In the last part of our analysis on the Albert Schweitzer Tournament 2012, we will talk about the big guys. Quite a lot of talent was present among the Top 8 teams on these positions so let’s got to the details.
Mam Jaiteh – 2m06 – C – France – 1994
Despite good numbers in the tournament and similar to his games during the NIJT in Belgrade, Mam Jaiteh did not show much progress compared to a year ago. He is probably still getting used to his body and physique as his moves remain quite slow and sometimes look a bit out of control. Nevertheless, there are not many prospects in Europe that have a body like him to work with . It looks like his growing phase has stopped which makes him a bit undersized to play Center on the highest level and so far, he does not really have a PF game even if he tried a three-point shot here and there.
Close to the basket, he remains a force though. He is not particularly explosive and rarely finishes with a dunk but more with technique. Jaiteh has some legit post moves that he can use against the defender and where he is able to impose his force. However, he does not dominate in the low post like you could imagine him doing when you see his body. He mainly goes for the jump hook avoiding too much contact but he makes these with good accuracy.
You can clearly see that Jaiteh is still in a learning phase of the game and that he tries to use what his coaches are telling him. But he still does not know exactly when to use what. Sometimes, Jaiteh was passing the ball strangely in situations when it did not make much sense while on the next attack he forced the double-team. Defensively, Jaiteh remains a strong rebounder but not a great shot blocker for a player of his size. But here again, his lack of verticality is a major factor which hinders him from being a real threat. In the end, we can not be too harsh with Jaiteh who remains one of the main players to follow of this generation, but the expectations may have gone too high after the tremendous progress he made one year ago.
Stats: 13.7ppg (63.8% FGs), 9.7rpg, 1.8apg, 1.0bpg, 2.3topg
Ilimane Diop – 2m08 – C – Spain – 1995
Ilimane Diop is one of the most impressive physical specimens in Europe right now. 2m08 tall with a 2m30 wingspan, quite mobile and understanding the game make him a top level prospect that the Spanish Basketball federation was intelligent enough to give a passport. Right now, Diop is not a major factor on offense yet but he has only arrived in structured basketball for a short time. But he showed already interesting aspects of a future offensive game next to his tremendous presence on the defensive end.
On the offensive end, Diop mainly scores from close to the basket. But this is not only the case when openings have been created by his guards or on offensive stick backs. These kind of plays and positioning, he has learned already and when he gets the ball in the paint, he scores with the two handed dunk, even over the defense. The more surprising is his ability to put the ball on the floor from the high post. Multiple times, he attacked his defender on the dribble with either hand and tried to finish close to the rim with the layup. He was not always successful in these situations but you could clearly see that this is a work in progress and going into the right direction. His drive and ball handling do not look very fluid yet but with his wingspan, this is not a major surprise to get this under control.
Next to this, Diop seems on the way to get a serious shot around the key. Even if he barely tried a similar attempt, you could see when he was shooting free-throws that it can only be a question of time before he will knock down jumpers around the key. In fact, his shooting mechanics are fluid and he nets FTs with more than 75%. This is all very encouraging especially if you consider his already very strong impact on the defensive end. With his tentacle arms, he rejects multiple shots and changes trajectories easily. Out of these situations, he runs the floor extremely well and is a good target as trailer on the fast break or as a secondary option.
Diop needs though to work on his defensive rebounding where he is sometimes put out of position by physically stronger opponents. He remains very thin and mostly vertical in his game. He lacks the strong physical built so far but he is a year younger than the competition which gives him a lot of room to improve. With his understanding of the game and improvements he showed in one year, Diop is certainly one of the main prospects in the 1995 generation in Europe. If he continues to work and progress this way, he might become a very interesting player down the road with the potential to play on the highest level.
Stats: 8.7ppg (62.8% FGs), 5.9rpg, 1.7bpg
Guillermo Hernangomez – 2m06 – PF/C – Spain – 1994
The second Spanish inside force next to Diop was Guillermo “Willy” Hernangomez. A lot more technical and physical than Diop, Hernangomez played an excellent tournament and underlined his great progress over the last two seasons. Mainly playing with his back to the basket, Hernangomez has a wide arsenal of moves and fakes that allow him to get open shots or easy baskets close to the rim.
First of all, he looks a lot stronger than we remembered him from last year. He has not lost though his mobility and because of his great footwork, he is able to use multiple spins or put the ball on the floor to beat his defender on the drive. His repertoire is very large, often starting with a good head or shot fake to see the defender’s reaction. Close to the basket, he can finish with either hand and he adapts to what the defense gives him in order to chose from which one he wants to finish. We remember a play where he grabbed the offensive rebound with the right hand, made a head fake to get the defender out of stance and change hand to the left and finish on the layup.
When putting the ball on the floor, he is not afraid to dunk the ball even over taller players. His is not superbly athletic but his leaping abilities allow him to finish regularly above the rim. He can come up for example with the two handed dunk out of a spin move executed from the low block which underlines his good explosiveness by the way. His spin move is one of his favorites actions on the offensive end as he can execute it really well and with excellent speed to get around his defender and stay under control for the tough finish.
When facing the basket, he can also start his drive in cross over fashion and beating his man with either hand. With his growing physique, he can score against the bigger guys with the foul as well. We would have liked to see him also do some jump shots around the key or even the three-pointer but this does not seem to be in his repertoire for now. With his size, he is targeted to become a PF in the future, but it would be good if he could add a scoring potential from around the key to complete his game. But even without that, he will certainly develop into a top level European player in a Felipe Reyes style when all is said and done.
Stats: 13.6ppg (50.0% FGs), 8.7rpg, 1.0bpg
Dusan Ristic – 2m06 – C – Serbia – 1995
The young Serbian Center continued his way after the great NIJT in February by imposing his talent in Mannheim as well. After a slower start into the tournament, Ristic took over in the decisive phase with his polished inside game that we appreciated already before. His hands seem to improve on every occasion we see him and he has a really nice outside touch now on his jump shot around the key. With his long arms, he scored several times over the wingspan of Diop, either on the layup or on the jump hook. From within 2-3 meters, Ristic can score the jump hook with either hand and good accuracy. His shooting percentage is really good as he rarely forces difficult stuff and concentrates on what the defense gives him as the most easiest option.
Stats: 9.9ppg (65.2% FGs), 5.7rpg, 1.4bpg
Nikola Milutinov – 2m06 – C – Serbia – 1994
The development of Milutinov during the days in Mannheim was the opposite of Ristic as the 1994 born inside player saw less and less minutes throughout the tournament. He started well though showing his great length and verticality on both sides of the court. Mainly scoring on the hook shot or the jump shot, Milutinov has no specific go-to-move in the low block and looks like he prefers to play facing the basket. We scouted him in more detail already during the NIJT in Belgrade in February and there is not too much to add right now on his progress.
Stats: 9.4ppg (64.1% FGs), 7.9rpg, 0.6bpg
Stanislav Ilnitskiy – 2m01 – PF – Russia – 1994
The Russian forward could play more from outside with the national team than what we saw him doing with Khimki Moscow during the NIJT in Kaunas. Freed of the rebounding duties more or less, Ilnitskiy was the main scoring option in the paint for his team but forcing a bit too much which has been underlined by his poor shooting percentages. The Russian forward was playing a lot around the key as he could not get close to the rim against the tough competition and therefore preferred the mid-range jump shot game. He also stepped out to the three-point line from where he took more than 4 shots per game with mediocre results.
Additionally, Ilnitskiy put the ball on the floor as well with mixed results. With his lack of speed and ball handling, he struggled to pass by his defenders often. He mainly went for his left hand drive but showed some good finishes when he managed to beat the defense as he can score against the bigger players with the foul as well. Ilnitskiy was often used in Pick and Pop situations in order to free up some space in the paint and use his versatility against slower power forwards. If he manages to improve his handle and become more regular from outside, he can develop into an interesting stretch-four or even small forward in the future. But right now, he remains a bit in between both positions and lacks the necessary physical or basketball skills for the respective specializations.
Stats: 17.2ppg (37.6% FGs – 23.1% 3FGs), 5.8rpg, 3.2apg
Igor Kanygin – 2m07 – PF/C – Russia – 1994
Not a major factor when he played for the Russian U16 National Team 2010 in Bar, Igor Kanygin played an impressive tournament in Mannheim where he showcased excellent athletic abilities and a great motor to run the court for long minutes. Kanygin is a pure inside player who does not step out but plays mainly in the paint. Gifted with great athletic abilities, he tried to finish nearly everything with thunderous slams when there was the smallest opening. The left-handed Center also came up with several hook shots in the paint but this was more or less his only alternative move to the dunk or layup.
Kanygin was the perfect target for the Russian guards for the backdoor plays that he finished often high above the rim. His overall decision making was though questionable as he tried too many difficult dunks or layups as he probably lacks the necessary touch around the basket for the short jump shot. He can finish from close with the hook with either hand but he has nearly no game outside the paint. If he specializes into a pure Center-Screen setting role, Kanygin can have an interesting future as he looks to have good running skills and also nice timing to reject shots. However, he needs to become a better defensive rebounder (only 4.3 defensive rebounds in nearly 30 minutes per game) and be more careful with his passing and ball handling against the defense.
Stats: 14.0ppg (57.9% FGs), 6.0rpg, 1.7bpg
Austin Nichols – 2m06 – PF – USA – 1994
The most interesting inside option of the American team was the 2m06 tall and athletic Power Forward Austin Nichols. Mainly active in the paint, the few options that Nichols took from around the key did not look very well. He airballed a jump shot from the baseline and preferred to put the ball on the floor once he got it outside the key. In the paint, he scores either on the dunk, layup or the right handed jump hook. Nichols does not create much by himself but was more an executer from the passes he got from his team mates. Nevertheless, he was quite effective in what he did, especially on the fast break. More surprisingly, he was a very poor rebounder despite his good size and athletic skills. He does not box out well and misses the timing to grab the ball once it missed.
Stats: 11.2ppg (50.0% FGs), 3.0rpg, 1.2bpg
Amedeo Tessitori – 2m05 – PF/C – Italy – 1994
The Italian big guy only played the group phase of the tournament because he had to leave to participate in a league game with his club. So we could only follow him in one game but he showed there that he is on the right track. The first thing that struck my eye was that he is not wearing anymore the large knee brace he had during the U18 European Championship last summer. Physically, he has not changed much even if he might have added 2-3 centimeters but his overall body structure looks pretty mature right now. In terms of basketball, he has added a quite regular three-point shot which makes him dangerous from outside as well and changed him more into a PF.
Additionally, with him being a threat from outside, he tries to put the ball on the floor as well to beat the defender on the dribble. He remains very slow in this kind of setting but manages somehow to pass the defender occasionally because of his physical presence. Tessitori remains a really surprising leaper who can finish strong with two hands out of the post. With an improving shot and gaining a bit of speed in the next years, he has definitely the potential to become a high level PF on the professional level. He seems to be in the right track now and it will be interesting to follow his development in the next years.
Stats: 15.3ppg (60.7% FGs – 33.3% 3FGs), 6.7rpg, 1.3bpg, 18.0effpg
Francesco Candussi – 2m11 – C – Italy – 1994
The long Italian Center had a so-so tournament and was in the shade of Tessitori in the beginning. He got more minutes later on but his overall performance was correct. Not really a banger down low, Candussi likes to play facing the basket and play more with finesse. He can score around the key with the jump shot but also with the jump hook when he is in the low post. He puts the ball on the floor occasionally but his ball handling is still in the making which resulted in several turnovers. Candussi is certainly a potential to watch because of his size and mobility, but right now, he does not really fit into any specific position which is not a problem yet. He remains young and has a lot of room to improve.
Stats: 7.2ppg (42.9% FGs), 5.3rpg, 0.8bpg
Gavin Schilling – 2m05 – PF/C – Germany – 1995
Schilling dominated heavily the German JBBL Top 4 last summer where his athleticism and physical strength were unmatched. After a year in the United States, we could not really see any development in his game since last May. His above average leaping abilities did not help him against similar athletes on this level and he has not really progressed in his game with the back to the basket. Schilling progressed in his footwork though as we saw him finish for example after a quick spin move executed in a Pick and Roll situation. He looks to become a pure Center in his development as he did not score once from outside or even trying jump shots around the key. Additionally, we had the impression that he lacks a bit of concentration during moments as he turned the ball over quite easily. Schiling has another year of high school basketball in front of him before moving to College. The question is how he can develop in that kind of environment where he physically dominates everybody easily and rarely has any competition.
Stats: 10.7ppg (46.6% FGs), 5.4rpg, 1.1bpg
Burak Yildizli – 2m02 – PF – Turkey – 1994
After his ban with the national team, Burak Yildizli was back and he had an immediate impact on the Turkish team. Physically already very mature without much room to develop, Yildizli used his power to push the ball and score from inside. He likes to put the ball on the floor and he has a good first step especially when going left. He does not lose a lot of time posting up, once he has the ball, he attacks immediately preferring to face his defender. He was a constant match-up problem as he was stronger than most of the power forwards but faster than Centers that tried to defend him.
Out of his drives, he also showed some nice pull-up jumper or even step back shots in order to avoid taller opponents. He is also able to step out to the three-point line from where he was quite regular in catch-and-shoot situations but not really great either. With his force, his game is more inside oriented and most of the time in the paint. He has good positioning and a nice arsenal of fakes that give him several extra options down the road. The question mark on Yildizli is his shot selection which is quite a bit too forced into his own direction not seeing what the defense gives him. Additionally, as there is not much room for physical improvement, the question of his future position remains as he will most likely struggle on the defensive end to play against athletic wing players.
Stats: 13.7ppg (50.7% FGs – 33.3% 3FGs), 5.9rpg, 1.9apg