In a first report, I will talk about the Guards that came up with the most interesting performances during the 2008 version of the Reebok Eurocamp. A second post will detail the forward while a last one will be about the Centers.
Oleksandr Kolchenko (1m96 – Shooting Guard – 1988 – Khimik)
The Ukrainian Guard did a good job during the days in Treviso and showed why he is considered as one of the best pure shooters in Europe. With his picture perfect shot from behind the arc, he came up with solid performances throughout the camp and exploded with one 22pts performance where he hit 5 out 7 3pt attempts. He has already a very well developed upper body and big arms. He can hit multiple threes in a row and has long range. Due to correct athleticism, he can also shoot over bigger guys if needed.
Kolchenko also showed several drives to the basket where he mostly tried to come until the rim. He never really showed some in-between game or any kind of out of the dribble mid-distance jump shot. But his big scoring capabilities from behind the arc and his still young age make him a sure bet for a good Euroleague role player with his shooting skills.
Mantas Kalnietis (1m96 – Point Guard – 1986 – Zalgiris Kaunas)
Kalnietis started the camp a bit shaky with some bad decisions and bad shooting. But with the days going on, the days became better for the Lithuanian PG who is automatically eligible for the NBA Draft this year. Easily one of the best athletes in his generation, Kalnietis excels in the drives to the basket where he can score in traffic with his great leaping ability and dish it of when the help comes. Still, he sometimes struggles to make the correct choice in the right moment. When he goes to the basket, he can score with both hands with good touch of the glass.
Kalnietis started to take better shots the last days of the camp and also knocked them down. His game will however remain more penetration-driven than being a huge threat from outside. Another thing to add is that Kalnietis did not display real leader skills, something he should acquire and use in such situations where he is one of the most experienced players.
Alexey Shved (1m95 – Guard – 1988 – CSKA Moscow)
Alexey Shved was once again amazing and show his incredible feel for the game of basketball. With his sweet shooting touch, he came up with several impressive games and saved the best for last and a 8/15 effort from behind the arc. He can hit the threes in every way, out of the dribble or catch and shot are no problems for him. Despite a still very thin and underdeveloped body, Shved can drive and score against the big guys using a good leaping ability. He can even go for some surprising dunks in the traffic.
What Shved is still missing is the experience. After one season on the bench for CSKA, next year Alexey needs finally to get some serious playing time on a good level in order to develop his excellent skills and fulfill his potential. A loan to another Russian team like for Ponkrashov could help Alexey to develop. But also some changes will be made in CSKA rosters so that Shved’s role could increase during the next season.
Anton Ponkrashov (2m00 – Point Guard – 1986 – Khimky Moscow)
Another player that started the camp badly was Anton Ponkrashov who forced a lot of plays. Is it some pressure he puts on himself in order to impress the NBA scouts or has his game changed that much over the season in Khimky? Because his court-vision and passing skills were nowhere to be seen and the Russian guard relied mainly on his scoring skills during the games.
Because he has excellent playmaking skills, and he knows how to use, but unfortunately, he only showed them in a few rare moments. The other time he tried to impose a game that seems not to be his instead of playing what he really excels in. You could also see him several times being very loud on the court and talking aggressively to his team mates when they did not catch a pass or did something wrong.
Jaka Klobucar (1m98 – Shooting Guard – 1987 – Geoplin Slovan)
Klobucar is a favorite of the author for several years now but that is not the only reason why I mention him here. The Slovenian guard showed once again his excellent basketball fundamentals which means nice left handed long distance shot and great court-vision and passing skills. Klobucar is perfect when he comes off screens and receives the ball from his left to catch, turn and shoot the three pointer even with a defender in his face.
Because of his great size, he has a pretty good court-vision and can go for nice two handed passes for cutters or the big guys. Neither the fastest, nor the most athletic guy in the camp, his all around physicals are great. Klobucar will probably move to a bigger team next season despite still being under contract with Geoplin Slovan in Slovenia since his youngest days.
Dusan Mladjan (1m98 – Shooting Guard – 1986 – Lugano Tigers)
One of the big surprises in the camp to me was the Swiss-Serbian guard Dusan Mladjan. Having never heard anything about him before, Mladjan showed a nice arsenal of scoring skills with 3pt range, mid range jumpers and fast breaks. On the downside, Mladjan has some problems in the ball handling area which makes him limited when it comes to drives. Still, it was a good showing by him in Treviso in general and he could be interesting for some bigger teams than his actual Swiss squad.
Rudy Mbemba (1m81 – Point Guard – 1987 – Solna Vikings)
The years go by and Rudy Mbemba is still in Treviso. And the problem is that you don’t see any real progression in Rudy’s game. Still, he is extremely athletic and has incredible speed. But what about some game control, improved shooting or playmaking duties. Mbemba will probably remain an athletic phenomenon if he does not work on his game. Because he has the tools to develop into an excellent player as he has the handles to play the point. But he needs to use his quickness in a more effective way in order to reach anywhere the potential he is.
Goran Dragic is also worth to be mentioned but he did only play one day in the camp. The game he was on the floor, he showed all what we knew from him before. Excellence in running the fast break, huge athletic skills and a long distance shot that is still not his force. However, he can be considered as having showed the best performances of the camp in the guard area together with Alexey Shved.