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Douai Tournament 2008: the Centers

July 3rd, 2008 · No Comments

Finally, we come to the big guys present in Douai. And here, the quality was rather high with some top European talent but also good prospects from Africa and the United States.

Donatas Motiejunas was of course the most talented of all the players in Douai. But he did not manage to lift his team higher than the 7th place. Is it the lack of quality guards in his Lithuanian U18 National or is Motiejunas not a go-to-guy type and leader? This is one of the questions that I asked myself after the tournament. His up and down performances and his trend to be quickly frustrated may make me tend to the second choice.

However, the great talent skill set that Motiejunas displays has no equivalent in Douai. Being 2m14 tall and showing barely and kind of major weaknesses in his game is quite an amazing asset. Posting up and scoring on nearly every ball he receives down low is not a problem as scoring from outside or on the drive. Motiejunas has also no problem to put the ball on the floor and we saw him several times bringing up the ball in fast break situations, and even going for a perfectly timed behind the back pass.

On the downside, Motiejunas seems really to be mentally not always focused or getting frustrated really quick after one or two missed plays. In the last game of the tournament, where he looked really motivated, he came up with way too many three-point shots in the end which he all missed. There was no reason for doing that and it raised once again the mental questions. Still, Motiejunas is probably behind Ricky Rubio the best prospect of the European 1990 generation.

Leon Radosevic is the real inside force for the Croatians. Great athlete and highly aggressive, Radosevic uses his large frame and great physical strength to be a dominator in the paint. As he can run well the floor, he is also a big asset in the fast break where he can conclude as a trailer with powerful dunks.

When he is working on the post, he draws a lot of fouls despite having any real go-to-move he likes to ue. He is more a banger who tries to go with his force to the rim, mostly after facing the basket. When he gets doubled, he can go for the pass to the cutter as well. His jump shot goes until around the key, even it looks not particularly precise from this area.

He prefers to go for the drive as he is mostly guarded by big guys that are slower than him. However, if you close his right hand he has a lot more problems to put the ball on the floor with the left and tries to go for spin moves to come back to his stronger right hand. In defense, he is present in rebounding and can become a big shot blocker.

Maik Zirbes did a nice job in the paint for the German team. He has a massive body and good size and athleticism. However, he was really afraid when playing against Team USA in the semis but did a good job offensively against Croatia for the third place.

His offensive arsenal is based on post-up play and pick-and-roll. From the post up position, Zirbes can score with a sort of jump hook which he protects with his massive body. He is doing pretty well on pick-and-roll situations where he rolls perfectly to the open spots in the lane to score on lay-ups. Additionally, he is a decent passer for a player of his size.

Despite great athletic abilities, he comes up with some soft moves when he has to attack the rim. This is not really understandable as he can go for huge powerful dunks even over people when he tries to. Zirbes also has three point range, but barely shots from the with the national team. Defensively, he was very weak. Laterally, he showed no real speed in defense but I think it is more a question will than anything else.

Enes Kanter was not the impressive presence that he was in Mannheim this time. Still, when he receives the ball down low, he is hard to stop. But this, most of the teams doubled him immediately and he sometimes does not know exactly what to do. When he forced to go to the rim, he even sometimes managed to score then. However, being 2 years younger than the competition, he must be considered as a tremendous prospect for the future.

Tanguy Ramassany is not the type of player that you see in this type of report. But he is a player I personally liked a lot. A massive inside player with no real offensive game but the hard will to do his dirty job in the rebound. Ramassany fights in the paint and is giving the opponents a hard job to attack against him. Far from being a high-level prospect, Ramassany can end up as a great defensive role player in a few years.

Kenny Frease was the best center of the tournament and I can approve that. Really wide body with some interesting moves back to the basket are the main characteristics of his play. He is not the biggest athlete in the world but he is making some damage due to his physical presence. He should be a nice addition for the Xavier Basketball program.

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