European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

Copa del Rey quarter-final impressions

February 20th, 2010 · No Comments

This weekend is played the highly regarded Spanish Copa del Rey regrouping the top teams of the ACB League in a direct elimination setting in order to win the Cup of the King of Spain. This event is seen as one of the most important events in Spanish basketball and winning a Copa is a highlight in a Basketball career. The number of immediate NBA prospects was limited though this year but there were several players on the line that can be considered as potential future top stars in European Basketball.

The first day saw the opposition between Power Elec Valencia and Asefa Estudiantes. For the team from the capital of Spain, the Uruguay born and Italian passport-holder Jayson Granger (1m85 – PG – 1989) showed a nice game in his typical athletic and powerful style. He finished with 7pts and 4asts but he could not help his team advance to the next round.

The second game of the day was not very interesting when it comes to pure NBA Draft 2010 coverage. Ricky Rubio has been drafted last year and the top prospect from Cajasol Sevilla is the 1991 born Czech PG Tomas Satoransky. The 1m99 tall player did a nice job defensively on Rubio and managed to go to the line once in the game where he netted one free-throw. But his impact on the game was (still) rather limited.

The first game of Friday action was not interesting for me, so I can not tell you anything about as I did not follow it at all.

However, the last game of the quarter-final round was a real nice one as DKV Joventut Badalona is not afraid to give big time minutes to even their youngest players. They could not overcome the talent loaded Real Madrid squad but it was very interesting to see young prospects like David Jelinek or Pere Tomas in action. The 1989 born Tomas started the game very well with a nice offensive rebound that he finished immediately by going upwards to take the short jump shot despite strong defense on him. He had another nice offensive play in the first minutes as he used his good first step to attack the basket over the baseline with his left hand and finish the play with a powerful two handed dunk. He had 2 fouls early so that he had to go back to the bench afterwards. When he came back in the game, he continued to attack the basket consistently with going either on his left or right hand. He finished it twice on finger rolls, once with his right and once with his left hand. Both moves looked really well as the finishes were quite tough especially the left handed one. Tomas finished the game with 8pts and 2rebs.

David Jelinek had probably his best game so far for this season as the Czech 1990 born guard had 8pts 2rebs in just 13 minutes of action. After a first appearance in the beginning of the game where he did nothing special, Jelinek was the energizer that helped Joventut come back into the game in the second half. He started though with some difficult shots like a short three pointer out of the dribble where he also was a bit too much in a fade away style or a missed jump shot out of transition where he could have played the pass for one of his team mates being in a better position. But he was so self-confident, and he also got the confidence of the coach who did not take him out after those plays,  that he continued to be very aggressive on the offensive end. He likes to attack the basket with his right hand where he is quite explosive on his first step. Sometimes he struggled to recognize the defensive help quick enough so that his passes lacked a bit of precision. He excels though in running the fast break where he literally storms up and down the court. His great speed helps to beat anyone of the dribble and his fundamentals allow him to finish even very difficult moves attacking the rim. In one play, he got the ball in transition and finished the play with two extra-long direction changing steps around the defender for an underhand layup with the foul. Following that move, he immediately hit a big three-pointer to cut the lead back to ten points after two or three dribbles. Afterwards, Jelinek had another very impressive move where he grabbed the defensive rebound and made a coast-to-coast that he finished with a nice layup. The 19-yr old player showed why he is considered as one of the most talented players of the continent and he will certainly increase his minutes on the court through out the season.

Josep Franch is holding a role as third PG on the team and he had a correct game. The 1991 born and 1m98 tall player shows good speed combined with excellent footwork and of course great size for a back court player. He tried to go for several scores but he could only connect for one basket on a left handed finish of a drive. His jump shot does not look super stable at the moment, he took some difficult takes out of the dribble though. On his drives, he looked sometimes a bit erratic losing the control of what he wanted to do. But being the youngest player on the court, he has the time to learn from this and gain experience.

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