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Nordic Championships: U18 Review

May 24th, 2010 · 2 Comments

The Nordic Championships 2010 are now over for one week so it was about time to go through the different player scoutings. We will start today with the review of the most talented U18 players that were present in Solna.

William Magarity – 2m07 – Forward – 1993 – Norrköping

After a slow start into the tournament, William Magarity took over the lead for the Swedish U18 team and showed a really interesting skill set over the three days where we could see him. Magarity played mainly on the PF position for Sweden but his future most likely will be on the SF. With his good fundamentals, the ability to put the ball on the floor and great mid-range game, he was among the most interesting players of the whole tournament.

The major part of Magarity’s game on offense is based around his jump shot. He can take it in catch and shoot fashion with a nice quick release but also take the pull-up jump shot out of the hard strong dribble of both hands. When he puts the ball on the floor, it is not really a drive but more the action of creating the necessary space for the shot or the pass as Magarity seems to be an excellent passer as well. He can also hit the three point shot, especially from the corner but he did not use this that much during the days in Solna preferring to play around the key.

Magarity did also a good job as safety man against the press as he is good passing target with his great size and court-vision. As he has the necessary ball handling, he can also break the press with one or two aggressive dribbles. On the negative side, it looks like Magarity seems not to be the most explosive player when it comes to leaping ability. Additionally, as he started the tournament pretty slow, there may be some ups and downs in his game over a longer period. But all this is not a major concern if you consider his overall talent level.

Defensively, Magarity is an excellent shot blocker with great timing and correct athletic abilities. He is doing his job in the defensive rebound without being a fantastic player in this compartment of the game. He has however good balance in the air and is under control even when being pushed around or when he wants to finish in traffic with a foul. Magarity excels in shot blocking where he was one of the best players of the whole tournament, especially in one-on-one situations. The forward will also go to the lower block when he is defended by a smaller player and can finish the back to the basket play with a two handed dunk.

In general, Magarity is a very elegant and smooth player that seems to understand the game very well. He is raised in a Basketball family with his father having been a professional and a younger sister that seems to be a good talent as well. With the necessary work ethic and good career choices ahead, Magarity has at least Euroleague talent at the moment as he was the best player of the Swedish team despite being one year younger than the competition. With Sweden U18 playing the A Division this summer in Vilnius, it will be a major test for the  talented Swedish 1993 generation on the highest European Youth level.

Stats: 13.0ppg (51.9% 2FG – 50.0% 3FG – 60.0% FTs), 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, 2.6bpg

Jonathan Person – 1m90 – Guard – 1993 – Virtus Bologna

After we have seen Person with the Swedish U16 team last summer mostly in a role as scoring PG, the Virtus Bologna player has really made a step forward to become a real Point Guard. He may still struggle sometimes in his shooting selection or in the game speed control, but Person has clearly progressed in the setting up of good positions for his team mates. While his three point shoot looks still largely suspect, his mid-range jump shot is falling at good percentages right now. He feels very comfortable with it as he even goes for the mid-range shot in the fast break.

But the main offensive asset of Person remains his very quick first step that allows him to pass his defender easily. Out of his drives, he creates a lot of open positions for his team mates that he can connect with. When he goes totally to the basket, he did not really finish great when being pushed by stronger players so that during the tournament, he tried to finish more by finesse plays like the high layup with the left hand. With his speed changes, he puts his defenders in trouble as well and can get some open looks for himself as well.

Person is physically a pretty strong player and he also goes on a regular basis to the low post when being defended by a smaller or less physical opponent. He does not have any specific moves down there but he can score it without any problems because of his athletic and physical presence. The PG needs however to really improve his long distance shot to become more dangerous from outside and not become a player that will be let totally open behind the three point line. With a correct shot from behind the arc, he can use even more his excellent first step to attack the defense and become an highly dangerous offensive threat in the future. Person is also only born in 1993 and has one more year to go on the U18 level.

Stats: 9.2ppg (57.1% 2FG – 16.7% 3FG – 91.7% FTs), 5.2rpg, 5.6apg, 2.0spg, 0.6bpg

Viktor Gaddefors – 2m00 – Forward – 1992 – Uppsala

Clearly the most physical player on the Swedish team, Gaddefors sometimes looked like he wanted to do too much. The SF from Uppsala has in fact all the assets you need to become a high-level player: athletic abilities, physically strong, ball handling and a correct shot. Even if he does sometimes go for the too complicated stuff, Gaddefors is certainly a highly interesting prospect for the future.

The forward is a really aggressive player that likes to put the ball on the floor to attack the basket hard with either hand. Out of these drives, he is still able to play the nice pass for the cutter or the open big man. He reads what the defense gives him and knows what he wants to do, unfortunately even before he sees what the defense gives him at moments. His offensive game is based around his strong drives out of which he also has a really interesting mid-range game as he can take the balanced shot out of full speed or after a spin. He has no problems to score with both hands when being close to the basket and go for hand changes in his drives to protect the ball against the defense.

Gaddefors is a good athlete for European standards and is not afraid to dunk the ball hard in traffic. But as mentioned above already, he sometimes tries to go for the difficult “Circus shot” instead of simply going hard for the rim and try to get the foul. On the defensive end, he is a nice ball stealer, especially in the passing lanes and an excellent shot blocker for a Small Forward where he can display his good leaping abilities.

Stats: 12.8ppg (56.8% 2FG – 25.0% 3FG – 76.9% FTs), 3.4rpg, 2.2apg, 1.6spg, 0.8bpg

Marcus Eriksson – 1m96 – Shooting Guard – 1993 – Uppsala/Manresa

The Swedish guard showed once again what an incredible shooting talent he is. His three-point shots look like a lay-up for the average basketball player, so smooth and so easy and you always have the impression that the ball will go through the net despite barley any rotation on the flying ball. All this comes despite a shot that is taken in front of the head and mechanics that do not look perfect and a body structure that is still pretty skinny. However, Eriksson is certainly one of the most deadly shooters in current European Youth Basketball and this is certainly one of the reasons why Suzuki Manresa is so high on him and brings him over to Spain.

The main offensive threat coming from Eriksson is his three point shot, especially from the corner in catch and shoot situations where he has the time to get the feet set. But he can also nail it out of the drive or in step-back situations. He is able to read what the defensive side gives him and knows how to put the ball on the floor when necessary with both hands. He can create a mid-range jump shot for himself but also stop in the triple-threat position to see what the defense and his team mates cutting give him. In one of these situations after a left handed drive, he finished with a nice right handed jump hook from the top.

The question mark on Eriksson is how he can develop physically. Right now, he is really skinny and despite being correctly athletic, there are some doubts on his potential to play on the professional level. With his thin frame, there are some doubts how he will react when being defended really physically. The lack of aggressiveness when attacking the basket (he had 0 FTs over the whole tournament) puts him into a simple shooting specialist role as on the defensive end, he is not known for being a stopper.

Stats: 11.4ppg (40.0% 2FG – 48.4% 3FG – 0/0 FTs), 2.0rpg

Sebastian Norman – 2m05 – Center – 1992 – Uppsala

Norman is a physically strong but not very explosive Center player who has his advantages when playing on the floor instead of above the rim. He can score inside the paint with the jump hook or through the nice mid-range jump shot. He comes up with the occasional three point shot as his shooting mechanics are really nice and Norman’s future will probably be in a role of jump-shooting inside player. His lack of athletic abilities and speed on both ends of the floor will probably hinder him from moving to the PF position in the future.

The Center from Uppsala is an interesting passer, like most of the Swedish big men, and he sees the cutters pretty well from the high post. With his limited size, he will certainly play a lot on step-outs in the future in order to use his strengths against more athletic players by bringing them up to the three point line. It will be interesting to follow his development in the future to see what he can do out of his skill set.

Stats: 9.4ppg (40.0% 2FG – 50.0% 3FG – 80.0% FTs), 3.8rpg, 1.6apg

Chris-Ebou Ndow – 1m96 – Forward – 1993 – Gimle

For the poor Norwegian team, it was difficult to take somebody out but Chris-Ebou Ndow was probably the only player worth to talk about right now. Even if his numbers do not look good, Ndow showed some interesting tools to work with in the future and being born in 1993 gives him some potential upside. But he needs to move to a more structured basketball environment than Norway in order to work on this.

The Norwegian forward has good athletic abilities and can finish his drives with a dunk versus defense. His hands seem to be good as well as he finished some plays with nice finger rolls. He understands the game quite a bit as he recognizes when going to the low post or whom to pass the ball in certain situations. His biggest potential is however on the defensive end as he has the necessary lateral speed to become a stopper on the wing. Additionally, he sees when to make a foul to stop the break for example and he has really quick hands to steal the ball on the pass.

Stats: 8.8ppg (60.0% 2FG – 47.8% FTs), 4.0rpg, 3.3topg

Osku Heinonen – 1m94 – Guard – 1992 – Tampereen Pyrintö

The Finnish SG played a lot of minutes on the SF position where his main task was to be a scorer, especially from behind the three point line. With his quick release and good confidence in his abilities, Heinonen was on the base of a multitude of Finnish scoring runs that were initiated through his presence on the court. All of his moves look highly aggressive; when he puts the ball on the floor, he looks like he wants to go dunk the ball and his shot is always in full extension and a jump shot with good height.

Heinonen has an interesting potential to become a scoring SG in the future and be more than just a three point shooter. He can finish the plays close to the basket also in difficult situations with the up and under layup for example. With the necessary will and work to improve, Heinonen will for sure be a major factor in the Finnish league shortly but may also be interesting on the professional level in the next years.

Stats: 16.6ppg (57.1% 2FG – 37.5% 3FG – 70.0% FTs), 3.4rpg

Joonas Caven – 2m03 – Forward – 1993 – Tampereen Pyrintö

Caven was probably the most interesting player for the Finnish team on a long-term perspective. The Forward has good size with 2m03 and may still be growing and played his minutes mainly on the SF position despite a short Finnish U18 team in general. He can put the ball on the floor nicely and has correct footwork to go for example for the quick spin move on the left handed penetration and finish of the right hand afterwards. His fundamentals look correct and he seems to understand the game quite well. He can also hit the three point shot from the corner as well as coming of the screen and draws of course the comparisons with Hanno Möttölä in Finland.

On the other hand, Caven looked like the softest of all the players in the highly aggressive Finnish team. His physical presence did not help him as he is rather long and thin (he looks taller than the announced 2m03) and gets pushed around in the paint on rebounding situations. This was probably one of the reasons why he did not see a lot of minutes throughout the tournament but he was also a year younger than the competition.

Stats: 5.7ppg (50.0% 2FG – 42.9% 3FG), 1.0rpg

Haukur Palsson – 1m98 – Forward – 1992 – Maryland

Haukur Palsson was certainly the most interesting player from the Icelandic team and it was also a good occasion to see him back on European soil after his year in the United States. The first thing that you see is that Palsson has gained in muscles over the last months. He became a lot more physical in his appearance but this translates also to the court. On the one hand, he looks to be a little slower than he was before but he can finish now a lot of plays close to the basket when being fouled or put out of balance.

Palsson likes to attack the basket with his left hand and tries to go until the rim with his attempts. He prefers though to finish with the right hand out of the drives when he goes for the floater from mid-range for example. He can also go for the nice pull-up jump shot which he can finish with the foul. With his good footwork, you can see him play the spin move in traffic and still be under control to finish the play with a strong layup. The Icelandic can also hit the three point shot but it did not look like he was on fire over the days in Sweden. His late arrival from the United States (2hrs before the first game) may be one of the reasons for this. But his excellent accuracy from the FT line shows that he should be able to correct his percentages from behind the arc.

Defensively, Palsson did a good job, especially in the rebounding area where he was present and protected the ball very well when grabbing it. He can also take the charge in the lane and with his large body is definitely a good target for the offensive players rushing their drive. He played also over certain moments at the top of a 3-2 zone for his team while he needed to defend often the inside players. Out of defensive rebound situations, Palsson can put the ball on the floor to run the break and finish it either himself or giving the nice dish to one of his team mates. It will be highly interesting to see what he is able to do with Maryland next season in the strong ACC.

Stats: 23.8ppg (55.4 2FG – 26.9% 3FG – 83.7% FTs), 5.6rpg, 2.8apg, 4.4topg, 2.4spg

Kristofer Acox – 1m95 – Power Forward – 1993 – KR

The 1993 born Acox was probably one of the shortest inside players of the tournament but what an effort and athletic abilities for this 1993 born. Acox was constantly working on rebound situations and with his above average leaping skills, he was a danger in shot blocking and offensive rebounding situations. He showed also good speed running the court and quite good body strength in the air when being pushed. But on the other hand, his pure basketball skills look very limited.

Not only that Acox has no serious shot to talk about, he is also pretty under developed when it comes to basketball understanding and ball handling. Acox finishes mainly very close to the basket with layups or dunks and does this really well but he does not go outside to take the shot as he knows that the chances to make it are poor. He is extremely raw in all of his offensive game but this gives him some interesting progress margin for the future. If he can get coaching and teaching over the next years to understand the game better and learn the necessary technique, he might be a player to watch. If not, he may remain an athletic freak that will have some impact in the Icelandic league because of his above average physical abilities.

Stats: 14.0ppg (64.0% 2FG – 33.3% FTs), 8.4rpg

Kevin Larsen – 2m04 – Center – 1993 – Stevnsgade

The Danish inside player came of an excellent U16 European Championship last summer where he was crowned top rebounder of the competition but also managed to gain a spot on the A Division for Denmark U16 this summer. Larsen is a rather physical player who is doing his main damage inside the paint. Even if he looks to have not the best hands, he scored at an interesting 57.6% from the two point area but missing nearly half of his free-throws when being on the charity stripe.

Larsen showed excellent presence on the rebound, mainly on the defensive end. Offensively, he looks a bit slow in his execution and with his limited size, he may need to develop an outside game to become a serious prospect for the higher European level. He can hit the mid-range jump shot when being open and receiving the ball in catch-and-shoot situations and feels rather comfortable with this option as he nailed one down when the game was close. Larsen needs some polish on his low post moves as he nearly has any except the jump hook where he struggled to be consistent as it could go for an airball or a basket from any distance. He can pass the ball out of the post though to the opposing side which gives him an additional option if he is used as a low-post player. He has another year left on the U18 level and it will be interesting to see what he can do this summer with the National Team as he seems to have progressed on his offensive game since last year if you check just the stats of the tournaments.

Stats: 18.2ppg (57.6% 2FG – 55.6% FTs), 8.0rpg, 2.0spg, 0.6bpg

Niels Andreasen – 1m92 – Guard – 1992 – TF Naestved

Andreasen was the main scorer on the wing for the Danish U18 team that has reached the finals of the U18 Nordic Championships. He can hit the three point shot in catch-and-shoot situations despite being a bit slow in his execution. In general, he has good speed for the SG position and reads very well where to go off the ball to create good positions for himself for the shot or the back door cut.

The guard from Naestved can also hit the jump shot out of the dribble in mid-range but is not overly aggressive in trying to get close to the rim to finish with a layup. In addition, he had some strange decisions on the break where he preferred to finish with a mid-range jump shot instead of attacking the basket to finish closer.

Stats: 10.4ppg (46.9% 2FG – 42.9% 3FG), 2.6rpg, 2.4spg All-Tournament Team

Check below the All-Tournament Team of the U18 Nordic Championships 2010.

PG – Jonathan Person (Sweden)

SG – Haukur Palsson (Iceland)

SF – Viktor Gaddefors (Sweden)

PF – William Magarity (Sweden)

C – Kevin Larsen (Denmark)

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