With the March Madness approaching and the Conference games in full effect, it is time to make an update on the Europeans playing currently in the NCAA. Additionally, we give a little update on some of the most interesting news in terms of European Recruiting.
In his third season in the NCAA, the Swedish Jeffery Taylor has once again increased his numbers and is currently looked at like a serious NBA first round draft prospect if he enters this year. After being known for his excellent athletic abilities, Taylor has added a correct three point shot this season as he comes up with 25/73 shots from behind the arc so far. Compared to his 9/41 and 1/11 over the last two seasons, this can be seen as a major progress especially if you foresee him as a future SF on NBA level. The Commodores are currently ranked as a Top25 team and they have some big games coming up this week with Alabama (and fellow Swede Carl Engström) and Kentucky next weekend. After a shooting slump in the loss versus Florida, Taylor was very regular and in double figures over the last 15 games. Additionally to his improved three-point shooting, the Junior has also increased his assist ratio coming up with 2.5 dimes per game. Everything looks set that Taylor will join Jonas Jerebko as second Swede in the NBA, the Pistons player is already looking forward to play with him in the next years.
Another European who is leading his team this season is the Montenegrin Nikola Vucevic at USC. The 2m08 tall Power Forward from Bar is averaging 16.7ppg and 9.8rpg this season and has yet made another step forward in his progression so that he is now regularly put on the different NBA Mock Drafts. The most impressive part of his improvement is his scoring where Vucevic came from a 2.6ppg season two years ago and is now showing great versatility on the offensive end where he has become a serious threat from behind the three-point arc as well. Draftexpress had a long update on his development recently that I can only recommend to get a better idea on his current skill-set. The 1990 born player is the son of Boris Vucevic who played professionally in Europe and the nephew of the current head coach of Antibes (France) Savo Vucevic. The genes are there to become a high-level player, the question is will he head to the NBA or become a Euroleague star in the future.
It is not so usual to see a European player among the top scorers of Division 1 Basketball but the Romanian Vlad Moldoveanu is currently averaging 20.0ppg for the small American University. The 22 year old Senior has transferred to American in 2009 after he started his College career with George Mason but never really had a large impact there. The 2m10 tall wing had already some spectacular games last season but he has even improved his scoring this year. However, the poor level of his Conference and his limited upside potential are the main reasons why he does not get a lot of looks in terms of a NBA future. Back in 2008, he told us that he wants to win the Euroleague 5-6 times, so we think as well that he will most likely play in Europe next season. Check out the nice portrait of the AU Eagle below to get a better feeling for the potential Patriot League Player of the year.
News on Recruiting
As we announced already on our Twitter Account during the weekend, the University of Maryland has offered a scholarship to the German Martin Breunig who is currently playing at SJNMA in Wisconsin. Breunig came to St. Johns Northwestern during the last summer in order to prepare physically and educationally to play Division 1 College Basketball. When talking about Germans and the NCAA, another name that we hear quite often is Patrick Heckmann. The 1992 born guard/forward is still undecided about his future and has to chose if he will come to the United States through the Class of 2011 or 2012. Heckmann currently averages 12.3ppg, 3.4rpg and 3.1apg in the third German league for TV Langen and he is getting some interest from schools like Michigan, San Diego or Maryland again.
The Polish 1993 generation features some highly interesting players and some of them seem to go the College Basketball path next season. While we heard a few weeks ago already that Tomasz Gielo has decided to play for the small school of Liberty, this information did not get confirmed yet though. On the other hand, we got the confirmation that Przemyslaw Karnowski has on offer from the University of Cincinnati on the table. However, the Polish big guy is far from having made his final choice about what he will do next season.
Other Europeans from the Class of 2011 that draw some interest from Division 1 Colleges at the moment are the two Brits Simeon Esprit and Keelan Cairns from the Barking Abbey Academy. Cairns is a 2m10 tall forward who has Chattanooga, Illinois State and since recently Pennsylvania who are chasing him while the tall guard Esprit sees Maine, Valparaiso and Davidson College following him.
To follow the recruiting of European players, you can find updated information and Video Highlights on our different Recruiting pages.