European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

NIJT Rome 2011 Player Scoutings (Pt.1)

March 6th, 2012 · No Comments

The Nike International Junior Tournament in Rome is already a few months back but our friend Danny Mills has sent us his scouting reports on the main players. We are of course happy to provide you his thoughts on some of the most interesting prospects in Europe. Here we got for the first part which includes KK Zagreb and Fenerbahce Ülker.

Dario Saric – 2m06 – SF/PF – 1994 – KK Zagreb

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Saric poses great height and length. He has broad shoulders in which he can add strength to with hard work in the weight room. He has good arm length and reach which helps him when attacking the basket and extending over players. Has good quickness and agility for a player his size which allows him to play nearly every position on the court at this level (1-5) for his team. Will need to add strength to his upper body to compete at the next level, whether that is in the Euroleague over in the NBA.

SHOOTING: Shows great form on his jump shot. Has a high release, which combined with his length makes it very difficult for defenders to contest. Can shoot the 3 comfortably and in transition will pull-up from deep in rhythm. Shows good footwork and balance when pulling up off the dribble and this is a part of his game which will need to become even better if he’s to be as successful at the next level when he moves out to playing only on the perimeter. Has great touch when playing closer to the basket and has an array of post moves and runners inside that he uses very well to attack the rim. Is definitely more a finesse player than a power guy inside.

POSITION OFFENSE: Saric has a very high skill level and at the junior international level he has the ability to play every position and be a dominant factor in the game. As he moves to the next level his more natural position of a tall 3 is will be where he ultimately end up playing. When on the perimeter he shows an ability to attack the basket going with both hands which makes him very hard to defend. Defenders must respect his outside shot which gives him the ability to drive inside and use his length to finish over guys. Has great vision, especially in transition. He will consistently grab the defensive rebound and push it himself up the floor looking to pass ahead to an open teammate or go coast-to-coast himself attacking the basket.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Because of his height at the junior level he is usually matched up on the 4 or 5 from the opposing team. He shows decent lateral quickness to guard penetration and uses his strength and length to compete with the bigs down low. He is a good rebounder and attacks the boards aggressively. He is really going to need to improve his foot quickness on the perimeter if he is to guard more athletic and stronger 2/3 players at the next level. With his body and length he has the potential to be a good defensive player at the next level.

MISCELLANEOUS: His great feel for the game, which makes it look as though it comes so naturally to him, really makes Saric stand out on the junior level. His versatility to bring the ball up the court as a point-forward and attack from the perimeter or post-up smaller opponents with his good patience and skill level down low make him very difficult to guard.

OVERALL RATING:Saric is considered as the best 1994 prospect in Europe and has shown his ability consistently at different tournaments over the past few years including the U19 Worlds, U18 Euros and playing for KK Zagreb in the NIJT. If he continues his development in the areas of strength in his upper body and improving his quickness so he can make the transition to play the 3 at the next level he will continue to be on the radars of every NBA team and has the potential to be a mid-late first round pick in either the 2013 or 2014 NBA Draft.

Dominik Mavra – 1m95 – PG – 1994 – KK Zagreb

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Mavra poses great size for a PG at 6’5”. He has good athleticism and a quick first step. He is fast and under control in transition with the ball in his hands. He needs to add some strength to his upper body but that will come with maturity. At the junior level his size and quickness makes him very difficult to defend at the PG position.

SHOOTING: Has good technique on his jump shot, with both his footwork and follow through. Has a quick release which allows him to get his shot off in catch and shoot closeout situations and also off the dribble. Needs to become more consistent coming off the ball screen and pulling up for a 3 when the defense goes under the screen. Is a great free throw shooter and his action is very smooth. Has potential to become a great shooter at the next level.

POSITION OFFENSE: Plays his position well creating for his teammates as well as attacking the defense when given the opportunity. Has a solid handle and can use both his left and right hand equally well which makes him difficult to defend. Really excels in transition where he shows good decision making ability in knowing when to pass ahead to the open teammate or attack the basket himself. Reads the defense well on ball screens but needs to improve his shooting ability off the screen to make him harder to defend.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Mavra uses his athletic build and strong legs to pressure the ball full-court. Has good lateral quickness to stay in front of guards at the junior level but will need to continue to develop this to make the transition to the next level. Has potential to be a good rebounding guard with his size and this is something he should look to build upon in the next few years of his development.

MISCELLANEOUS: He showed good leadership ability with his team and his play was a big reason why KK Zagreb won the NIJT Rome tournament. He has a good feel for the game and combined with his talented skill set and size he definitely has the potential to play at the next level in Europe. Really controlled the tempo of the game when he was on the court and makes good decisions if both transition and the half court set.

OVERALL RATING:Mavra needs to continue working on his offensive game to become the complete package as a PG. He has a high ceiling and with continued hard work in the weight room to become stronger and quicker he will show big improvements in the next few years. He has the potential to play at the mid-major level in college and down the road be successful at the Euroleague level. Definitely a player of the future for Croatia and it will be interesting to see how he improves in these next few years.

James Birsen – 2m05 – SG/SF – 1995 – Fenerbahce Ülker

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Birsen has great height and length at 6’9” and playing on the perimeter. He is a long, wiry athlete who has a very thin frame, both upper body and his legs. Will really need to build up his body and get stronger as he matures, is still only 16 years old, to be able to handle the physical play on both ends of the floor. Does not look fully grown yet and may still have a few inches left to grow which could make him an even more intriguing prospect.

SHOOTING: One of his strengths is his footwork on his jump shot, both in a catch and shoot and off the dribble situations. He does a good job of getting his lead foot out in front and then being able to square his feet and shoulders to the basket so he shoots an on-balance jump shot, especially when coming off pin-down screens and flaring into the corners. He shows an inconsistent follow-through and needs to really work on perfecting this to compliment his good footwork. Tends to use too much arm at times and not enough leg power when shooting from distance, which causes him to be more of a streaky shooter than a consistent one. With his height and length combined with his good footwork the potential is there for him to become a very good shooter in all situations.

POSITION/OFFENSE: He can really play all 3 perimeter positions and at the end of the game he was the one with the ball in his hands playing a point-forward type role. He possesses a solid handle with both hands for someone so tall and is able to create for himself off the dribble, even against smaller defenders. He does a good job of protecting the ball with his body and can really push the ball ahead and get a step on his defender coming off ball screen situations. Showed a technically sound pull-up jump shot off the dribble but needs to expand this to be able to go both ways and not only pulling up going left. His ability to rebound the ball on the defensive end and take it himself in transition is a huge for not only him but also his teammates as he makes good decisions in when to pass ahead and when to play in the half-court set. Showed a turn-around jump shot in the low post which is difficult to contest due to his length but needs to develop a move going towards the basket also to take advantage of his height. This should come as he continues to put on more muscle and get stronger and more confident in his game.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Defense is an area where he can really improve. He plays too high in his stance and has trouble staying in front of smaller, quicker players out on the perimeter. If he works on lowering his center of gravity so he’s lower to the ground and can move his feet quicker, combined with his length he could be a very good defender and have the ability to defend multiple positions. He also needs to improve his rebounding on both ends of the floor. This should come with added strength in his upper body.

MISCELLANEOUS: Shows a great feel for the game and even though he is so tall and wiry he plays very fluidly and in a good rhythm. He plays with maturity beyond his years and was very confident and played with a lot of poise in the final minutes of tight games.

OVERALL RATING:Birsen has a very high ceiling and endless potential. His height and length combined with his high basketball IQ and steady head in pressure situations are all great intangibles that he already shows that you cant teach. He is still only 16 and so still has quite a few more years to mature in the junior international ranks. He is definitely one of the brightest junior stars in Europe and definitely is a long-term prospect for NBA teams to keep their eyes on.

Mehmet Sanli – 2m04 – PF/C – 1995 – Fenerbahce Ülker

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Sanli is a good athlete for his size, possessing strong legs and broad shoulders. His upper body definitely needs work in the weight room to add size and strength to but with his frame he should fill out up top as he grows older. His athleticism is a result of his strong legs, which allow him to play above the rim in different situations.

SHOOTING: Did not show much range at the tournament. He has the ability to shoot the mid-range jump shot out to 17ft but has a slow action and needs space to get it off. At the moment is a lot more of a finesse player than a power one and this showed with his finishing around the rim. Does have a good soft touch but not consistently.

POSITION/OFFENSE: At the moment Sanli is quite limited offensively in terms of ways he can score the ball and create for himself. He possesses decent hands but really struggled to finish after catching around the rim, especially against stronger players who forced him away from the basket. He lacks a real ‘go to move’ in the low post and this really leads to him struggling to score and create baskets in a one on one situation. He does have quite good footwork and this should be the foundation for him to continue to work on improving his overall offensive skill set.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Uses his powerful legs to his advantage on defense and does a decent job of denying his opponent position in the low post. He does struggle though once they catch it and attack the basket as he lacks the upper body strength to contain them. Battles hard on the boards and is very active on the offensive end trying to get good position and get second chance opportunities. Building up his upper body strength will be a key to him improving defensively.

MISCELLANEOUS: Sanli is a good competitor and with his size he has the potential to build himself into a very strong and solid PF/C. He is still quite raw, especially offensively, and needs to continue to work on improving his individual post up game and range on his shot.

OVERALL RATING:He is still very young, but has some great intangibles already that are hard to teach. He needs to continue to get stronger, especially his upper body, and develop a low post game offensively so he can become more of a threat. He will be a player to keep an eye in the next few years at junior international tournaments, with his combination of size, length and athleticism he will be on Euroleague and NBA teams radars for some time.

Ayberk Güleryüz – 2m06 – PF – 1995 – Fenerbahce Ülker

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Has great size and length. Is very coordinated and athletic for someone so young and long. Needs to work on adding size to his frame but has the body to do so. Has good agility and really gets up and down the court quickly and with ease.

SHOOTING: Showed the ability to shoot the ball from 3 but is very inconsistent. With his agility and quickness he has the potential to really become a good catch and shoot SF/PF with range. Needs to improve his shot quickness and getting his feet set under him and being on balanced. Has good touch around the basket and showed an ability to finish in the paint with both his right and left hand.

POSITION/OFFENSE: Right now is used as a PF or sometimes even at the center position due to his height and limited skill set on the perimeter. He has good hand-eye coordination and with this can build on improving his perimeter skills to the point where he could move out and become a long small forward. Really runs the floor hard in transition and this is where he got most of his points. Also showed his ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket from the top of the key. He lacked good finishing around the rim due to not being under control but this is something that will come when he grows into his body and becomes stronger. Needs to work on his ball handling and consistency of his outside shot to really be effective playing at the small forward position.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: With his length and athleticism he is very active defensively in defending the ball into the low post and also in the passing lanes getting deflections. Needs to work on his lateral quickness if he’s to guard perimeter players at the next level but with his length and agility he has the potential to do so. Really attacked the offensive glass and was able to get second chance opportunities for his team by doing so. Will need to become stronger to be able to box out and rebound at the next level.

MISCELLANEOUS: Guleryuz plays with a lot of energy and passion and at this junior international level this is enough to be able to cover up for his raw offensive skills, especially on the perimeter. His athleticism combined with his size and length is a very solid foundation on which to build upon going into the future.

OVERALL RATING:With all his physical attributes he has a high ceiling and the potential to develop into a long small forward at the next level. He needs to really concentrate on making the transition out to playing the perimeter and improving his ball handling, shooting consistency and ability to attack the basket and finish against contact. At only 16 years old he has unlimited potential and is a junior player that will be on the radars of NBA scouts throughout the coming years.

Danny Mills is an Australian born coach who played at the well known Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 2002 alongside Andrew Bogut and Aleks Maric to name a few, before heading over to the US and playing his college ball at Oregon Tech. In 2009/10 he was a Graduate Assistant at the University of San Diego and is now currently an Assistant Coach with UPEA Orlandina Basket in Capo d’Orlando, Italy. He can be contacted by email at

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