Poland finished with a very surprising 4th place at the Under 16 European Championship last summer in Lithuania. This great generation is also the core of the U17 team that plays the World Championship in Hamburg. We spoke with the Polish youth coach Robert Kosciuk who gave us a great insight on the main players of the team.
Three players can be considered as the major ones on the Polish team. Robert provided us with the report prepared by the Polish Basketball Association after the U16 European Championship in Kaunas which gave detailed player scoutings on all the members of the team. The report featured strengths and weaknesses of every player and gave recommendations on which the specific coaches have to work with their players. We will see in Hamburg if the players could progress in those areas. We took the profiles of Przemyslaw Karnowski, Piotr Niedzwiedzki and Michal Michalak and Robert translated the content into English.
Przemyslaw Karnowski is one of the most promising and interesting under-the-basket players in Europe. He has the tendency to overweight because of which he had suffered already some contusions. He is on a medium technical level; on the offensive side, he has problems with positioning, stopping, accelerations and pivoting. Maneuvers in the under-the-basket area are often supported by dribble. He interacts and cooperates with his teammates in a very good way, he is also good at reading the defense and able to create a shooting position for his team mates. His main weak point is the pick and roll defense. He should practice motor skills, improve offensive and defensive technical basics, work on attacking with his back to the basket without dribbling, improve the shooting mechanics to go for a straight arm, learn pick and roll defense and work on his running to improve his fast break attack habits as a first trailer.
Piotr Niedzwiedzki is one of the team leaders with unbelievable body parameters and motor. His technique is not on the highest level, he has some problems with defensive and offensive fundamentals. However he is an open-minded player, he plays both in the under-the-basket and outside area. The player does not run like an atom (SIC). As a first trailer he does not run up to the basket, he stops in the outside area waiting for the set attack. In the defense, he bases most of the game on shot blocking attempts. His training recommendations are working on stamina, improving attack and defense technical base, working on help defense in the paint, improving help and rotation defense, running the fast break action along with the fight for position under the basket.
Michal Michalak is the leader and the Capitan of the team. He is the best shooter in the team. In important moments, this player is able to take the responsibility on himself also by finishing successfully decisive and final actions. He runs the fast break, solves correctly the situations of superiority over other players. He successfully worked on the 1-on-1 situations with and without the ball. He seems to be a perspective player. He needs to work on dribbling in contact with defender, change his passing technique after penetration and improve individual defense basics.
Poland played this week two test games versus the Chinese U17 National Team. On the 26th June, Poland lost despite 33pts of Mateusz Pontika 81-88 but they took their revenge one day later 77-66 with 21pts of Michal Michalak.
Official Roster for Poland
Michal Michalak – 1m94 – Guard – 1993 – LKS Lodz
Filip Matczak – 1m84 – Guard – 1993 – Zastal ZG
Przemyslaw Karnowski – 2m13 – Center – 1993 – MMKS Siden
Piotr Niedźwiedzki – 2m10 – Forward – 1993 – Obiekty Wroclaw
Grzegorz Grochowski – 1m76 – Guard – 1993 – Stal SW
Pawel Śpica – 1m92 – Guard – 1993 – OSSM Wroclaw
Daniel Szymkiewicz – 1m92 – Guard – 1994 – Obiekty Wroclaw
Lukasz Bonarek – 2m03 – Forward – 1993 – Znicz Basket
Jakub Koelner – 1m84 – Guard – 1993 – Obiekty Wroclas
Dawid Kołakowski – 2m06 – Center – 1993
Tomasz Gielo – 2m01 – Forward – 1993 – AZS Szczecin
Mateusz Pontika – 1m95 – Guard – 1993
Robert Kosciuk works as a Youth Coach in Poland, mainly in the region of Lower Silesia. He is a former Polish National Team player and has played on the highest Polish level for several years. He won the Polish Championship and Cup.
Poland qualified for the U17 World Championship by finishing fourth in the U16 European Championship 2009 in Kaunas. They lost 63-70 in the semifinals against Lithuania. Find here my report on the U16 European Championships 2009.