European Prospects

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U20 European Championship Division B 2010

September 27th, 2010 · No Comments

This summer, the Austrian U20 National Team won the Gold Medal at home by dominating the U20 European Championship in Oberwart. In this first article on Division B events, we will cover this tournament by taking a look at the teams qualified for the semi-finals: Austria, Sweden, Bulgaria and Poland.

Rasid Mahalbasic – 2m08 – PF/C – 1990 – Austria – Fenerbahce Ülker (TUR)

The massive Austrian big guy who recently signed a six-year deal with Fenerbahce Ülker, dominated throughout the tournament with his combination of size and physical presence. Mahalbasic is not the most athletic player on the court but he could not get stopped on this level once he has received the ball in the paint. He uses a multitude of fakes in order to get the right position to score the ball with the layup. He is a real floor-player, somebody who works a lot with pivot moves and extra steps in order to get open.

His jump shot is correct and he can hit it up to the 3pt area, also after some hesitation. He will probably have to develop this part of his game on the next level because his physical dominance worked against U20 competition but not anymore once playing on the top senior level in Europe. He also needs to finish better with his left hand close to the basket where he had some misses out of Pick-and-Roll situations for example. The Slovenian-native likes to go for the assist out of the high-post where he has quite good court-vision but is sometimes too naive in the execution. This happened also some times on outlet passes where he went too fast and turned the ball over quickly.

Mahalbasic’ biggest weakness remains his lack of athletic abilities. Not particularly fast or reactive, he gets beaten on the dribble in defense when he has to defend against a smaller PF who takes him out to the three-point line. Additionally, he has no real penetration play when he goes outside as his first step is rather slow.

Stats: 16.9ppg (69.7% 2FGs – 70.8% FTs), 9.8rpg, 2.0apg, 4.5topg

Moritz Lanegger – 1m90 – PG – 1990 – Austria – Kapfenberg (AUT)

The Austrian PG played an outstanding tournament and led his team to the Gold Medal. Lanegger displays excellent size for the PG spot, good speed, correct athletic abilities and an understanding of the game for the next level. He finished the tournament with an excellent 2.13 Assist/Turnover ratio but his impact on the game is more than just statistics. He controls the game speed nearly at perfection and he reads nicely what the defense gives him and his team. Out of the game situations, he nearly takes no bad decisions and his passing is particularly precise.

Additionally, he can step up if the team needs a score and drive hard to the basket and finish against the big guys with contact. Because of his aggressiveness, he goes to the free-throw line at a high rate for a guard but he needs to be a bit more precise in that area in the future. His three-point shot is not particularly dangerous but he can make it out of the dribble or in Pick and Roll situations where he excels with his above average Basketball IQ. Lanegger can attack the basket with either hand and he likes to stop on mid-range to hit the short jump shot out of the drive. Even in full speed, he has his game under control and sees the open man in traffic perfectly.

Defensively, he has great positioning and reads well what the offense wants to do. The Austrian guard is physically strong enough to hold his man in front of him and showed this also on the Senior level already. He goes now into his 5th season on the highest Austrian level already being only 20 years old. All the experience he has gained throughout the years helped him to grow rapidly into his current role. The next step would now be to move abroad and play on a higher level. He will have one more year to learn with Kapfenberg and lead his team to the playoffs and maybe the Championship.

Stats: 10.3ppg (60.0% 2FGs – 36.8% 3FGs), 4.6rpg, 4.0apg, 1.9topg, 1.5spg

Jesse Seilern – 1m89 – SG – 1990 – Austria – USC Aiken (NCAA2)

Jesse Seilern was the main scorer in the Austrian back court as the athletic combo-guard was one of the few players that can create his own shot effectively. However, Seilern mainly uses his left hand to attack the basket despite being a right-handed player. He has a quick shot release out of the dribble but he is some kind of streaky shooter who can hit the long-distance attempts in series but also have several misses in a row. Seilern needs to develop his right handed drive and take better decisions when attacking the basket where you can see him sometimes forcing a bit too much for his own scoring instead of passing the ball to the open man. After a slow first season with USC Aiken in NCAA Division 2 Basketball, Jesse Seilern und Aspang (his full name) will have to step up and confirm the good tournament he has played this summer in his home country.

Stats: 10.5ppg (43.6% 3FGs)

Romed Vieider – 1m96 – SF – 1991 – Austria – WBC Wels (AUT)

The 1991 born forward played an interesting tournament as regular scorer from the wing. He finished with excellent shooting percentages from both inside and outside the three-point arc despite being a year younger than most of the players. Vieider has quite a nice shot release with quick mechanics and excels from the corner in catch-and-shoot situations. He can also attack the basket with his right hand and finish close to the rim or from mid range out of the dribble. Vieider reads well what the defense gives him and decides upon that what he is up too on offense. It will be interesting to see how he develops this season in the Austrian league where he saw already some minutes in 2009/2010.

Stats: 11.0ppg (64.7% 2FGs – 45.7% 3FGs), 3.0rpg

Andreas Person – 1m88 – PG – 1991 – Sweden – Helios Domzale (SLO)

Andreas Person played a very consistent tournament in Austria. The Swedish guard, who moved abroad to play for Helios Domzale in Slovenia this season, showed his already well-known qualities like the drive, speed and athletic abilities but he is also progressing in his long distance shot and from the free-throw line. His jump shot looks a lot better than the last time I scouted him and he is not as hesitating anymore when having an open look from behind the arc. He takes the jump shot in catch-and-shoot situations immediately. It is possible that this has also a lot to do with his confidence that he can make the long distance shot with good percentages when he feels comfortable.

The main strength of Person though remains his excellent first step and great drive to the hoop. His above average athletic abilities give him the possibility to finish those drives also with nice dunks or difficult hang-time layups. He can score with both hands and shows great acceleration moves on the penetration. Person is at his best in the open floor when running the fast break where he can drive around the defenders at will and always go hard for the score close to the basket. After his 12.2ppg season in Sweden, it will be interesting to see how the 19 year old will do in Slovenia where he will face some different opposition.

Stats: 14.9ppg (62.0% 2FGs – 37.1% 3FGs – 81.8% FTs), 3.4rpg, 3.0apg

Christopher Ryan – 1m96 – SG – 1990 – Sweden – Boras Basket (SWE)

The Swedish guard had a good tournament and he is coming back to the level he was expected to be a few years ago but struggled to reach because of several injuries. Ryan is an aggressive SG who likes to attack the basket hard and who shows interesting speed and acceleration moves combined with good fakes. His three-point shot is less an option for him than the drive but he can nail the long-distance shot with quite good percentages. He is mainly a scorer but the Boras player is also very present in rebounding situations. Ryan does a good job in Pick and Roll situation where he can find the open man rolling to the basket but normally goes hard to the rim to find his own score.

Stats: 10.1ppg (54.3% 2FGs – 43.8% 3FGs), 4.5rpg, 2.6apg

Christopher Czerapowicz – 1m97 – SF – 1991 – Sweden – Davidson (NCAA1)

Unfortunately, the Davidson recruit had his worst games in the decisive phase of the tournament, the only games that I could scout as well. So there is not much positive to say about Christopher Czerapowicz which has not yet been said in our long portrait of him from last summer. Czerapowicz showed that he is still attacking the rim very hard and trying to finish close to the basket. However, he had some problems to do this against the taller and physical Austrian big guys. On the defensive end, he got posted up several times by taller forwards but responded well and did not let them score easily over him.

Stats: 11.6ppg (30.6% 2FGs – 28.2% 3FGs), 5.8rpg

Aleksander “Olek” Czyz – 2m01 – PF/SF – 1990 – Poland – Nevada (NCAA1)

The Polish forward and former Duke player Aleksandar Czyz showed some interesting potential during the days in Austria. He finished with an astonishing 74.0% 2pt field goal percentage and a constant activity on the boards. He finishes extremely well when close to the basket where his excellent athletic abilities help him to score even against bigger players. Czyz showed good positioning for the offensive rebound where he scored a lot of garbage points on some hustle or effort plays on his own or team mate’s misses.

He likes to attack the basket on the dribble, he can do this with both hands doing it particularly well when going left though. Czyz has a nice first step when putting the ball on the floor and his strong lower body helps him to remain in balance when being defended hard. Close to the basket, he can finish with jump hooks from either his left or his right hand but he has a certain preference for using the right one even if it would be more accurate to go for the left hand. With his aggressive play, he draws a lot of fouls and finds himself on the FT line on a quite good rate. The Polish forward will be eligible to play for the Nevada Wolf Pack in the second part of this season and it will be interesting to see what his impact will be in the WAC.

Stats: 16.1ppg (74.0% 2FGs – 68.9% FTs), 8.1rpg

Piotr Pamula – 1m94 – SG/PG – 1990 – Poland – Polonia 2011 (POL)

The Polish guard was voted into the All-Tournament team for his overall performance. Unfortunately, he did not play really well in the decisive semi-final versus Sweden that I scouted so the report on him is quite limited. Pamula has excellent size for playing the PG spot and his nice court-vision helps him to play very good passes. Over the tournament, he netted the three-pointers with great percentages and was also quite sure from the free-throw line. This was however not the case in the semi-final. He is one of the players to scout again when playing well in order to estimate his full potential as he seems to be a player to follow in the future.

Stats: 17.2ppg (52.3% 2FGs – 49.2% 3FGs), 3.3rpg, 3.6apg

Hristo Zahariev – 1m97 – SG – 1990 – Bulgaria – Chernomorets Burgas (BUL)

Hristo Zahariev was one of the two main options in the Bulgarian back court. You could see several times that he tried to post-up his defender in order to use his superior size and athletic abilities. On the other hand, Zahariev showed that his shooting from outside remains his biggest weakness, he finished the tournament with a very poor 9.1% from behind the arc. On the other hand, he is one of the most interesting players of this age group in terms of driving to the basket with direction changes and finishing against the big guys.

Stats: 10.9ppg (63.5% 2FGs – 9.1% 3FGs), 4.4rpg

Bozhidar Avramov – 1m96 – PG/SG – 1990 – Bulgaria – Lukoil Akademik (BUL)

Together with Zahariev, Bozhidar Avramov was the scoring option for Bulgaria on the guard positions. Avramov has a very nice touch from outside and can hit also difficult three-pointers in step-back fashion or with a defender on him. Additionally, he has quite a good look for his team mates and he throws some nice passes for the open man. He can accelerate nicely and looks more under control in what he does than Zahariev.

Stats: 11.4ppg (57.7% 2FGs – 42.1% 3FGs), 3.1rpg, 2.3apg

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