When going over the scorer rankings in Europe, you mostly see either US-born or other experienced players at the top. Not so in Estonia were the local EMKL league is having the youngest top scorer of a first division in Europe with Rannar Raap. The 1992 born player from Parnu currently averages 19.9ppg after 8 games and leads his extremely young team (the oldest player being born in 1987) to a 2-6 record.Rannar Raap – 1m88 – SG/PG – 1992 – Parnu
We had the chance to follow Raap on tape during the U18 European Championship of Division B 2010 with the Estonian National Team. They finished at a good 5th place which meant however a non-qualification for the A Division. Rannar Raap finished that tournament with 14.1ppg (49.3% 2FGs – 38.5% 3FGs – 63.8% FTs), 4.4rpg, 2.6apg and 2.4spg playing however only 26.5 minutes per game and having had some ups and downs during the event.
Rannar Raap is an athletically and physically strong combo-guard who likes to attack the basket hard with either hand. He likes to go on his left hand but prefers to finish on his stronger right hand. He has a real scorer mentality and always tries to go hard for the basket. With his good athletic skills, he can also go for the dunk in traffic despite his although limited height with only 1m88. When attacking the basket, Raap needs to improve the finish with the left hand as he does not feel really secure doing this when attacking the rim. He prefers to finish with the right hand or with both handed-layups from the left side.
Out of the dribble, he can also come up with the mid-range jump shot but his overall shooting skills are another part of his game that he needs to develop. His game is not really based on the long-distance shot at the moment; he only took 10 shots from behind the arc compared to 93 two-point field goal attempts in the first 8 games of the season. In order to become more effective, Raap needs to improve his shot accuracy and his mechanics in order to become more regular. He remembers me a bit of the young Marko Milic who was “over-muscled” and had problems to shot the ball correctly. This is particularly important for his free-throw shooting which he should be able to improve especially as he goes to the line very often. He averages more than 8FT attempts this season so far but could only connect 66.7% of his shots from the charity stripe.
Despite playing against professionals in the Estonian league, Raap is very present in the defensive rebound where he uses his good physical built and leaping abilities to grab nearly 5 boards per game. On the defensive end, the Parnu player has quick hands and gets a good amount of steals on the man. He finishes the breaks with nice two handed dunks as well. With his current scoring in the Estonian league, he should probably get offers from a larger team for next season. The move to a Baltic League Club is certainly the next step for him.
Rain Veideman – 1m93 – SG/PG – 1991 – Tartu Rock
Another Estonian player to watch this season is the 1991 born Rain Veideman. He plays for the much stronger Tartu Rock team that also competes in the Baltic League. The 1m93 tall guard comes of a freshly signed 3-years deal with the Estonian powerhouse after an interesting season with Rakvere Tarvas in 2009/2010. Veideman had already some good impact with the Senior National Team this summer where he scored 10.0ppg in Division B games. Now, he nearly maintained his numbers with Tartu Rock as well as he is averaging 11.9ppg in the Baltic League and 12.0ppg in the Estonian League.
Veideman is a good shooter with interesting range (despite not hitting his shots at the moment), has promising passing skills and court-vision and is mainly used as a combo-guard at the moment. The 1m93 tall player has the ability to finish strong around the basket and can also go for the jump shot out his penetration plays.
Another player that I scouted with the U18 Estonian National Team during the U18 European Championship of Division B but is not yet active on the Senior level is Janari Joesaar. The 1m97 tall forward played a lot on the PF position but with his abilities, he should be able to move to the SF or even the SG spot in the future. Joesaar, who was born in December 1993 in Finland, is an athletic player with an interesting wingspan but a still a bit raw offensive skill set. He has however nice physical abilities to build upon as he can handle the ball and finish his drives against defense and working on a jump-shot that is improving. His verticality helps him to be a very good presence in the rebounding area, especially on the offensive end.