With the increasing number of players scouted during the U18 European Championship, the scoutings on several players may be a bit short but I tried to get more profiles in the articles this time which also explains the delays in bringing them online. I hope you enjoy the article however. My comments on the big guys will follow during the weekend hopefully.
Davis Bertans – 2m05 – SF – 1992 – DSN Riga
After having been a bit off the radar over the last years, the younger brother of Dairis Bertans may soon become the player to follow in the family. Displaying excellent size to play on the wing with 2m05 and excellent athletic abilities, Bertans was a deserving All-Tournament team member of the U18 European Championship this summer and one of the main reasons for the Bronze Medal earned by Latvia. With his very long and fluid moves, Bertans was the number one offensive option on the wing and you could see the improvements after a year of senior basketball.
Bertans first of all likes to take the shot, out of the dribble, on catch and shoot situations or even on the fast break. He has range up to the new 3pt line and with his perfectly looking shooting mechanics, he is definitely a high-level prospect for the future. All of his moves are quickly executed, so is his release. His ball handling is good for a player of his size and he is using this to attack the basket, mainly with his right hand. He needs to improve his left handed dribbling as you could see him using his right hand for going left. This did not hinder him though to go up for the perfect three-point shot and make it out of the dribble. The Latvian forward goes maybe a bit too much for the long distance shot as he gets easily excited after having hit one or two shots. However, he is able to hit several threes in series which makes him particularly dangerous to be the initiator of game-deciding series.
Out of his penetrations, he can play the dish for his team mates. He does not look selfish in his decisions and likes to play the behind the back pass as well. Bertans can also bring up the ball if needed as his excellent mobility helps him to surround defenders on the press with the ball. Sometimes he goes for some difficult plays and forces the shots a bit. This should not be a major problem for him when gaining more experience. With his athletic skills, Bertans is very present on shot blocking, where he likes to come from the help side. He is also going hard to the offensive glass and score some baskets on put backs or by creating second chances. It will be interesting to see for which team Bertans will play next season. According to the rumor mill, several Euroleague teams are interested in him but this step may be a bit early for him as he needs to bulk up as he is pretty thin for his size.
The Video below is taken from the 2009/2010 games.
Stats: 14.8ppg (42.9% 2FGs – 37.9% 3FGs), 7.7rpg, 1.1apg, 1.6bpg, 1.3topg
Linos Chrysikopoulos – 2m03 – SF/PF/PG – 1992 – Aris Thessanloniki
One of the most versatile and interesting players of the whole tournament was of course the Greek Linos Chrysikopoulos. Being able to play multiple positions because of his height, court-vision, Basketball IQ and athletic abilities, the Aris Thessaloniki player was nearly alone the reason for the 8th place of the Greek team. It is difficult to know where to start when talking about Chrysikopoulos as he is doing so many things well on the court and looks elegant in doing so additionally.
Cleary, the 2m03 tall player is at his best when having the ball in his hands. A bit similar to Dario Saric, he can create a lot for himself or his team mates once starting to attack the basket which he can do with both hands. Out of the left handed drive, he can go for the right handed pass at nice speed but also finish on the running hook shot. With his athletic skills, he can finish with the dunk in traffic when needed or go for the high floater from the top. When posting up his defender, he can finish on the fade away jump shot or the jump hook depending on the situation. He is very active in rebounding situations on both ends of the court as well.
His long distance shot is currently not a major threat yet but he showed that he can nail the three pointer out of Pick and Roll situations for example. Chrysikopoulos needs to have the ball in his hands, he gets nervous when the game is not coming to him. In those situations, he wants to force the destiny a bit too much and risks the turnover or the offensive foul call as he wants to impose himself too much. Next to all his offensive potential, Chrysikopoulos may even be the bigger prospect on the defensive end. With his long arms and good lateral speed, he can defend every position from 1 to 4. He has a fantastic block shot timing and reads the passing lanes well too.
Stats: 17.0ppg (49.1% 2FGs – 27.3% 3FGs), 8.0rpg, 2.6apg, 1.7spg, 2.7bpg 3.4topg
Sergey Karasev – 2m00 – SF/SG – 1993 – Triumph Lyubertsy
The Russian forward was one of the main players for the Silver-Medal team. Karasev, who mainly played the Small Forward position showed an interesting mix of inside/outside game together with good athletic abilities for European standards. Karasev had impressive shooting percentages from inside the arc but struggled from behind the line over the tournament. The 2m00 tall player from Lyubertsy did some nice damage when attacking the basket where he used his athletic skills to finish close to the basket. He is not afraid to go for the big dunk either, he had one terrific slam against France in the Quarter-Finals for example.
His shooting touch looks nice, he finished some of his drives with difficult floaters over the defense. He can hit the three-point shot from everywhere around the arc and mainly in catch-and-shoot situations. On defense, he knows how to use his leaping ability to reject several shots where he showed good timing for the block. Despite playing nearly thirty minutes per game, Karasev only turned the ball over 1.8 times per game which is quite a good result. He displays excellent size for playing the SF position and may even get some minutes in the future as scoring SG. It looks like he could already get minutes with the Triumph Lyubertsy Senior team next season which would of course help him a lot in his development.
Stats: 12.4ppg (65.2% 2FGs – 24.0% 3FGs), 4.1rpg, 1.6spg, 0.6bpg
Vladislav Trushkin – 2m00 – PF/SF – 1993 – Spartak Vidnoe
Another player of the highly talented 1993 generation from Russia is Vladislav Trushkin. Trushkin was used mainly as PF for the U18 team, a position for which he is of course a bit undersized for the professional level. When playing in the low post, he mainly used his athletic abilities and jump hook in order to score. From outside, Trushkin was able to score on multiple attempts as he shot 34.5% from behind the arc. Defensively, the 2m00 tall player was very present as he was among the best rebounders of the team. He has a good feeling on the defensive end and came up with a good amount of steals and block shots.
On offense, he can put the ball on the floor to attack the basket but he has not the quickest first step in order to play the drive. His three-point shot looks really nice and he also displays good range. He fights hard on the offensive rebound in order to create second chances for his team. Additionally, he showed some nice passes on the back door cuts without being overly creative though. Trushkin will have to improve his drive in order to become a prospect on the SF position in the future.
Stats: 13.1ppg (65.0% 2FGs – 34.5% 3FGs), 6.3rpg, 2.0spg, 1.2bpg
Dario Saric – 2m04 – SF/PF/PG – 1994 – KK Zagreb
It has only been a few months since I saw Saric for the last time in Mannheim during the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament but he looks already a lot older and more mature. Gone is the moustache and the whining, Saric seems to have grown a bit more both physically and mentally. Next to those obvious developments, his game is also improving knowing that he was two years younger than the competition. Saric is becoming more and more a match-up nightmare for the opponents as he is developing quite an interesting back to the basket game which he uses when he is defended by smaller players. When guarded by the taller or more physical defenders, he steps out and plays them on the drive. He is still finding when to go inside or outside but overall, he is on the right track. The question remains which position will be his future as he is not playing as a full time wing nor is he spending multiple minutes on the PG. Because Saric looks already now as he is the player who needs to have the ball in his hands in order to create for himself or his team mates.
When attacking the basket from outside, Saric likes to start the drive with several dribbles in order to get the necessary speed. He sometimes goes for a bit too much cross-over dribbles but he mainly can beat his defender. Out of the drives, he goes either with very long steps until the basket for the finish or can also kick it out to the waiting shooters. He prefers the right handed finish, even when it is tougher or coming of the left handed drive but it does not look like he tries to avoid the lefty finish. The Croatian uses a lot of different fakes in order to get open or for putting the defense in trouble and create out of that. He remains a bit turnover-prone though but this is the result of him dominating the ball so much on offense. Saric is present on rebounding situation where he uses his size nicely. The same counts for the shot blocks where he shows the right feeling, especially against smaller players. He needs to improve his shots out of the dribble, especially from long range in order to become an even more highly-versatile player in the future. Being only 16 years-old is of course a good starting point with the rest of his basketball skills being way above average for a player of his age.
Stats: 12.8ppg (56.5% 2FGs – 42.1% 3FGs), 5.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.4spg, 0.7bpg, 3.0topg
Hugo Invernizzi – 1m96 – SF/SG – 1993 – INSEP
The French forward was the main outside shooter together with Ceci for “les Bleus”. However, Invernizzi who is still a year younger than the competition, was largely using his three-point shot over the two point attempts. He was used in kick-out situations to score from long distance mainly. Invernizzi rarely attacked the basket but he showed occasionally that he is able to play the drive with both hands and either go for the finish or draw the foul of the defense. The INSEP player is rather strong physically already which he can use to help out in rebound situations. The 1m96 tall player can go for the shot out of the dribble and hit it even from the new three-point line. He looks to prefer the catch and shoot situations with his feet set over the running through the screens and going up for the immediate jumper.
Stats: 8.7ppg (5/11 2FGs – 20/64 FGs), 3.0rpg
Janis Timma – 2m01 – SF – 1992 – DSN Riga
Another important factor in the Latvian game was Jannis Timma. The athletic forward was used mainly in a scoring role but had also some impact in defense as he was among the best stealers of the team. Timma likes to attack the basket on the drive and can score the difficult layups under pressure. He is also able to knock down the long distance shot. However, he is forcing his own shots too much and is turnover prone or going for a bad shot selection at moments. But his high energy level and quick jumps make him a very valuable player on this level.
The Video below is taken from the 2009/2010 games.
Stats: 11.2ppg (46.7% 2FGs – 31.9% 3FGs), 4.0rpg, 2.1topg, 1.8spg
Anastasios Antonakis – 2m03 – SF – 1992 – AEK Athens
Another Greek player who had an interesting tournament was Anastasios Antonakis. He was so important for the Greek team that he lead the whole tournament in minutes played. Without being overly talented or athletic, Antonakis looks like he has understood the game pretty well. He reads what the defense gives him and uses it at its best. He is highly present in the rebound but a surprising passer as well for his size. He can hit the occasional three-point shot but also post up his defender and finish for example on the left handed jump hook. He is the kind of player that you need on your team in order to get a positive result.
Stats: 9.9ppg (43.6% 2FGs – 26.5% 3FGs), 6.3rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, 0.7bpg
Edgaras Ulanovas – 1m99 – SF/SG – 1992 – Zalgiris Kaunas
The Lithuanian forward played an interesting tournament this summer without being outstanding but he was a very important piece of the Gold Medal team. The left handed player likes to attack the basket and score with contact. However, he mainly fires from outside from where he was not with the best percentages though (he scored only 1/12 over the last three games and scored 7 of his 12 made threes in two games). His game looked more effective when he attacked the basket with his left where he was a lot more dangerous. Additionally, he was quite an interesting player on the defensive end where he could be used to stop the athletic wing players.
Stats: 7.9ppg (54.2% 2FGs – 12/39 3FGs), 3.7rpg
Zygimantas Skucas – 2m00 – SF– 1992 – Sabonis Basketbal School
The Small Forward had his glory day when he made the decisive rebound and free-throw in the semi-final against Serbia and qualified Lithuania for the Final. Next to that, you have an aggressive player who likes to attack the basket by attacking the gaps or posting up his defender. He has correct athletic abilities and is more effective when playing close to the basket than from long distance. Skucas helps on the rebound on both ends of the court but his lack of precision from behind the arc will probably hinder him from playing at the SG or SF position on the professional level.
Stats: 8.3ppg (65.7% 2FGs – 25.0% 3FGs), 5.1rpg
Mateusz Ponitka – 1m96 – SG/SF – 1993 – Polonia 2011
After having played already an excellent U17 World Championship, the Polish forward showed once again his excellent scoring skills during the games I followed in Lithuania. Ponitka is highly effective from behind the arc where he can win a game on his own but he is also very dangerous from mid-range. He can stop his drives and go up for the jump shot straight without being out of balance. The Polish player can attack the basket and likes to come of screens in order to get the ball and immediately create the open spot for himself or his team mate.
He reads what the defense gives him and adapts his cuts and running ways according to that. Ponitka can go up for the quick shot when the time is running down as he has a really fast release. Defensively, he is also very present as he reads the passing lanes very well and jumps into the steals. He is present as a vocal guy on defense as well. If there is something that Ponitka can improve, then it is the precision in getting himself open where he sometimes goes too much for the speed instead of the precision of his running ways.
Stats: 13.6ppg (40.9% 2FGs – 47.9% 3FGs), 4.0rpg, 1.7spg, 3.1topg
Bogdan Bogdanovic – 1m97 – SF/SG – 1992 – KK Zitko
Bogdan Bogdanovic was the only Serbian wing player able to create his own shot. I was wondering why he mainly came from the bench as he was always very active, showed some hustle and was the main scoring option for his team. Bogdanovic maybe went a bit too much for the long distance option as he was particularly effective from mid-range, especially out of the drive as his jump shot look perfect nearly on every attempt even when being under defensive pressure or coming of the spin. When attacking the basket, he used some long steps in order to get close to the rim to finish.
Stats: 10.2ppg (51.4% 2FGs – 26.2% 3FGs), 5.3rpg, 1.3spg, 0.6bpg
Viktor Gaddefors – 2m00 – SF/SG– 1992 – Uppsala/Virtus Bologna
The Swedish forward showed his typical aggressive playing style looking always to be at 100% but also canalize to control his effort. Gaddefors excels when playing in a high-speed team but seems sometimes a bit lost against set defense. He has a good first step in order to attack the basket but he rarely stops in order to go up for the mid-range jump shot. He uses some good fakes on the drive though in order to get until the rim where he can finish with defense on him. Gaddefors seems to be a tough player who is not afraid to use his body on both ends of the floor.
Stats: 9.2ppg (41.3% 2FGs – 20.0% 3FGs), 4.1rpg, 3.2topg
Samir Ali Hussein – 1m98 – PF/SF– 1992 – BG Lulea
Samir Ali is certainly not the player oozing anyone with potential but what the Iraq born forward showed in the game that I saw was somehow interesting. Despite a terrible shot selection, Ali had a major impact on his team’s game as he was present with an enormous heart, hustling like crazy and being a surprising passer for a player like him. Defensively, he showed some interesting lateral speed which makes him even more interesting. Knowing that he has only started to play basketball on a serious level for a limited time, Ali may have some future when developing a more polished offensive game and improving his shot selection and his offensive game in general.
Stats: 5.5rpg (44.7% 2FGs – 12.5% 3FGs), 6.6rpg, 1.9apg, 1.7spg, 0.7bpg
Dmytro Marchenko – 2m02 – Forward – 1992 – BC Kyiv
The Ukrainian forward played an important role for his team as he was present in both scoring and rebounding. Marchenko did a nice job, especially on the offensive glass where he grabbed a fair amount of rebounds because of his quick jumps. The BC Kyiv player mainly attacks the basket on the offensive end which he can do with both hands. His right handed penetration is particularly strong and likes to finish it close to the basket while the left handed drive often ends up in a jump shot. Marchenko is not going that much for the three-point shot but he can come up with the occasional long-distance hit. Defensively, Marchenko is extremely present on the passing lanes and he finished as 4th best stealer of the tournament while his athletic abilities helped him to be present as well on the block shots.
Stats: 9.8ppg (46.0% 2FGs – 28.6% 3FGs), 7.6rpg, 2.0spg, 0.9bpg
V’yacheslav Bobrov – 2m01 – Forward – 1992 – Azovmash
The Azovmash forward was the other scoring option of the Ukrainian team from the wing. Bobrov is highly athletic and likes to dunk everything close to the rim. He takes the three-point shot without being overly effective from behind the arc. Out of his drives, Bobrov can connect to his open team mates and is also doing a good job on the rebound. He showed some excellent shot blocking timing and it is probably on the defensive end where his future is as his offensive talent is a bit limited because of not so secure shot.
Stats: 7.6ppg (57.8% 2FGs – 18.2% 3FGs), 6.6rpg, 2.8apg, 1.4bpg
Patrick Heckmann – 1m98 – SF/SG/PG – 1992 – ASC Mainz/TV Langen
Despite having some serious ups and downs during the tournament, Patrick Heckmann was one of the rare satisfactions for the German team. Being able to play all positions from 1-3, Heckmann was mostly used as a SF but excelled when playing the PG in the decisive minutes of the game I scouted. He can create out of his drives either for himself or his team mates and his athletic abilities give him the possibility to wait until he decides what he does when attacking the basket. The German player looked also a bit better on the defensive end. He needs to get more consistent in his effort and his new role with the German 3rd league team of TV Langen will certainly help him in this way.
Stats: 12.3ppg (57.7% 2FGs – 22.2% 3FGs), 3.2rpg, 2.6apg, 1.9spg, 3.1topg