European Prospects

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NIJT Belgrade 2013: the Wings

March 12th, 2013 · No Comments

In the second part of our player report on the Nike International Junior Tournament, we take a look on two very interesting wing players in Marko Guduric and Damien Inglis. On the other hand, a list of several potential role player prospects completes this part of the evaluation series before talking about the big men in the final article on the tournament.

Marko Guduric – 1m96 – SG/SF – 1995 – Crvena Zvezda

Not a member of the All-Tournament team, Marko Guduric was one of our favorite players in the whole tournament though. The Serbian swingman was extremely effective on both ends of the court being able to shut down the opposite top scorers very well and coming up with a lot of excellent decisions on offense. The left-handed guard, who had to play most of his minutes on the Small Forward position showed a good stroke from behind the arc with a very fluid shot and good release point. Athletically, he is already well developed and he can score with the contact. His preference for the left hand when putting the ball on the floor is a bit too obvious eventually but he can beat his defender easily and create very good offensive opportunities in these situations.

His court-vision is really great for a player of his size. When he attacks the basket in Pick and Roll situations, he can find his roller or go for the weak-side kick out. On the other hand, he is also able to go fully to the hoop and finish close to the rim. He reads well what the defense is offering him and makes excellent decisions out of this as it is underlined by his superb shooting percentage (76.0% 2FG) and good assist ratios. Together with his great defense where he has excellent lateral speed and good physical presence, Guduric is certainly ready for the professional level. With his facilitating skills on offense, he is the perfect team player who should not have any problems to find his role quickly in a team.

Stats: 13.2ppg (76.0% 2FGs – 47.1% 3FGs), 4.2rpg, 3.4apg, 16.8PIR

Andrija Simovic – 2m06 – SF/PF – 1995 – Mega Vizura

He did not have that much of an impact throughout the tournament but I wanted to mention Andrija Simovic for his overall skill package and potential. Quite long and mobile, Simovic can play both forward positions and likes to attack the basket with a good first step. He can draw the foul when putting the ball on the floor and he has an interesting but extendable presence in rebounding. Simovic needs to develop a regular shot from behind the three-point line which is not his favorite weapon at the moment. He is certainly a player to follow on the long term as he has the physical abilities to become a high-level potential in a few years.

Stats: 7.8ppg, 4.6rpg, 6.6PIR

Konstantin Kovalev – 2m02 – SF – 1995 – ALBA Berlin

The German swingman showed some interesting potential as a future Small Forward. Kovalev had to play on the 4 or even the 5 during the days in Belgrade because of the lack of size of his team. But his future is clearly on the 3 spot as he showed some correct shooting abilities from behind the arc and a nice right handed drive from the top of the key. Athletically, he is on the right track but the 2m02 tall forward needs to work on his handle, especially with the left hand and to be able to create better out of the drive. Defensively, he has the right attitude and the feel for the passing lanes and he should be able to develop into an interesting transition player down the road.

Stats: 10.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 5.8PIR

Martin Peterka – 2m02 – SF/PF – 1995 – USK Future Stars

The Czech forward is already a household name in European basketball as he is the leader of his teams for the last few years. Still an excellent rebounder and physical presence, Peterka has developed his game to become more versatile and he showed this specifically by being a better passer out of the drive. In low post plays, he prefers to face up and play his defender on the dribble. He currently plays mainly in a role of a stretch four as his overall speed on both sides of the court remains too limited for the Small Forward position. Peterka needs to work on this in order to develop into a player who can have some impact on the professional level. If he can move to the Small Forward position on a full time basis, he has the potential to play the highest level in Europe in the future.

Stats: 14.5ppg, 10.0rpg, 3.3apg, 20.8PIR

Milos Glisic – 2m03 – SF – 1998 – Partizan Belgrade

By far the youngest player in the tournament, Glisic’s impact was undeniable already for his Partizan team. Displaying great size and fluidity for a player who will only turn 15 in a month, Glisic has certainly not even understood his full potential. What can be said about him is that he can develop into a full-time small forward in the future as he can drive, shot and has excellent size for the wing positions. We won’t go into more details on him right now as he is still very young and it is very difficult to predict the next steps for such a young player.

Stats: 5.8ppg, 1.8rpg, 4.4PIR

Dusan Ranitovic – 1m99 – SF – 1995 – Partizan Belgrade

Certainly not a big time talent but Dusan Ranitovic was an important player for his team. Undersized to play the Power Forward position, Ranitovic though was doing a great job rebounding the ball on both ends of the court. He is the kind of garbage guy who sets the screens, plays defense and comes up with the hustle plays. Not dangerous from behind the three-point line, Ranitovic likes to attack the basket where he can finish with tough layups and against the defense. He has good timing to reject shots on defense and with his good athletic abilities, he was very present on this level. The question is how good of a shooter he can become as he is too short to play in the paint on the professional level throughout the games.

Stats: 7.8ppg, 5.4rpg, 11.2PIR

Vanja Marinkovic – 1m93 – SF/SG – 1997 – Partizan Belgrade

One of the most beautiful jump shots of the whole tournament was the main offensive asset of the 1997 born Partizan guard Vanja Marinkovic. Coming from the bench to bring some offensive firepower, the very young prospect was mainly active from behind the arc where he showed his very straight and fluid jump shot. Marinkovic is also able to create his shot out of the dribble already and has good range. Additionally, he is a surprising rebounder for his size and with certainly some centimeters left in his growth, Marinkovic can develop into a very interesting spot-up shooter in the future. He is definitely a player to follow this summer with the Serbian U16 National Team.

Stats: 7.0ppg, 4.4rpg, 8.4PIR

Damien Inglis – 1m99 – SF – 1995 – INSEP

Damien Inglis was the absolute dominator of the NIJT in Belgrade. Rarely, a player has been so present in all categories in such a setting. Compared to what Inglis showed one year ago, he made an enormous step forward in his approach to the game. However, this was kind of surprising as he is not nearly as dominant with his INSEP team in the French third division. So it looks like the versatile forward wanted to show something in Belgrade, knowing that all eyes were on him. He took over the complete control of the French offense in a way that we did not know from him. Dominating the ball, scoring, creating, driving and playing defense, Inglis was everywhere on the court and he could only be stopped by a small knee injury in the semi-finals.

The main change in his game is that he is playing fully on the Small Forward spot right now. When we criticized him last summer to impose too much his physique to dominate in the PF, Inglis has now really moved outside the three-point area to create on the drive. He likes to put the ball on the floor to attack the basket and his dramatically improved his passing. He finds his team mates on the penetration when the help is coming but he has also improved his passing angles and timing when going for example for the high low or finding the cutters from the top of the key. Even if he is more active from outside now, Inglis still goes sometimes in the low post if he is defended by physically inferior players. He can either play them with his back to the basket but also recognize the help situations and kick it out to the free shooters.

Talking about his physique, Inglis is really well built. Large shoulders and already quite mature, the French forward looked like a man among kids at moments. Added to his strong presence, he has also some explosiveness even if he might lack elite leaping abilities. Nevertheless, he can come up with some spectacular plays on both ends of the court, playing often above the rim and not being afraid to go for the hard dunk. Inglis has not really improved his shooting game though. He remains an occasional three-point threat, even if he took nearly one long-range shot per every 10 minutes he was on the court. With such a small sample, it is difficult to judge about his regularity from outside but he can knock it down at around 35% most likely. He has to work though on his mid-range game which is nearly inexistent in terms of scoring from about 3-4 meters.

In general, you can say that Inglis has grown in his overall game, becoming a leader on the court who wants to have the ball in his hands. He finished with an impressive stat line even if he played only 14 minutes in the semi-final before he got injured. If you take out this game, he averaged 23.7ppg, 10.7rpg and 9.0apg in the first three games of the event which would give him an unreal 42.3PIR. But next to these stats, Inglis has to show that he can not only lead his team in numbers but make them a winning squad. In the highly important game versus Partizan which decided on the semi-final opponent, Inglis was unable to bring home the victory to his guys despite a 39PIR. He has another occasion during the summer with the French U18 National Team to win a medal or eventually during the NIJT Final 8 in London if INSEP is getting a wildcard as rumored.

Stats: 19.0ppg, 8.5rpg, 7.3apg, 1.8bpg, 32.5PIR

Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot – 1m98 – SF – 1996 – INSEP

The French Small Forward was certainly the most impressive athlete of the tournament. Superbly fluid and an incredible leaper, Eliezer-Vanerot was not very successful though in his scoring. Mainly used as a Small Forward, his three-point shooting was far from being balanced and he airballed a couple of shots from behind the arc. He also likes to attack the basket and stop in the mid-range area for the jump shot without being very precise from these spots. This is a bit questionable regarding his decision making but overall, Eliezer-Vanerot has to be considered as an interesting prospect. His physical profile is terrific and with the experience coming, he should be able to become a better decision maker. In that case, he can develop into a great swingman with excellent defensive qualities in the future.

Stats: 8.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.6PIR

Stephane Gombauld – 2m01 – SF/PF – 1997 – INSEP

Stephane Gombauld comes with a extremely impressive body for a 1997 born player. Playing mostly on the power forward spot because of a still unpolished outside game, Gombauld was mainly scoring from very close or on the break. His final stat line might be a bit misleading as he started the tournament on a 25pts at 11/11 FGs effort which improved his final averages dramatically. In the bigger games, he was not as present as it might have been expected but his young age can be an explanation for a lot.The  French forward will eventually still add some centimeters and he should in that case focus on becoming a PF in the future. With his physical potential, he should be able to  develop into a defending lowpost presence in the mold of a Jim Bilba in the future.

Stats: 11.6ppg, 4.6rpg, 13.2PIR

Djordje Malbasa – 1m98 – SF – 1995 – Treviso

The Croatian swingman was the most effective player of the Italian team during the few quarters where I have seen them play. Quite strong physically, Malbasa showed a nice drive to attack the basket where he mostly tried to go fully to the hoop for the score. He is a surprising low-post presence where he wants to use his superior physical skills against most of the SF in the tournament but he also has a nice and quick three-point shot that he however uses only rarely.

Stats: 10.5ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.8apg, 11.8PIR

Dorian Jelenek – 2m00 – SF/SG – 1995 – Cedevita

In the quite young team from Zagreb, Dorian Jelenek was the overall statistical leader. The Croatian swingman underlined his known qualities as a good runner and athlete who can score both from inside and outside. Additionally, he goes really hard to the offensive rebound where he can create lots of second chances for his team and where he uses his athleticism to get some additional baskets. I have not seen enough games of him in Belgrade to go deeper in the scouting report unfortunately, but he is certainly a player interesting enough to follow on the long term.

Stats: 15.5ppg, 8.8rpg, 2.3apg, 16.8PIR

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