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2009 U18 European Championship: Russian coach comments

August 30th, 2009 · No Comments

After the comments of the German and the French coach, we had the chance through our friend Nikita to talk with the Russian U18 National Team coach Mikhail Solovyev and gets his comments on the full Russian roster that finished 6th in this year’s European Championship.

Pavel Antipov: A leader of the team. Pavel was one step ahead of his teammates in terms of experience because this was already his third summer spent with the national sides. He is also the only player who has some Superleague A game and training practices behind himself as he was a part of CSK VVS-Samara first team last season (N.B.: he just signed for Spartak St. Petersburg a few days ago). Moreover, he became physically much stronger comparing to the previous years. I personally consider him as an interesting prospect. He was a steady 20+ ppg type of player for us until he caught the virus and was ruled out of the campaign after only the first three games.

Ivan Lazarev: With 211 cm was the only legitimate center in our side but carries really insufficient physical strength at present. He plays with will and effort, he is a hard worker. The season he spent with Dynamo U23 team facing the competition from 3-4-year elder guys helped him a lot (though he understandably had a little playing time there). Unfortunately, Ivan turned his ankle in the game against Turkey and so could help us only in 5 games. If he develops his body weight and strength issues, he will develop into a quite good player.

Alexander Burtsev: Reliable player, a fighter who isn’t afraid of contact at all. He really helped us a lot on the defensive end. On the offensive side, he crashes the board, he can go one-on-one, but Alexander is not a sniper, he needs to seriously improve his shooting.

Gleb Plotnikov: A die-hard defender; a man of character. A nice dribbler and not-bad shooter, this shooting guard struggled here mainly because of the lack of confidence and experience. Gleb suffered knee injury after landing on it in the game against Turkey.

Ivan Shamov: Playing for CSKA Moscow junior [u-18] team, he didn’t enjoy a leading role this season serving more as a backup for Ivan Strebkov who missed this European Championship due to injury. He possesses a nice potential, but needs to gain more game practice and self-confidence. As I know, in the upcoming season he’ll be loaned out to a Superleague B team NBA Nizhny Novgorod, so, it will now be up to him if he could benefit from this stay.

Nikita Balashov: A power forward or center who is always ready to fight on the boards. Has many tools to be a solid defender but still has a lot of work to do. As almost every player of this generation, Nikita has no stability in his shooting stroke. He also needs to get stronger to play with more certainty.

Mikhail Nabotov: Established himself as an inside presence thanks to his rather sturdy frame. Though being undersized with 202cm for the center position, he is able to contain taller opponents like he did with Turkey’s Kanter in this tournament. Mikhail possesses a decent jumper; he can even shoot with the three-point range.

Nikita Barinov: A power forward that has already got some technical and tactical groundings, he is fairly advanced in terms of fundamentals. But, compared to others’, Nikita’s lack of self-assurance is even a more critical deficiency at this point. With time and game practice, he can still become a rather good player though.

Benjamin-Pavel Dudu: An athletic small forward with good potential but also some softness in his game. Ought to be tougher and do his shooting homework. He spent the last games playing as center occasionally due to us being short-handed by injuries and fouls.

Dmitry Kulagin: The only player of 1992 generation in the roster, Kulagin performed quite well there. A heady, intelligent combo-guard, he never shies away from the responsibility in the crucial moments. And his determination frequently helped us in France. In order to fulfill his fullest potential, he must continue to work hard on his game on daily basis.

Alexander Knyazyuk: He was a bit shy with his shooting there while being rather capable in this game aspect. Alexander is an industrious SG/SF but also one of our nine international debutants who mostly didn’t show the best they could this time. It obviously came from their little experience.

Pavel Shavkunov: A shooting guard with quite small stature and true ability to shoot. Pavel needs to keep himself within the limits as sometimes his desire goes too far. He benefits from playing on the concrete instructions, under the coaching control.

Thanks to Nikita and coach Solovyev

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