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Euroleague 2010/2011 Preview: Group C

October 20th, 2010 · No Comments

The Group C of the Euroleague 2010/2011 features some of the most interesting young big men in Europe and several potential NBA Draft candidates. Additionally, Ricky Rubio is also active with his FC Barcelona in this group and the games of these 6 teams will certainly attract a large number of NBA scouts over the season.

Lietuvos Rytas

The number 1 big man prospect in Europe is of course the Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas. The 1992 born dominated the U18 European Championship this summer and won the Gold Medal in Lithuania with a stellar performance. Valanciunas will see major minutes with Rytas this season and will give them a necessary athletic component. With his presence in the rebound and shot blocking, the 2m10 tall player will try to make his first steps in the toughest European competition. The first game against Fenerbahce Ülker tonight showed that he can already be a good factor on this level despite some deficits when he has to defend or score against more physical players. But with his built, it is only a question of time until Valanciunas should be able to dominate the paint of the Lithuanian team. He is probably already an option for the Senior National team looking forward to the 2011 Eurobasket in Lithuania.

Simas Buterlevicus is a 1989 born forward who probably will only see garbage minutes with Lietuvos Rytas this season.

Cibona Zagreb

Bojan Bogdanovic continues where he started last season, scoring the basketball for Cibona Zagreb. With the departure of Marko Tomas, he is the first scoring option for the Croatian team and he has responded with 23.7ppg in the first three Adriatic League games. The 1989 born forward has good control over his drives and shows some court-vision to kick the ball out to the open man when needed. He is not at his best when he needs to attack the basket against taller player and therefore mainly uses the outside and mid-range game to score. His jump shot looks really nice with a quick release but the release point is not very high as he does only jump as high as needed when taking the shot. Defensively, he needs to improve his lateral quickness in order to defend smaller players.

Going a few years back, Leon Radosevic looked like an athletic but offensively pretty raw inside player. Now, he is the second scorer of Cibona Zagreb at the age of 20 by concentrating on what he can do best: rebound on both ends of the floor, fight and score close to the basket. The progress that Radosevic has made stats-wise is impressive over the last 2 years and he is just one step away from being a full member of the Croatian Senior National Team. With his constant progress, he will be on the radar of the NBA teams in the next two years as well as the number of 2m08 tall pure inside players with good athletic and scoring abilities are not that common in Europe.

Mario Delas has been an author’s favorite a few year’s ago where he looked like a very versatile PF with excellent ball-handling skills, a good drive to the basket and great length and overall basketball understanding. After having moved to Zalgiris Kaunas last summer, he has now been loaned back home to Croatia and will play his minutes with Cibona Zagreb this season. However, he had some kind of a rusty start into the new season with his shot not falling and a lot of defensive fouls. He will share his minutes with Drago Pasalic on the PF position and this should not prevent him from getting a lot of quality minutes in the Euroleague this season. With his overall skill-set, Delas should be able to develop into a full-time Euroleague contributor already this season.

Tomislav Zubcic has long been considered as the main talent out of the three Croatian 1990 born big guys. However, his development has not gone forward with the same speed than for the two above mentioned but this season seems now to be the one where Zubcic will finally get regular minutes on the highest level. Zubcic features excellent speed and ball handling abilities for a nearly seven footer. However, a poor shot selection and missing toughness were the characteristics that we remember as well from him. Cibona gives him the chance to show that he has improved over the last year but the first results from Adriatic League do not look really consistent as he scores only at 38.1% from 2 and did not even convert a single three pointer in the opening games.

Karlo Vragovic is a 1989 born back-up on the guard positions with only some limited impact on the team so far this season.

Cholet Basket

Christophe Leonard is the player to watch with Cholet Basket this season. The 1990 born forward is seeing back-up minutes for the French team and we considered him already as one of the Top5 prospects of the season in France a few days ago.

Regal FC Barcelona

Of course, Ricky Rubio is the main prospect in Europe. Being drafted already and having major impact with the best team in Europe, he has nearly reached the status of superstar already. He needs to overcome a mediocre World championship and show that he can even improve his game to the next level and become an Euroleague MVP candidate in the next years.

Fenerbahce Ülker

Can Maxim Mutaf will most likely see some garbage minutes with the Turkish team this season. The sharp shooting guard would probably do best to go on loan to get more playing time in order to gain some high level experience.

Montepaschi Siena

No prospects to talk about.

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