To start the in-depth reports about the Douai World Tournament, I will take a closer look to the third placed French team. Being only one point short of the Final victory, the team looks a bit undersized compared to the different other teams in the competition and also the typical hyper athletic inside player is not present in this generation.
The French team is based on two players, PG and last year’s MVP Andrew Albicy and the athletic wing Christophe Leonard. While the first one earned once again an All-Tournament team spot, Leonard had more of an up and down tournament which he crowned however with a great individual performance on the last day, but it was not enough to secure the first place for his team.
The first thing that I was thinking when seeing Christophe Leonard is that he got larger in his upper body. He seems to work pretty hard in that area and that will be of great help for the French team as he had to play the PF positions for several minutes as the inside players on this generation look less talented than the years before. However being listed at only 1m99, he has of course limits to play on this position but currently, his long distance shot (10% 3FG, 26% long 2s) does not give him a serious future on the SF. This is the main point where Leonard needs to focus on during the next years.
Christophe Leonard had a tournament high 34 points on Sunday
And because of that underdeveloped shot so far, his shot selection look a bit hazardous over the two days I saw him playing in Douai. As long as the defenses let him open on the wing as did Australia, Leonard is not a serious offensive threat anymore. Coming of a poor 2/8 against the Aussies, Leonard could use his strong drive to create a bit for his team mates though and not insisting too much on his shot (0/3 3FG that game). That strong drive gives him first of all several scoring possibilities as he displays great speed and explosivity going to the rim. His large body helps him to protect the ball pretty well and his good body control in the air opens him possibility to score even out of difficult positions.
Leonard will most likely earn more minutes with Cholet Basket next season where he only had limited playing time this year and walk in the footsteps of current NBA Draft prospects Rodrigue Beaubois and Nando de Colo. However, he should really work hard on his shot in order to add this scoring possibility to his skill set. Right now, he is no reliable enough from behind the arc or even mid-range jump shots despite having nailed a real big three in the Overtime on Sunday. The most of his scoring came from inside the paint where he used his good touch for the ball and showed some nice back to the basket plays even. On one play, he scored a very difficult left handed underhand layup after having passed his defender over the right shoulder.
Stats: 16.6ppg (46% FG 55.8% FT 6.6rpg)
Andrew Albicy is clearly the head of the French U19 team. The PG from Paris-Levallois earned his All-Tournament team spot more or less because of the absence of any other quality PG in the tournament but Albicy showed that he has a future on the professional level despite being only listed at 1m70. France is in fact becoming more and more of a league that features a high number of pocket-size PGs (Marc-Antoine Pellin or Aldo Curti to just name two other young French examples). And it looks like Albicy is developing more and more in the same direction as defensively minded pass-first PG.
Andrew Albicy averaged 6 assists per game
Because currently, Albicy is not a big scored. He can hit the three pointer in catch and shoot fashion and tries sometimes the long distance jump shoot out of full speed on the break, his scoring possibilities are more in the fast break or on quick drives. He is currently improving in his intermediary game though which you could see on some plays where he went for the mid-distance jump shot out of the drive; he nailed a big baseline jump shot in the money time in that way against USA on Sunday for example. He struggles a bit though when he tries to take the ball to the rim as he needs always to go for very tough layers if he can not put the defense out of balance with his direction changes. He is capable of making the lay-ups of both hands in traffic though even he missed the game winner of his left hand against the US from pretty close.
With his very low dribbles, he is not getting stolen the ball that often as his handles look decent too. However, Albicy was very turnover prone in Douai which may be explained by the fact that he only arrived late with the team as he was still in charge with his pro team in the Playoffs. Because he likes to create out of his drives that always attract pretty much of defensive help and he can dish it out to the wings or his cutters for open possibilities. Defensively, he reads the passing lanes pretty well as he excels in stealing the ball there more than being a player that creates that much of defensive pressure to force the ball handling turnover. Being pretty athletic, Albicy is present in the defensive rebound where he takes advantage of the boxing out of his team mates to grab the rebound and start the fast break immediately.
Stats: 10.7ppg (33.3% FG 11.1% 3FG 90.0%FT) 3.7rpg 6.0apg 4.0spg 5.3topg
Alexis Tanghe is player where not much of a development has been seen since last year. He struggled to impose himself in a French inside sector that is stacked with extraordinary talent at the moment. His game looks pretty polished though but on the other, it looks also pretty soft. He tries most of his scores coming from jump shots and besides a turn around jump shot, not much of a back to the basket game can be seen coming from the 2m07 tall forward. And as he is not used at all at the SF spot because of a probably limited ball handling, it is not clear right now how he will move on during the next years.
Alexis Tanghe struggled to impose himself in the paint
A player that I personally like but who did not see much of playing time with the French team is the ASVEL Villeurbanne SG/SF Paul Lacombe. He displays a pretty interesting physical built around a nice wingspan and good speed for a player of his size. His shoot looks pretty well and he can net the long distance basket in catch and shoot fashion. Lacombe is also able to go for powerful drives where you can see him holding the ball pretty strong to not get it ripped away. Why his playing time was limited to only about 15 minutes was more of mystery to me as he managed to be pretty aggressive during these short stretches going for 7.8ppg and 3.0rpg while hitting 40% of his shots and having nearly 4 fouls shots per game.
The inside sector around the massive Tanguy Ramassamy needs to display more of an offensive game if France wants to be a medal team in New Zealand in July. The Pau PF is still looking pretty big but not that explosive enough to be a intimidating force in the paint. He is however really needed on the defensive end where he closes the gaps in the rebounding and working hard on the screens.