a lot with his back to the basket where he displayed a variety of what today looks like “old-school” moves. He could create good opportunities to score with a multitude of fakes and spins and finished most of them with a very soft-looking jump hook. Additionally, he has an excellent sense for being at the right spot at the right moment. He is the perfect no-nonsense player as everything he does looks very well thought of.
On the other hand, Albrecht does not look particularly athletic and does not have a very large body to build on. However, he plays rather physical though without being the strongest guy to be seen. His fundamentals and basketball understanding look interesting. Right now, he is rarely seen outside the paint and he may hit the occasional three point shot which is not a regular option in his game at the moment.
Stats: 9.7ppg (54.4% FG) 5.6rpg
Julius Wolf – 2m00 – Forward – 1993
Julius Wolf was another key player for the German team coming of the bench in Mannheim. The physical but rather un-athletic wing player from Urspring Academy displayed his versatility throughout the tournament. Wolf played a role as “point-forward” during stretches as he often run the fast break himself and dished out the nice passes. Despite looking rather slow in general, Wolf can beat his opponent of the dribble with nice fundamentally sound moves. He had one particularly beautiful basket against the United States where he made some kind of stutter step when driving with his left hand that totally opened him the road to the basket.
Defensively, Wolf was present on rebounding where his large body was a major help to box out more athletic opponents. The German U17 team lacked a major rebounder so he had to work hard in this area. Additionally, he came up with the occasional block shot as he seems to have a nice timing for rejections and good feel for the game in general. His three point shot was not really falling in Mannheim, even on really open looks. His shot is more of a set shot that he takes in catch and shoot fashion and he does not go for the jump shot out of the drive so often preferring to fight through the paint to the basket.
Stats: 8.1ppg (36.8% FG – 7/24 3FG) 5.0rpg 1.6apg
Bogdan Radosavljevic – 2m10 – Center – 1993
The German-Serbian Center played a more calm tournament considering the high expectations that lots of people have on him. Being now without any serious regular minutes for a long time, it looks like the 2m10 tall former Urspring player will miss also the U17 World Championship as he broke his wrist during the semi-finals against Australia. So the time for me to scout him was pretty reduced and the report on him is pretty limited.
Radosavljevic had some impact on the defensive end where his size helped the German team a lot in the paint. His lack of game experience due to his multiple injuries and club transfers could be seen as he went for some stupid fouls on Hedge and Recover situations or tried to block too many shots which brought him into foul trouble. Offensively, his talent could not be really seen in the only game that I attended where he played major minutes as he missed a couple of close baskets losing his balance when being pushed a bit. The most important for Radosavljevic is now to find a stable environment where the 16 year old can develop.
Stats: 6.5ppg (58.6% FG) 5.3rpg 0.8bpg