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Talent Meeting in Malaga: Rafa Freire vs. Tomas Satoransky

October 24th, 2010 · No Comments

The ACB started a few weeks ago and a interesting that could be registered is that the young players get more and more minutes. We followed through the excellent ACB360 today the game between Unicaja Malaga and Cajasol Sevilla where several interesting players got a lot of minutes on both sides.Rafa Freire – G – 1m88 – 1992 – Unicaja Malaga

The Brazilian guard started right from the beginning with his aggressive play and had immediate impact on his team’s offense and defense. Out of his drives, he was at best when he stopped in mid-range to see the cutters coming from the weak side and giving them good passes for the layups. He executed his mainly right handed drives very well as he stopped in perfect triple-threat positions when he was not going to the hoop. When Freire attacked the basket though, he sometimes struggled to finish his attempts close to the hoop against the big guys but he reacted quickly enough to catch some of his own rebounds. Out of mid-range, he is more dangerous as he can also hit the jump shot around the key but he was not very successful with his floaters from the top.

His three point shot is not his first option as he bricked an open shot out of a Pick and Roll situation while he made however a nice catch and shoot three on a kick-out. He likes to make the shot fake and then attack the basket if the defender fell on it. On one play, he finished off a nice 1 dribble jump shot attacking the basket on the left but he also finished one play by doing several directions changes that opened him the way totally to the hole for the easy lay-up. Freire played nearly the whole time on the PG position but he was also used a bit on SG after he had hit some of his jumpers.

On the defensive end, Freire did an excellent job with his aggressive hands. He stole several balls and had a very nice steal on Satoransky on mid-court out of which he received a foul call in his favor after diving for the ball. He is not overly fast on lateral movements but with his athletic abilities, he did a good job against the Czech prospect. However, Freire got a bit less precise in his passing in the second half and was on the bench in the final minutes of the game. He needs to have his concentration level up high over the whole 40 minutes but as a 1992 born player, he has some time to work on this in order to improve. The Brazilian kid is certainly one of the most interesting players to watch this season in ACB and showed today that he has already the level to lead a Euroleague team as Starting Point Guard.

Stats: 14pts (5/8 2FG – 1/2 3FG – 1/2 FTs), 3rebs, 6asts, 5stls, 3tos, 24eff

Tomas Satoransky – G – 1m99 – 1991 – Cajasol Sevilla

On the Cajasol team, Tomas Satoransky from the Czech Republic is the player to watch. With his excellent size, Satoransky is currently playing only as PG which gives him a nice size advantage over most of his opponents. In the game against Unicaja, he did not use this though and never tried to post up his defender but preferring to attack the basket from the top. Out of these drives, he often came up with difficult out of balance shots after a spin move. He floated some of them in but the moves did not look under full control. He was a bit sloppy in the beginning when bringing up the ball and turning one over too easily on a mid-court 1-1 situation. Satoransky also struggled on defense against the faster guards of Unicaja as he got stuck several times in screens or was too late laterally when trying to prevent them from driving.

On the positive side, Satoransky did an excellent job to get open looks for his team mates. He sees the court very well and is doing a good job launching the fast break with precise long passes for the team mates. Also in the set play, he came up with several good looks played with either hand. He had one particular beautiful back-door pass on a cutter coming through the middle. With his impressive wingspan for a guard, he has no trouble to put the ball around the defenders for the bounce pass. Because of his long arms, his three-point shot looks a bit mechanical but the Czech kid hit an open three on a kick out. He needs to work on his shot to get more fluid mechanics.

Stats: 6pts (1/3 2FG – 1/2 3FG – 1/2 FT), 4rebs, 4asts, 3stls, 1to, 11eff

Joan Sastre – F – 2m01 – 1991 – Cajasol Sevilla

The start of Joan Sastre was a bit more of a surprise but the 2m01 tall Small Forward showed immediately that he can play with a thunderous slam on the fast break. He grabbed the ball with one hand and hammered it out of full speed over the defender. This first play gave him the necessary confidence as he attacked the basket continuously but got put out of balance on all his drives turning the ball over or coming up with a strange lay-up. Sastre can put the ball on the floor with both hands and likes to attack over the baseline. Out of one of his drives where he lost the ball on a difficult shot, he grabbed his own rebound strong and got fouled on it to go to the FT line and make both.

His three-point shot looks good despite having his feet very close to each other and being once again easy to put out of balance. Defensively, Sastre was not a major factor doing his job correctly. He came back to the court in the money time after having sit nearly the whole second half but his coach took him out again after one offense. Sastre needs to bulk up a bit and work on his body strength in order to become a more stable player. He has the necessary speed to attack the basket effectively but he can not finish at high percentages against the bigger guys at the moment.

Stats: 7pts (1/2 2FG – 1/2 3FG – 2/2 FT), 2reb, 1to, 6eff

On Thursday, ACB.com also published a long article presenting the most talented young players of this season.

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