After the review of the main prospects of the first NIJT Qualification tournament, I decided to put online also a report on the next generation players. I took into account prospects born in 1994 which means players eligible for the U16 European Championships this summer. Most of these players have not seen major minutes, so the scoutings are not too extended.
Kevin Madiamba (1m97 – Forward – Benetton Fribourg – 1994)
The Congolese born forward plays already for several seasons in Switzerland and he had the Starting SF job with Benetton Fribourg in Rome. He features a nice basketball body, especially for a country like Switzerland that generally lacks players of good size. Madiamba is still a very raw player at the moment, he did not show that many offensive plays except the occasional three point shot on the dish out. His shooting mechanics are not very stable yet which explains his mediocre results from long distance (3/8 in Rome but 2/24 so far in the Swiss 2nd division).
However, he has excellent athletic abilities and shows a good learning curve which makes him a very interesting prospect down the road. Madiamba needs to understand what he is able to do and gain confidence in his basketball. He shies away from the offensive responsibilities at the moment, however he will turn only 16 in February, so this is a normal thing with having stronger and older guards around him. He helped his team already a lot with the little things and the defense and was the best rebounder of Benetton Fribourg for the full tournament.
Stats: 30.47mpg 3.3ppg 7.0rpg
Watch some highlights of Kevin Madiamba in the Swiss Youth Championships
Augustinas Jankaitis (2m00 – Power Forward – Zalgiris Kaunas – 1994)
Augustinas Jankaitis had a major role for the Lithuanian team as the 1994 born Power Forward played major back-up minutes in the highly athletic Lithuanian inside rotation. Jankaitis has already a massive body for a player of his age, you did not see that he was two years younger than the rest of the team. Offensively, he did not show a lot of back to the basket action but a very nice job in positioning in the Zalgiris offense getting a lot of open looks close to the basket where he finished strong, even with the foul.
Jankaitis seems to have excellent hands too as he catches difficult passes. He also hit one three pointer in the tournament and his free-throw percentages are correct. He has excellent court-vision and can play very effectively the high-low passes as a passer from the top. Being listed at 2m00, Jankaitis may gain some additional centimeters in the future as right now, he is pure inside player. With the development of his ball handling, he may qualify for the SF position, but this is still to be seen. Right now, he should be an important inside force at the 2010 U16 European Championships.
Stats: 18.06mpg 11.5ppg (65.3% 2FG, 64.2% FT), 7.3rpg
Mikhail Kulagin (1m84 – Point Guard – CSKA Moscow – 1994)
One of the most impressive players in my eyes of the 1994 born prospects in Rome was the Russian PG Mikhail Kulagin. He played major minutes in this tournament and showed very interesting skills in my eyes. He has a very good feel for the game speed and recognizes the situations very well. He has the feel to find the right guy at the right spot and drives strong to the rim to create for himself or his team mates.
He excels in Pick-and-Roll situations and did a very nice job when his team was running Horns offenses. He sees the hedging defender coming and reacts in the right way in these situations. Defensively, he is of course not ready to stop physically stronger guards, but he showed some interesting gambles on steals in the passing lanes for example. He also was present in the clutch moments of the games where the coaching staff preferred having him on the court and he was not afraid to go for some tough shots and make them in important moments.
Stats: 20.57mpg, 4.8ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.3apg, 2.8topg
Marius Grigonis showed some nice moments for Zalgiris Kaunas in the blow out win over Stella Azzurra. The 1994 born and 1m95 tall player will probably be one of the leaders of the Lithuanian U16 team this summer as he showed a good feeling for scoring the basketball.
Arnaud Cotture maybe played only a few moments during the tournament, but the 1995 born player showed some promising skills and a size to build upon for a 14 year old.