In the last part of our series of reports on the U18 European Championship, we will talk about the big guys today.
Ramazan Tekin – 2m12 – Center – 1993 – Turkey
Tekin was one of the biggest players of the tournament in terms of size. The Turkish Center has a massive body but is not really athletic or quick. He has great height though and is hard to move once he found his spot in the paint. Tekin has quite good hands from close and can also score the running hook with the foul. He even came up with some nice passes out of the low post but his overall skill level is limited. Defensively, he is quite present but his lack of explosiveness hinders him from being a dominant defender. Laterally, he is slow and his rebounding is poor. Tekin is definitely a player to follow on the long run but his impact might slow down while getting older.
Stats: 6.2ppg (55.6% 2FGs), 2.6rpg, 1.0bpg
Talat Altunbey – 2m02 – Power Forward – 1994 – Turkey
A very young player who did not see a lot of minutes but impressed me with excellent physical skills was Talat Altunbey. He is very long and athletic and seems to have some correct rebounding timing in the paint. Altunbey can hit the three point shot but his overall decision making and shot selection looked “improvable” to say the least. It will be interesting to see how he develops until next summer as he is still very young. When he focuses on defense, he can become a very interesting role player for the future as he has an excellent timing for shot blocks as well.
Stats: 4.6ppg (47.6% 2FGs), 3.5rpg, 1.0bpg, 12.3mpg
Simonas Kymantas – 2m06 – PF/C – 1993 – Lithuania
The Lithuanian frontcourt was built around the highly athletic Simonas Kymantas and Arturas Gudaitis. Kymantas looked like the more explosive player of both as he was very present on both ends of the floor. He looked improved in terms of finishing in the paint (70.0% FGs) where he scored with either hand from close. But his range does not go out very far and he decided to take his chance only in the paint. Kymantas has good leaping ability and can finish easily on the dunk, especially when he catches the ball out of Pick and Roll situations. He can also attack the basket out of the dribble but this is not his strongest point.
On the defensive end, he lives from his verticality both in rebounding and shot blocking situations. Even if he shoots with high percentages, I have some doubts about his hands as he missed a couple of very easy scores close to the hoop. His size makes him more a PF for the professional level but he lacks the necessary mid-range or long-range game and his ball handling is far from being good enough to attack the basket from outside.
Stats: 11.9ppg (70.0% 2FGs – 60.5% FTs), 7.9rpg, 1.1bpg
Arturas Gudaitis – 2m08 – Center – 1993 – Lithuania
We already liked what we saw from Arturas Gudaitis in the previous events and he confirmed this during the days in Poland. Gudaitis is a long, no-nonsense inside player who is just playing basic basketball. He can finish nicely from close, also on the tough lay-up or the dunk. He does not try a lot of difficult stuff and mostly looks for the easiest way to finish the play. The Lithuanian big guy has good positioning to be the target of his team mates’ dishes on the drive and can convert these passes with either hand. He rarely finds his way out of the paint but his jump shot looks good in the mechanics and the flying curve of the ball. On the defensive end, Gudaitis is a nice shot blocker, especially coming of the weak side for the help defense. He is not the greatest in terms of lateral speed which hinders him from developing into a good perimeter defender.
Stats: 11.3ppg (49.2% 2FGs – 67.3% FTs), 6.2rpg, 1.4bpg
Amedeo Tessitori – 2m03 – PF/C – 1994 – Italy
One of the positive surprises in the tournament was the 1994 born Italian big guy Amedeo Tessitori. The physically strong but short inside player had a big impact on both ends of the floor for his team and was a major part in their run in Poland. Tessitori is a surprising athlete as he does not look like being in top shape and wears big knee braces. But he dunks nearly everything from close with two hands and has also a presence in shot blocking. Defensively, he is very active and shut down several highly regarded big guys like for example Przemyslaw Karnowski. Despite his small size, he plays really big as he has a good large body and knows how to use it well.
Offensively, he is mostly present on offensive rebounding situations where he has a quick second jump to convert the second chances. He reads the offensive board situations extremely well and has great positioning to collect the missed shots. Additionally, Tessitori likes to play from outside and even comes up with the occasional three-point shot even if he does not feel perfectly comfortable in this area. He showed though nice fakes and game understanding and can create some space through hand-off pass fakes for example. He scored also on the baseline jump shot but his overall shooting technique can be a bit improved in order to become more regular from the free-throw line as well. Tessitori is also effective in passing in high-low situations where he can find either the back door cutter or the low post guy.
Tessitori only turns 17 these days, so he has quite some upwards potential. One of the main negative points is his size as he is too short to play as a full time center. He has no really effective penetration game facing the basket and his speed seems limited as well. Tessitori needs to work on this part of his game in order to become a PF in the future.
Stats: 11.6ppg (50.6% 2FGs – 60.0% FTs), 6.4rpg, 1.3bpg
Luka Mitrovic – 2m04 – Power Forward – 1993 – Serbia
The Serbian power forward showed a good overall tournament with great potential and skill set. Mitrovic can both play inside and outside and has a good athletic body. He can take the three point shot or put the ball on the floor with a good first step and nice speed. Out of the drive, he is able to find the right pass but sometimes tries to avoid the contact which makes him do some extra steps in several situations. Close to the basket, he has no problems to finish with either hand when driving or playing with his back to the basket. Mitrovic is also executing the Pick and Rolls well as he finds the way to the basket on the good lanes and catches the ball well to finish strong. With his athletic abilities, he is able to score against taller inside players without a problem.Mitrovic’s offensive game was not really used a lot by his team as a scoring option and he often had to find his point in garbage situations.
Stats: 7.6ppg (46.8% 2FGs – 53.6% FTs), 6.3rpg, 0.7bpg
Mam Jaiteh – 2m04 – PF/C – 1994 – France
The French big guy is one of the players on the rise in Europe at the moment. Having seen him on several occasions over the last months, you could recognize some progress on every time he entered the court. Having a massive and great body to work with, Mam Jaiteh is improving his game understanding and getting more and more comfortable to score the ball. He scores with either hand from close without any hesitation and has his jump shot becoming more regular and fluid in the mechanics. It seems like Jaiteh is slowly getting used to his huge body and recognizes how to use his very soft hands in order to be a real scoring threat.
Jaiteh has also learned to grab offensive rebounds and finish on the layup without taking the ball down in order to avoid the steal or the foul. He likes to play with his back to the basket and really bang in the low post. His post moves in general are getting executed faster and he tries some with his left hand as well. Jaiteh can be considered as one of the most interesting French inside prospects for the future. He might grow a few additional centimeters in the next months and could reach a 2m06-2m07 height when fully adult. He lacks the big-time explosiveness to finish strong in the paint but he has correct athleticism and excellent hands. If his progress curve continues as it did over the last months, Jaiteh is one of the names to guard in mind for the future.
Stats: 11.7ppg (52.8% 2FGs – 65.9% FTs), 9.8rpg, 0.8bpg
Volodymyr Gerun – 2m05 – Power Forward – 1994 – Ukraine
The Ukrainian Power Forward was one of the most followed inside players during the whole tournament. He finished with excellent numbers in a team where he was though by far the best player and the main offensive option. Gerun is the typical facing the basket power forward who can score from mid range or the three point line but also attack the basket with a good first step and finish on the drive with either hand. He likes to put the ball on the floor with his left hand and is also able to score the floater with his weaker hand from 2-3 meters. His jump shot around the key looks good even if his mechanics are perfectible as he does not clap his hand on a regular basis when shooting.
On the defensive end, Gerun moves well and has good overall positioning. He is very present in shot blocking as he has good length and athletic abilities. He goes hard to the rebound on both ends of the floor as he had a lot of dirty work duties next to his scoring. Gerun is born in 1994 and can play another year on this level. He was rumored to have visited Maryland this summer as a potential recruit but this has been a mislead (it was in fact Olexiy Len who was there). So far, there is no real decision on his future, but it does not look like the NCAA is an option for the Ukrainian power forward. Potential wise, he can go very far but it depends a lot on his decisions and development over the next 2-3 years.
Stats: 18.2ppg (52.6% 2FGs – 75.9% FTs), 11.1rpg, 2.1bpg
Bogdan Radosavljevic – 2m12 – Center – 1993 – Germany
We had already a short report on the German Center that was based on his U18 European Championship a few days ago. The Serbo-German big guy has in between seen his season start with Bayern Munich with a DNP but it looks like he will get minutes from the next game. However, his coach has announced in an interview that he did not like Rado’s work ethic in the past and that he has to work on it. Nevertheless, he can be considered as one of the most talented seven-footers of his age group and it will not last long until he emerges on the highest level.
Stats: 13.9ppg (67.7% 2FGs – 54.8% FTs), 7.1rpg, 0.8bpg
P.S.: I got asked by a few people why there aren’t any Polish players in the reports. This has several reasons. Firstly, they mostly did not play well. Then I analyzed their game in a lot of details during the last U19 World Championship so I decided not to write about them as I simply had nothing new to talk about.