Here we go for the review of the main wing players of the Final Tournament of the NIJT 2010. Let’s take a look at those players that impressed the most in Paris last weekend.
Bogdan Bogdanovic – 1m97 – Forward – 1992 – Zitko/FMP Belgrade
The second best scorer of the Serbian Junior League was an invitee on the FMP Team for this tournament in Paris. And you could easily see how Bogdanovic did to be such a prolific scorer as even without having practiced a lot with the team from Belgrade, he stood out with some nice plays and took the minutes on the wing easily. The forward from Zitko is a highly aggressive player offensively who likes to attack the basket hard and score. He had a game deciding play against Unicaja in the money time when he took the ball on a left handed drive that he finished close to the basket in traffic.
He has the typical excellent fundamentals that most of the Serbian players bring with but his three point shot looked a bit off during the tournament. He can hit these shots though, but in Paris, they were not falling. Bogdanovic does a good job when using the Pick and Roll on the wing and he can go for the nice pass to the roller out of the drive. When he is playing on the SG position or defended by a smaller player, he can also go in the low post and play his defender with the back to the basket. He is present in rebounding without being exceptional though on this level. In the Serbian Junior League, averaged about 7 boards per game.
Stats: 10.8ppg (41.7% 2FG, 20.0% 3FG, 73.3% FTs), 4.0rpg, 7.3effpg
Livio Jean-Charles – 2m02 – Forward – 1993 – INSEP
One of the most promising players of the whole tournament and a deserved MVP was the 1993 born Livio Jean-Charles. The 2m02 tall forward was used mainly at the PF position with INSEP after having been tested on SF with the French U18 team during the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. While he seemed not ready for this position yet, he did an excellent job on the Power Forward during the four days in Paris but he probably needs to develop his small forward game in the future. If he can understand what he is able to do and how to use his strengths at best, he has certainly still an enormous progress margin for the future.
The long and athletic Jean-Charles did an excellent job in collecting the points in the paint with an extreme precision. He finished the tournament with 72.7% from inside the arc and when you consider the number of mid-range jump shots he took, especially from the baseline, you can imagine that he was nearly perfect inside the paint. In fact, he missed only 9 shots in a total of 127 minutes on the court while having had 33 attempts. While his outside jump shot looks already well developed and a three-point shot is currently in the making, the damage he creates in the paint is big. With his excellent speed, he is faster than nearly all of his opponents and he runs the break especially well. He finishes often with two handed layups in order to protect the ball and avoid the block shot.
One of the most interesting parts in Jean-Charles game is his fantastic court-vision and understanding of the game for an inside player at this age. Several times, he freed himself out of double-teams with a perfect pass for the cutter, the opposing wing or the kick for the three point shot. He is not simply passing the ball out but finds the right man in the right position. The 2m02 tall player can also put the ball on the floor to attack the basket but this is clearly the point of his game that he needs to develop in order to become a serious threat from outside.
Stats: 16.3ppg (72.7% 2FG, 70.8% FTs), 5.0rpg, 2.8apg, 3.5topg, 18.0effpg
Edgaras Ulanovas – 1m96 – Forward – 1992 – Zalgiris Kaunas
The left-handed forward was quite a nice surprise for the Lithuanian team with a great scoring effort throughout the tournament. He looks like the typical Baltic wing player with a good 3pt shot and a nice drive to the basket. He likes to beat his opponent on the dribble and to go until the hoop for the score. Ulanovas can however also stop in the post area and finish on a jump hook or after a back to the basket move. His nice athletic abilities help him when he is defended by a taller player and quite a good hang-time give him the possibility to finish in two times with a sort of double pump move once in the air.
Ulanovas can also hit the shot from behind the arc despite having quite an a bit strange move. He stretches his arm out forward when he is taking his shot and his release is rather slow, especially when he has his feet set for the catch and shoot. He can nail it out of the dribble with a defender because he somehow releases the ball faster in those situations. In general, he plays under control and does not turn the ball over too often. He works in the defensive rebound as well and excelled in the Zalgiris system but he needs to develop his right hand on the drive in order to become more complete and be ready for the next level.
Stats: 17.3ppg (60.8% 2FG, 33.3% 3FG, 75.0% FTs), 4.7rpg, 17.7effpg
Pablo Villarejo – 1m92 – Forward/Guard – 1992 – Cajasol Sevilla
The 1m92 tall SF/SG was the main scoring option for the Cajasol Sevilla team. Despite not looking particularly impressive at first sight, Villarejo managed to score sometimes at will with an old style type of basketball. Not being overly athletic or fast, Villarejo reads what the defense gives him and forces also sometime the decision to go for the score. He uses a lot of fakes in order to destabilize his defender, an exercise which he does quite well. He can attack the basket with both hands and normally goes close to the the hoop in order to finish of the glass or with the finger roll.
Villarejo can also hit the three-point shots in series after having put the ball on the floor or especially when he is receiving the good kick out pass. He runs well through the screens to get the open look and fires the ball immediately once he gets it. But all this works very well on this level, but I have some doubts if he can overcome his physical and athletic deficits on the professional level.
Stats:18.7ppg (52.9% 2FG, 31.0% 3FG, 854.6% FTs), 2.0rpg, 13.0effpg
Pape Amadou – 2m04 – Forward – 1993 – Cajasol Sevilla
The left handed Senegalese player from Cajasol was certainly among the most interesting prospects of the whole tournament. His excellent combination of physical skills and basketball potential make him very interesting on the long run. First of all, Amadou comes with fantastic athletic abilities to run the floor and jump. He is a great rebounder and a big presence in shot blocking when coming from the weak side. But next to his massive vertical presence in defense, he has a surprising offensive game.
Even if a lot of his shot attempts did not went it, his shooting mechanics look really nice and it should only be a question of time before he will also hit the three-point shot with better percentages. He can also attack the basket with good long steps and he does this particularly well with his left hand where he finishes also the difficult drives with the foul. His right hand needs more polishing over the next years but being born in 1993 gives him a large margin of progress. What makes him a bit special is his excellent decision making in offensive game situations where he rarely makes a bad choice and has very few turnovers.
Stats: 15.3ppg (48.5% 2FG, 28.6% 3FG, 46.1% FTs), 13.0rpg, 2.7bpg, 19.0effpg