In the last part of my review of the Reebok Eurocamp 2008 in Treviso, I will tell who were the big guys that impressed the most during the camp.
Serge Ibaka (2m09 – Power Forward – 1989 – L’Hospitalet)
Serge Ibaka was the prospect that was observed the most by the NBA scouts because of his extraordinary physical set. Standing 2m09 tall and displaying a wing span of 2m22 with a vertical jump of 85cm, Ibaka is a rare specimen for European standards. Additionally, Ibaka played only in the second Spanish League which made him even more mysterious for people coming from the United States. So what is he about?
First of all, you see that Ibaka lacks a lot of basketball experience. He jumps on nearly every fake and took some bad decision in game situations. Also in the offense, you saw him having serious trouble when starting for drives or putting the ball on the floor which caused him a lot of turnovers due to travel violations. A lot of work is ahead in this department. But on the other hand, Ibaka has already a nice offensive set to score despite being only 18 years old. He has correct shooting touch and can even hit the three point shot. He works very hard on the offensive rebound where he can go for spectacular put back dunks. In defense, he is a good shot blocker but may have to go for better choices when he needs to block and when to avoid the foul call. As Ibaka is reported to stay in Draft, he is a good catch for a long term prospect but he would probably have close to zero impact if he joins a NBA right now.
Vladimir Stimac (2m06 – Center – 1987 – Valmiera/Zalgiris Kaunas)
Vladimir Stimac is probably the worst physical specimen if you go just by his numbers. But he has basketball talent. And knows also how to use his impressive body. Looking exhausted when only entering the floor, Stimac transforms into an absolute beast and fighter under the basket. He gives always 110% and does all the dirty work you need to win a game.
Stimac has excellent positioning in the paint and he is very hard to move. He has no real moves but with his force he puts his defenders so much in trouble that he comes up often with high percentage shots or layups. His shooting touch is not too bad, he can even hit an occasional three but his game is really in the post. Additionally, Stimac displayed some very correct passing skills in a few high-low plays and he loves to play the pick and roll with his guards.
Artem Zabelin (2m17 – Center – 1988 – CSKA Moscow)
Zabelin looks like an incredible talent with fantastic size, excellent fundamentals and a great shot. However, he still has not played anywhere close to his potential on the professional level over the past years. So the camp was once again a demonstration for his skillset which includes nearly everything the modern basketball player needs.
Zabelin has an excellent shooting touch until the three point line from where he can hit several shots in a game, from all around the arc. He also showed some very impressive ball handling skills and drives in traffic which is a very rare gift for a player of his size. In defense, Zabelin is present with some great block shots which are however more the result of his great size than of a particular shot blocking timing. But the main problem that remains with Zabelin is that is nowhere close for the moment to have an impact on the professional level, which may be the result of his soft play. Having turned 20 this winter, Zabelin definitely needs some accrued playing time in order to develop his skills and become a player up to his potential.
Henk Norel (2m13 – Center – 1987 – Alicante/DKV Joventut)
Henk Norel had a very interesting camp where he showed all his potential and the result of several years of hard work in Spain. In those years, he has build a nice body which is far away from the thin kid we saw a few years ago. What has remained however is his very aggressive and quick way to run the floor.
Coming to the basketball part, Norel showed a nice arsenal of offensive scoring possibilities. Mostly acting in the post, he displayed several moves with his back to the basket. He showed nice fakes that looked well coordinated and properly used in order to score on easy layups. He can also use his speed in order to turn around his defender and go up for nice powerful dunks. Three point range is there too, but not one of the main scoring options.
Jakub Wojciechowski (2m13 – Power Forward – 1990 – Benetton Treviso)
The Polish power forward who is since quite a time active for Benetton Treviso was one of the youngest players in the camp and since he never got featured here, I come up with a short report on him. Standing 2m15 tall, Wojciechowski has an amazing shooting touch and can hit three pointers in series. His jump shot looks very sweet and is currently his main offensive weapon. As he only turned 18 this year, Wojciechowski has still a lot of upside and when he adds a bit more kilos and a more developed penetration game, he can become a very interesting face-up player on the PF position.