With all eyes on the upcoming FIBA World Championship, it is easy to miss the games that are currently played in the Qualification phase for the Eurobasket 2011. After having spoken already about Adam Hanga who is battling against relegation with Hungary, there is another young player currently stepping up, the Finnish guard Sasu Salin.
Finland is currently trying to avoid the relegation to Division B against Italy, Latvia, Montenegro and Israel and head coach Henrik Dettmann started to use a bit surprisingly the 1991 born guard Sasu Salin in his rotation. Salin played a correct U20 B Division championship where Finland finished 9th and the 1m90 tall player averaged 16.4ppg, 6.1rpg and 2.0apg. He made 25 out of 66 three-point shots which gives him a 37.9% from behind the arc.
After he was not on the roster for the two first qualification games, Salin used the opportunity that he got at home versus Israel in his Senior debut to score 11pts in just 10 minutes. Now it was difficult for Dettmann to go around him and the Honka Espoo Playboys player scored in double-figures over the next three games (15 vs. Latvia, 15 vs. Montenegro, 16 vs. Italy). However, Finland managed to win only his debut match against Israel despite the efforts of the 19 year old shooter. After the 5 games he played so far for the Finnish team, he is leading the whole Eurobasket 2011 Qualifiers in three-point shooting with 63.6% at 14/22.
Several European Teams have shown interest in signing him and the Slovenian Euroleague Team Union Olimpija Ljubljana confirmed to the local press that he is among their targets. Salin came out of a good season in Finland where he scored 9.2 points per game and shot 37.2% from behind the arc over the 48 games he played. His emergence on this level was however not a real surprise as one of his team mates Tuomas Iisalo confirmed to Basket.fi.
The funniest thing is that I didn’t have a slightest doubt. I knew Sasu would play a great game. His confidence is exceptional. It will be fun to watch what kind of success story he will become.
Also head coach Henrik Dettmann was full of praise for the young prospect from Espoo after his debut versus Israel.
That is the way he likes to play. Sasu is fully relaxed on the court at all times, and that’s what makes him such a good player.
Once the last game of the Eurobasket phase is played, Salin will probably declare what his future is up to. I have prepared a short analysis of his game from the games that I could get Video over the last days.
UPDATE (27-8-2010 17h00): A few hours after posting this article, Union Olimpija Ljubljana confirmed the signing of Sasu Salin to a three-years deal.
Video Analysis of his game during the Qualification Games.