Spain came to Mannheim without three major players that were all in activity with their respective professional teams: Miki Servera, Malick Fall and Joan Tomas. Without these three, Spain finished however at the 5th place and were the only team capable of beating Australia in the tournament. But the loss against the USA in the 2nd round prevented them from qualifying for the semi-finals.
Albert Ventura – 1m96 – Forward – 1992
The Spanish top scorer excelled in Mannheim with an overall game and good shooting. The Joventut Badalona player, who recently moved to the farm team of Prat, displayed a good feel for the game and nice basketball IQ in a Spanish team that could have reached more in the tournament. Ventura scored mostly on catch-and-shoot three point shots but his drives helped him to go to the free-throw line very often (6th best in the tournament).
Additionally, Ventura showed a nice feeling for the rebound, especially on the offensive glass. He recognizes game situations very well, reads backdoor situations and has a good positioning. Ventura is not particularly fast or athletic, but his nice fundamentals helped him to be very effective on this level. How this will translate to the professional game has yet to be seen.
Stats: 13.2ppg (45.8% FG – 9/24 3FG) 5.0rpg 2.2apg 1.3spg
Joan Creus – 1m85 – Point Guard – 1992
Joan Creus did a nice job as Starting Point Guard for the Spanish team. The son of the former Spanish great Chichi Creus impressed with excellent passing skills and a real playmaker character. Creus controls the game speed very well and is good at running the fast break. His passing timing is excellent but sometimes he needs to stop himself in order to improve his decision making as he can come up with 2 or three bad choices in a row.
During the tournament, Creus showed an excellent touch from downtown as he netted 56.7% of all his three point attempts. His release is not the fastest and he would have trouble to let the shot fly when being guarded hard. He is not the player who creates his own shot but more of a catch-and-shoot player, especially on kick outs from inside. On the defensive end, Creus plays rather controlled, the occasional passing lane steal can be played but he is mainly a correct on-ball defender.
Stats: 12.0ppg (47.8% FG – 17/30 3FG) 3.5rpg 3.8apg
Jaime Fernandez – 1m88 – Guard – 1993
One of the golden boys from last summer, Jaime Fernandez had some problems on this level as his sometimes risky shot selection was not always crowned with success. However, you could see his amazing scoring talent as slasher on the SG spot where he nearly could create opportunities for himself at will. Fernandez attacks the rim at all time and out of every position. He tries to finish his drives with tough floaters that explain his somehow low field goal percentage (39.5% 2FG) compared to his correct numbers from beyond the arc (10/23 over 6 games).
His three point shot looks particularly nice as he has a quick release and can fire it up even with defenders on him. Fernandez can also be an interesting passer but right now, he is more focused on scoring than on creating for his team mates. He needs however to develop Point Guard skills as his size may limit him on the professional level for playing the SG even if he draws some comparisons to Juan Carlos Navarro in terms of physical built.
Stats: 11.8ppg (41.0% FG – 10/23 3FG) 1.8rpg 1.5apg
Angel Aparicio – 1m98 – Forward – 1992
Aparicio appeared to be one of those players that I really liked in their playing style. The 1m98 tall forward showed nice passing skills in high-low situations which helped the Spanish team a lot. The fact that Aparicio played minutes on the PF position did not bother him as he showed correct rebounding. The player from FC Barcelona could be seen a lot flashing to the high post and create from there, either for himself or for his team mates. He can knock down the shot from there easily but also attack the rim with either hand.
His cuts to the ball are nicely executed and he attacked the rim out of these situations. On those drives, he could go for a direction or hand change, but he also showed some nice spin moves or cross-over dribbling on the drive. Aparicio will certainly move to the SF spot in the next years as he is not an inside player at all. He needs to develop his three-point shot though as he did not show great percentages from behind the line in Mannheim.
Stats: 10.2ppg (42.9% FG) 5.2rpg 1.3agp
Pierre Oriola – 2m06 – Center – 1992
Spain tested several inside options and Pierre Oriola was probably the most consistent and most dangerous one. The 2m06 tall Power Forward/Center from Manresa showed a jump shot with adjustable mechanics but he connected his attempts pretty well though. He has a lot of confidence in what he does as he is not afraid to take the 3-4m jump shot in the fast break when he is open. Oriola looks very long and still skinny, he reminded me a bit of a young Fran Vazquez in terms of physical built.
Oriola has some moves with his back to the basket like a turnaround baseline drive but he mostly scores on jump shots or offensive rebounds (team best). On the defensive end, he is not a very explosive guy to block shots as all his movements look a bit more mechanic than athletic. The player born in Lleida has a shooting range up to the three point line, even if he did not go for a long distance try in Mannheim.
Stats: 9.5ppg (60.5% FG – 11/23 FT) 6.2rpg 0.7bpg