To start the reports about the tournament in Douai, I will first of all take a look at the Guards of the different teams. Please note that I will focus on the European guys, so the US and African players will be named but not described in detail.
Andrew Albicy from France was the MVP of the Finals and got also elected to the All-Tournament team, a deserved recognition for the 1m70 tall PG from Paris-Levallois. Albicy is a scoring PG that lives a lot from his great shooting from behind the arc. Not incredibly fast for his size, he is driving but this is not his main offensive skill. He improved his three point percentage over the tournament after starting with a bad 0/6 in the first game.
After the poor showing of France in Mannheim and the request of the coaching stuff to find a PG leader, Albicy has really emerged and improved since Spring. He was the clear-cut go-to-guy in a less talented than the years before French team in general. With him on the court, the French team looked in confidence and went for an incredible 28-2 run during the semis.
He will probably suffer from his size in the future, but seeing the good games his countryman Marco Pellin had in the Euroleague, you can imagine a similar destiny in the future. However, Albicy has not developed the defensive mindset of Pellin so far, something that can still happen. At least, with Paris-Levallois down in ProB next season, Albicy should see lots of minutes with the professionals from this fall on.
Toni Prostran was also elected into the All-Tournament team, and this was even more deserved than Albicy’s selection as Prostran was one year younger than most of the competitors and he was probably among the top scorers of the tournament. The 91 born guard from KK Zadar showed a scoring talent that is rarely seen for a 1m83 small guard.
Prostran lives mostly from his super quick shot release from behind the arc where he can fire up threes at will, even with bigger defenders in his face. His shooting mechanics look super fluid but incomplete as he stops the move after releasing the ball immediately. Additionally, the ball turns sideways on his shot. This does not impeach him to score incredible shots from long distances.
When he gets defended hard on pick and roll, he has no problem to split between the defenders and go for great assists too. When he drives, he often scores tear drop shots or running floaters as he is not super athletic to go up against the big guys in the paint. He can be out of the game for stretches when he is defended by bigger players, but he can also on the other hand go for incredible scoring runs over short periods.
Maurice Stuckey did play a correct tournament in his role as scoring guard coming of the bench for Germany. With his speed and acceleration, he could drive till the basket lots of times as no defender was able to stop his right handed penetration. Stuckey is the ideal complement to the starting German PG Simon Schmitz who is more like an organizer on the court while Stuckey is the energizer.
Stuckey was not hot from the outside during the games I saw in Douai so he used his speed to drive in the lane and score with some running floaters or hanging lay-ups where he could use his nice athleticism. With his drives, he could also create some good opportunities for his team mates in the paint but he tried mostly to go for his own score.
He tried also some mid-distance shots out of the dribble, but he could not connect them in a regular fashion. He also managed to score sometimes of his left hand but his drives were nearly every time on his strong right hand. This was of course also the result of poor defense as they opened him his strong side lots of times. On defense, he put a lot of pressure on the opposing guards, especially when Germany played some kind of full court man-to-man defense.
Maxim Mutaf played some good games in Douai during the weekend. The scoring guard from Fenerbahce, who had a little injury on his hand, was the go-to-guy during moments for a Turkish team that was far away from its level it displayed in Mannheim.
Mutaf has a picture perfect shot from all distances which he can put up with ease against defenders too. He is always attacking his defender as soon as he gets the ball and tries to go for the scoring. When driving, he finished either with floaters of the glass or even when till the rim to score on nice finger rolls. He had also a very athletic back door lay up where he scored against two defenders with beauty.
For his long distance shot, he has no problem to create his own shot. He showed a variety of different shooting positions, coming off the screen or going for a step back three in his defenders face. Additionally, he showed surprising presence in offensive rebounding where he tried to go for every ball. Even his injured did not prevent him to jump into the chairs to get an lose ball. On the other hand, he put himself out of the game with 2 super stupid fouls in the last minutes. But he will learn how to avoid such errors in the future.
Melih Mahmutoglu was the other Turkish SG during this tournament and he came up with his beautiful game that we could already see in Mannheim this spring. With his perfect shooting mechanics, Mahmutoglu nearly netted every open position from behind the arc. Not much of a drive player, he often stops to go for the mid-distance jump shot out of the dribble.
Liran Moran was the top scorer for the Israeli team. He nearly scored only on three point shots, where he was pretty accurate. Moran is listed as 1m91 and I think that he can play the SG spot in the future in a very specific role as shooter. He showed sometimes a nice drive where he can go to the rim but mostly he is the guy receiving the ball from inside and netting the three-ball.
Gilvydas Biruta played only 1 quarter of basketball during the two days I was in Douai, but you could see that this guy has basketball talent. First of all, he is an outstanding athlete going for not less than 4 dunks in one quarter, two of these coming from highly spectacular alley-oop passes after a screen in the back (a play, that you could for example often see for Roanne’s Marc Salyers this season). He did not play in the last game of the tournament as his coach has probably seen enough of his scoring talent of the bench in the games before. One note on him is also that he is playing in the Gran Canaria basketball academy in Spain which is quite uncommon for a Lithuanian youngster.
Nic Wise was the clear leader of Team USA on the PG position and did hurt the opposing defenses a lot with his huge drives where he was not afraid to go against the big guys and even scored several times against them with the foul. With his great handles and speed changes, he was a tough match-up for any player that tried to guard him.
Mohamed Koita was the only guard on Team Africa, so he had to play 40 minutes per game. And he was mostly a scoring threat with a lot of turnovers in the setup of the game. Koita can hit a lot of threes despite a quite mechanical shooting way. His outstanding athleticism helps him on the drives but he lacks a bit of basketball understanding due to his limited playing on the highest level so far. He is currently at the Stoneridge Academy in the United States.