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NIJT l´Hospitalet 2011: the Bigs

January 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

In the last part of our review of the 2011 edition of the l’Hospitalet Tournament, we will talk about the Big guys. These do not only include centers but a whole lot of Power Forwards as well as the number of real center players was limited. Let’s take a look.

Elvis Saulitis – 2m04 – C/PF – 1993 – Khimki Moscow

The Latvian big guy playing for Khimki Moscow was certainly among the best rebounders of the whole tournament despite even playing only 20 minutes per game. He averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game and played only 9 minutes in the last game. Next to his great rebounding presence, his offensive game is pretty limited. He has some basic inside moves but he struggles badly to finish them with a score. His hands seem not to be the best and he did not display anything from mid-range. With his physical development being already pretty mature, it is difficult to imagine him developing more this part of his game.

Stats: 6.0ppg (38.1% 2FGs), 9.7rpg, 10.3rkgpg

Stanislav Ilnitskiy – 1m96 – PF – 1994 – Khimki Moscow

The Russian forward displayed a good feel to find the way to the basket and score in the paint. He did not ooze you with a polished back-to-the-basket game but he was mostly scoring by being on the right place at the right moment or by cuts from the weak side to get open. He had also a good presence on the offensive glass with his athletic abilities but the limited size of the 1994 born is not an asset in a future PF role. He did not show any outside game where his future should be though. But he is still young and has some time to develop more of a wing-type assets.

Stats: 12.5ppg (50.0% 2FGs), 5.3rpg, 1.3apg, 11.8rkgpg

Carles Gasque – 2m00 – PF – 1993 – FC Barcelona

The Spanish forward had some major ups and downs in his days in Hospitalet. He came up with a great game in the semi-finals against Manresa with a 22pts 13rebs effort for being totally transparent during the Final. Gasque has good positioning offensively and also has a good shoot despite being not that really fluid. The 1993 born forward also had some interesting passes but did not really show much of a future outside game which would be necessary with his size.

Stats: 10.2ppg (56.8% 2FGs – 81.8% FTs), 6.0rpg, 12.0rkgpg

Aitor Gomez – 2m07 – C – 1993 – FC Barcelona

Aitor Gomez had the same problem than Gasque with lots of ups and downs. However, he only played well when I was not in the gym, so it is difficult to say much about him here.

Stats: 11.2ppg (53.3% 2FGs), 7.0rpg, 11.0rkgpg

Placide Nakidjim – 20m3 – PF/C – 1994 – Real Madrid

The 2m03 tall Center had an important role for the Spanish finalists. Without being overly talented, he has a major physical presence in the paint and had a shot-blocking party against Zalgiris Kaunas with 8 rejections. Nakidjim is really strong and big and displayed a very well chiseled body. He is doing an excellent job on boxing out and grabs a multitude of rebounds with his long arms. Offensively, he is though pretty raw or limited depending on how you see it. He scores when being close to the basket on offensive rebounds or good positioning but barely shows anything out of the paint. His lateral speed on defense is limited and he does not run the court too well either. He looks like the typical player that has much impact on the youth level but who will probably struggle when playing with the Seniors as his physical dominance is not good enough to be a factor against stronger players.

Stats: 8.6rpg (54.3% 2FGs), 7.8rpg, 2.4bpg, 15.6rkgpg

Guillermo Hernan-Gomez – 2m03 – PF/C – 1994 – Real Madrid

Hernan-Gomez played some interesting games in this tournament. The 1994 born PF showed that he has the feel for the game and the technique to develop into a full-time PF in the future. The 1994 born player can put the ball on the floor with either hand to attack the basket and he is not afraid to go up for the two-handed dunk against defense. He prefers to finish close to the rim than with the short jumper even when there is some opposition so that he gets several +1 calls on the way. Additionally, the 2m03 tall forward has some good court vision and can come up with the good pass out of the back-to-the-basket play. He uses a lot of fakes when playing in the low block and has also an interesting footwork to work with.

His shooting range goes nearly out to the three-point line already and he can nail the long two-point shot as well. When seeing the defender coming out on him, he puts the ball on the floor to attack the basket without great speed though. On the defensive end, he is a regular presence to block shots but he could be more intensive on the defensive rebound. Hernan-Gomez needs to get a bit more experienced as he had some decisions that were not really the best but he is still young and has the time to learn. Another point of concern is that he is not the most physical player, especially in the legs. But still, he remains one of the more interesting inside players of the whole tournament.

Stats: 6.4ppg (53.8% 2FGs), 4.8rpg, 1.2bpg, 8.6rkgpg

Bievenue Letuni – 2m27 – C – 1994 – Joventut Badalona

2m27, that is a statement to start. Bievenue Letuni, who arrived in Spain not that long ago is clearly the first player you see when Badalona came into the gym, especially in a tournament that lacks of players with size. The most surprising about Letuni though is that he can play basketball, being far more than just a size gadget. Of course, he is slow and not the best athlete in the world but you can see that he has some potential to develop into a serious professional player one day. His shooting mechanics are correct (he scored more than 80% from the FT line which is amazing for a player with his hand size) and he is a good presence on the rebound. He can hold the ball like an orange and score it when very close to the basket.

However, all he is doing, he is executing it without jumping. That’s also why he is not the shot-blocker that you might think. Hence, he is always a little late on all the plays on defense to just not put the offense in trouble. This can be a learning experience and we can judge this when seeing him again in one or two years. If it is simply too slow reaction time, then it will be difficult for him. However, with good practice, he should be able to develop at least into a Slavko Vranes type of player in the future. For doing so, he needs to become stronger physically and be less soft than he is right now. But he has still years to develop in front of him and it is not easy to judge his potential at the moment yet.

Stats: 5.0ppg (62.5% 2FGs – 83.3% FTs), 3.3rpg, 6.3rkgpg

Simas Raupys – 1m95 – PF – 1994 – Zalgiris Kaunas

One of the few real inside players of the Lithuanian team was Simas Raupys. We expected a larger presence of Simonas Kymantas but the athletic inside player did not show that much for Zalgiris in Hospitalet except some problems to finish out of excellent positions. Raupys on the other hand is a lot shorter but more present physically in the paint. He can score with the foul, has good positioning and guards his calm when being pushed hard by the defense. But he is very short for an inside player and only a late height boost can bring him a serious future as inside player. Raupys did not show much of an outside potential to build upon but he is a 1994 born so that there might remain some untapped progress margin for the future.

Stats: 6.0ppg (47.8% 2FGs), 4.6rpg, 7.4rkgpg

Filip Bundovic – 2m05 – PF – 1994 – Cedevita Zagreb

Probably the most interesting big guy in my eyes in this tournament was the 1994 born Filip Bundovic. The Croatian forward has all the tools to develop into a high-level player. He has good size, can run the floor, is left-handed and knows how to play basketball first of all. Despite some foul-trouble in nearly every game in relation with some lack of experience and tough referee calls, Bundovic will most likely excel in the future on the PF position for Croatia. He likes to play with his back to the basket and battle hard in the low post. He may not have the greatest touch but he can finish it, also on the own miss with a tip-in because of his good quick jumping ability. His footwork in the low post is good and gives him some open opportunities after a multitude of fakes.

When he is playing with his face to the basket, he has of course a large preference for going over his left hand but he can put the ball on the floor to attack the basket and finish it with the foul. On the defensive end, he is present with shot-blocking because of his length and wingspan. Bundovic has correct athletic and jumping abilities as well for European standards. Physically, he has still some way to go as he is not very muscled at the moment. But his fighting spirit and being born in a great Croatian generation around Dario Saric will certainly make him a player to observe on the highest Youth level over the next years.

Stats: 12.3ppg (44.4% 2FGs – 77.3% FTs), 6.0rpg, 1.5bpg, 12.3rkgpg

Luka Saric – 2m00 – PF – 1993 – Cedevita Zagreb

Luka Saric was the second inside player of Cedevita Zagreb who showed some nice things. The 2m00 tall PF had good positioning and some nice finishes in the paint. He can also hit the mid-range jump shot and displayed some back-to-the-basket moves here and there. He had a good shot selection and was very present on the defensive rebound. Saric fights hard in order to get the ball and is not afraid to offer his body for the dive or the offensive foul. His limited size and being a year older than Bundovic make him a less interesting potential down the road though. We will see what he will do in the next years and hopefully come back on him with more in the future.

Stats: 10.8ppg (58.1% 2FGs), 7.8rpg, 14.5rkgpg

Johann Kody – 2m07 – PF/C – 1993 – Manresa

Kody was doing a good job by taking care of the dirty work in the paint for Manresa. Not overly talented, he has some good speed and can finish the drive when being close to the basket. He has great size and body structure to build an athletic wing in the future but he has not much of basketball in his body at the moment. This lack of experience and technique can come in the next years but it might be a long process for the future. It will be good to see what he is looking like in 1-2 years in order to see what his ceiling is.

Stats: 9.8ppg (48.7% 2FGs – 78.6% FTs), 6.8rpg, 11.8rkgpg

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