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Xmas Tournament Kortrijk 2014: the Wings

January 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

In the second part of our Scouting Reports on the Xmas Tournament in Kortrijk, we take a look at the most talented forwards of the event. Check it out if you want to know more about Aaron Falzon, Ervins Meznieks or others.

Aaron Falzon – 2m03 – SF/PF – 1996 – Northfield Mount Hermon

The Maltese forward was one of the main scorers for the US Prep School by playing the two forward positions or even taking over the Center part in a small ball lineup. He won the three-point contest because he had the fastest release and could take the most shots in the given setting of “most makes in 30 seconds”. This gives an indication on the main strength of Falzon which is his outside shot. Gifted with great size and mobility for the SF position, the 2m03 tall forward likes to come off screens for the pull up jumper. On the kick-out passes, he is particularly effective from behind the arc and he should be a great asset in the future Northwestern offense as he can also put the ball on the floor. When he attacks the basket, Falzon can finish at the rim with the foul and is also capable of changing directions on the drive.

Ervins Meznieks – 1m99 – SF/PF – 1996 – GBA Academy

The Latvian forward that played for the Czech Get Better Academy is a player to like. Meznieks looks like the guy next door but then he comes up with the back-door alley-oop dunk against your zone defense out of nothing. The Latvian understands the game really well and has an excellent feeling for the spaces and gaps on the court. Meznieks does a bit of everything on the court. He can handle the ball in Pick and Roll situations, shot important three-pointers, attack the rim hard and finish in finesse with the euro-step or the two handed dunk if needed, play in the passing lanes on defense and so on.

He knows how to use his body, being quite large and thick, he can protect his rim attacks quite well to score against taller inside players. With his physical style, the 1m99 tall forward can also post up if he is defended by Small Forwards. On the other hand, he is too quick for PF to defend him so that he is quite a difficult matchup for a lot of teams. With his interest to play College Basketball, he will be a tremendous asset for any mid-major program and he will most likely excel with GBA when they will play the National Prep School Invitation in February.

Aapeli Alanen – 2m01 – SF – 1996 – Namika Lahti

The Finnish forward was a nice surprise at this event as he showed some promising athletic abilities and a good size to play the SF position on the professional level. Alanen can attack the basket and finish above the rim but he is mainly a straight line guy who struggles to change directions and is therefore always at the risk of a charge. His ball handling is not yet at the level of his speed. The 1996 born prospect needs to stabilize his shooting both from the free-throw line and the three-point territory. Additionally, Alanen needs to work on his finishing abilities with his weaker left hand at the rim and his overall fundamentals, especially under pressure. However, with his athletic and physical abilities, Alanen can be considered an interesting prospect for the Finnish level in the future.

Arttu Saarijarvi – 2m00 – SG/SF – 1996 – Namika Lahti

The winner of the Dunk Contest was the second scoring option for the Finnish team. He constantly attacked the basket from outside with a lot of poise, quite different from his presentation at the dunk contest. Because of his athletic abilities, he can finish at the rim as he has also the technique to use either hand. His three-point shot is well executed but the release is quite slow. This is not a problem in certain catch-and-shot situations but Saarijarvi has some problems to take it against players of his size.

Juho-Matti Henttonen – 2m00 – SF/PF – 1996 – Namika Lahti

Playing mostly as a Center for the Finnish team, Henttonen did a great job rebounding the ball against mostly much taller players in the paint. He was not that present as a shooter but played a good role as Stretch 5 in their lineup. However, Henttonen is far from being a Center, he can play the PF position at best. His three-point shooting is there which makes him an option for the wing as he has the handle and the passing abilities to fulfill that role. It would be good to see him in a different setting to get a better feeling for his potential.

Thibault Vanderhaegen – 2m01 – SF – 1998 – Basket@Sea Oostende

Playing mostly as PF or even C, the 1998 born Vanderhaegen should develop into an interesting SF prospect over the next years. Mainly using his three-point shot as offensive option, the 2m01 tall forward can also put the ball on the floor to attack the basket. His footwork looks interesting for a player of his age and size as he even went for the spin against the defense on the penetration.

Abel Baptista – 1m90 – SF – 1996 – Antwerp Giants

Mainly used as a PF for the Antwerp Giants, Baptista even looks a bit undersized to play at the SF on the highest level. Athletically, he is quite interesting and also has long arms that make him play bigger than he actually is. Baptista can make shots from outside but his shooting form is not really stable and he often is playing out of balance. His overall decision making is not that great and he forces the 1-1 play a bit too often. Baptista’s ball handling is also improvable and necessary if he wants to become a factor on a higher level in the future. However, he did a lot of the dirty work on the defensive end which made him a very valuable asset for the tournament winners.

David Mulumba – 1m96 – SF/PF – 1998 – Antwerp Giants

Two years younger than the competition and with only some limited minutes, David Mulumba was an interesting player for the Giants coming from the bench. First of all, Mulumba is an excellent athlete with an already well developed upper body for his age. On the court, he nailed a couple of jump shots, also making a three pointer in a catch and shoot situation. His ball handling allows him to attack the basket and he remains quite under control in these situations so that he can see the open wing for the kick out. Mulumba is a player to follow as he can develop into an interesting wing prospect in the future but remains more of a project at the moment.

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