The Top 4 of the German U16 League JBBL was overall on very good level. When last year, the Urspring team around Gavin Schilling dominated everything, the competition was more balanced this time and no individual dominator was present but teams were deeper and had especially interesting players in the younger age groups 97 or even 98. As usual, we do not go too much into details with scouting reports about such young players as their development is still ahead. We concentrate in this report only to a few players that caught our eyes and can not give a full report on all the prospects of the four teams as most of these kids are still in an early development of their basketball skills.
The German National Team player Kevin Casper was not very effective in the semi-final against Paderborn. The left handed PF/C mainly played close to the basket and rarely stepped out to the wing to operate on the drive. He looks already pretty mature in terms of physical development with his 2m01. Casper showed that he can score with the mid-range jump shot around the key but also had a nice spin move once where you could recognize good footwork. The 96 born has excellent rebounding timing on both ends of the court. It will be interesting to follow his development in terms of ball handling and shooting skills in order to better see where his future position will be.
The 1997 born Marvin Omuvwie from TuS Lichterfelde impressed with excellent athletic abilities and a great wingspan. He was the target of a back-door alley-oop play to start the game but he could not convert the pass. But Omuvwie is not only an athletic phenomenon but also a very interesting basketball player. His shooting mechanics look good even if he was not very successful in his attempts. He can put the ball on the floor to attack the basket and finish in impressive ways. The 14 year old (he turns 15 in July) fights really hard and has good shot blocking timing. Approximately about 1m90 tall (he has no height listed officially), Omuvwie has no position yet where he will play in the future and was mostly used inside because of his verticality. But he will normally develop into a nice swingman on the wing in the future.
The JBBL MVP Joschka Ferner showed during the semi-final why he earned that title despite having a bad shooting day. Missing nearly all of his attempts, the 2m01 tall twin brother of Lukas was playing every position from Point Guard to Center with ease. He has good ball handling and likes to attack the basket from outside with his stronger left hand but he can also score from behind the three-point line. The Nördlingen player has guard-like skills and was able to find his team mates with good passes because of court-vision and good technique. The Nördlingen program of JBBL Coach of the Year Zoltan Nagy is developing the players on any position without taking into consideration the height and Joschka Ferner is the excellent result of this work. The German National Team player is already being scouted by big name clubs from Germany but also in Europe but he will play for the ratiopharm Ulm NBBL team next season.
Sebastian Schmitt was running the Point Guard position for Bayern München and he did this very well during the semi-final but struggled a bit against the physically stronger and taller guards of Paderborn in the Final. Not really a threat from outside, Schmitt likes to split the defense with his great drives and excellent speed. Playing under control and displaying a good understanding of the game, Schmitt took a lot of correct decision when attacking the basket where he is able to finish with the contact and with his weaker left hand. Defensively, he can put a lot of pressure with his quick hands and very low defensive position. But Schmitt needs to work to become more regular from behind the arc as he lacks a bit of size with his 1m78 right now.
Tim Hasbargen is the top scorer of the Munich team as the 1m90 tall forward showed great speed and excellent skills to attack the basket. Hasbargen can finish with either hand from close and was superbly effective close to the basket as he sealed his defenders well and had good positions inside. But he was not only scoring from close, he created also well when putting the ball on the floor as his first step helped him to beat nearly any defender on the court. He can finish his drive with creative shots and even post up smaller players. When putting the ball on the floor, he remains under control as he sees the defense reaction and can adapt to what is given to him. He did not score one three-point shot during the regular season but he nailed one on a buzzer during the final that looked like he is used to score from outside. It was also him who shot free-throws after a Technical which underlines that his shot should not be an issue even if he never really took a normal jump shot in the two games we followed. If you score 16 out 20 free-throws at the age of 16 in a National Final, shooting should not be a problem for your future development.
Karim Jallow is a 1997 born wing who showed that he can develop into a very good defensive prospect for the future. He did a good job against our tournament MVP Lars Kamp in the Final as he could reduce his scoring from mid range with his length and verticality. On offense, Jallow mainly lives from his first step and the drive where he can attack the basket with very long steps. Very agile and having already a good repertoire of fakes, Jallow scored several nice baskets after having put the ball on the floor. He is not a real jump shot threat so far but he only turned 15 one month ago which lets a lot of room for development in this area. Physically, he has the tools to work with and yet another season to play in the JBBL.
The name of Richard Freudenberg was one of the most talked about on Saturday after the semi-final where the 13 years old (born in August 1998) scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for his team. Freudenberg has already good size with 1m91 and can definitely shoot the ball even if his mechanics are still very slow. But with his feet set, his three-point shot looks very regular despite a super high flying curve. Next to his shot, Freudenberg can also put the ball on the floor with either hand and showed some particularly impressive moves for a 13 year prospect with his size. Currently, he is really thin with a small frame (in similar style than Nick Spires from Sweden) which made him struggle to score against 2 years older players in the paint or hold position in defense. But his understanding of the game seems great and he finds always good positions on both ends of the floor. Freudenberg is certainly a major player to follow for the next years.
The 1997 born Niklas Kiel of the new National Champs from Paderborn looked as probably the biggest talent of the event. 2m03 tall and moving like a wing, the 14 years old (born in September 97) showed a great feel for the game, superb fakes and also court-vision of a guard. Kiel was able to play any position on offense, even bringing up the ball when his team was put under pressure. Both capable of attacking the basket on the drive or playing in the post, Kiel seemed always under control and knowing exactly what he was doing on the court. The way he played, you saw that he really enjoys playing basketball. At moments, it was him who took the ball and announced the set plays, taking the big three-point shot to calm the opponent or reject the shots to clean the paint. Present in every aspect of the game, Kiel looks like a real top talent at the moment and should be one of the dominators of the JBBL next season.
Lars Kamp was the scoring leader of Paderborn and did this in a very impressive way during the two days in Hagen. One of the few players in the event that had a real mid-range game with the capacity of creating his own shots out of the dribble, Kamp looked to be ahead of the rest of the players in terms of game understanding and scoring skills. Nicely athletic, the 1m82 tall guard can score from anywhere on the court and feels comfortable in that role without forgetting to involve his team mates. Because of his athletic abilities he can still make the nice pass out of the jump shot move when he sees the cutters going back door for the layup. He has a great first step when attacking the basket and he is not afraid to score with the contact from mid-range or close to the basket. Kamp needs to work though on his left hand for the finish as he sometimes had to go for the difficult right handed move when coming from the left. He was unstoppable at moments as he drew a lot of fouls when he attacked the basket but he maybe focused a bit too much on his jump shot instead of really going to the basket. Nevertheless, he was our MVP of the tournament because of his overall package.
Luis Figge was the PG of the winners from Paderborn and the 1997 born and already quite strong guard showed some interesting skills. Even if his ball handling is improvable and his shot selection was sometimes a bit questionable, Figge was a really important player for his team because of his surprising maturity and physical presence on the court. Being 1m88 tall, he has already now good size for playing PG in the future despite being only 15 years old. Not a superbly creative player, Figge finds his team mates though with good passing without going for the highlight play. He can put the ball on the floor pretty well as he is quite fast. On the defensive end, he is a good help for rebounding and he can immediately start to run the offense out of these situations. With him, Kiel and the also 97 born Till Pape, Paderborn still has a good team to defend their title next season when Lars Kamp has left to the NBBL level.