European Prospects

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Adidas Next Generation Kaunas 2015: the Guards

February 10th, 2015 · No Comments

As always, we start our review of the tournaments with the guards. For the Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Kaunas, the main prospects in this category were Martynas Varnas and Egehan Arna.

Martynas Varnas – 1m96 – SG – 1997 – Zalgiris Kaunas

Martynas Varnas was the outside scorer for the ANGT winners in Kaunas. The athletic swingman was constantly attacking the basket and tried to use his above average athletic abilities to score at the rim. Physically, he does not look fully mature yet but his leaping abilities and body stability allow him to score against taller players in the paint. He showed some interesting drives with changing directions or spin moves in order to come as close as possible to the hoop. Varnas is not afraid to dunk the ball in traffic as he can really jump off either one or two feet. He reads the defensive help situations relatively well, even if there remains some progress margin here, so that he can come up with the occasional drive and dish or kick play.

On the other hand, Varnas has as of right now a quite poor outside shot. His shooting mechanics are not that fluid and he hesitates often to take the shot. He was not regular at all from behind the arc which will be a major problem for him on the next level where his speed and first step can be matched by any defender if he is not reliable from the three-point territory. With his athletic abilities, Varnas is also a nice presence on the defensive end which will probably be his entry door for the professional teams. All in all, Varnas was a key factor for the Zalgiris victory but it has yet to be seen how far he can go in the future as he needs to stabilize his outside shot.

Stats: 13.3ppg (45.2% 2FGs – 4/18 3FGs), 3.8rpg, 2.0apg, 2.8topg, 10.3PIR

Laurynas Beliauskas – 1m85 – PG – 1997 – Zalgiris Kaunas

When watching the games of the ANGT, Beliauskas was not the first player that caught your eye. Not spectacular nor doing anything exceptionally well, it was however him who ran the well organized Zalgiris offense and his numbers were superb at the end of the tournament. Beliauskas was doing an excellent job in finding his inside players, especially Echodas. He is also very dangerous from outside where has a very quick shot. The PG does not force his own scoring options but likes to take the big ones in the decisive moments. He is doing a good job in Pick and Roll situations where he can score from the mid-range territory with the jump shot but he likes also to finish on the floater. The Lithuanian might not be a top-level prospect but his game understanding and passing skills will certainly help him to make an interesting career as a team leader in the future.

Stats: 13.0ppg (52.9% 2FGs – 7/14 3FGs), 4.0rpg, 6.3apg, 2.8topg, 18.5PIR

Karim Jallow – 1m95 – SG – 1997 – Bayern Munich

The athletic Karim Jallow was next to Richard Freudenberg the best prospect of the German team. Jallow was first of all quite impressive on the defensive end where he was used as a stopper of the best guard of the opponent. With his physical presence and good lateral speed, Jallow put a lot of players in trouble on the defensive end and he could use this to get some easy baskets in transition. On the offensive end, Jallow mainly lives from his capacity of attacking the basket. He can find creative angles to finish at the rim and has a correct footwork to create the necessary space. The German can also post up his defender if he is guarded by a smaller player and knocks down the occasional mid-range jump shot. His three-point shot though is still not that reliable which is currently his main weakness. Additionally, he could improve his offensive decision making which is a bit shaky here and there but the Bayern Munich player should be able into an interesting player for the highest German level in a few years.

Stats: 10.7ppg (48.4% 2FGs – 0/1 3FGs), 2.3rpg, 2.7apg, 2.3spg, 2.7topg, 10.3PIR

Ondrej Sehnal – 1m94 – PG/SG – 1997 – USK Prague

The Czech guard was certainly one of the players that had the toughest task in the tournament as he had to run a team that had not much talent on the wings or inside. So all the scoring duties were on him but also lots of his passes could not be converted by his team mates. Combined with a relatively poor shot selection, this ended up in a 7 turnover per game and below 40% shooting performance. Nevertheless, Sehnal looks like an interesting player who can do a lot if he is surrounded by the right players. He can create his own shot out of the dribble and drives hard to the basket finding the open guy if the help is arriving. He can finish off two feet out of full speed penetrations but the main question is how his decision making evolves when having other team mates where he does not need to do a bit of everything on the court.

Stats: 13.0ppg (38.7% 2FGs – 0/13 3FGs), 7.0rpg, 4.0apg, 7.0topg,. 11.3PIR

Jokubas Svambaris – 1m90 – SG – 1997 – Lietuvos Rytas

The Lithuanian guard was probably the biggest motor of  the tournament. Svambaris showed incredible energy when playing in transition beating anyone who tried to stop him. He has great speed and wants to go all the way once he has the ball in his hands. Mainly a scorer, Svambaris likes to attack the basket with his great first step and can finish with either hand in the paint, even against taller inside player. From mid-range he has a preference for the floater as his pull up jump shot is not the best. His release point is relatively low as he is shooting the ball from in front of his face. He can though, with his ball handling skills and speed, create enough space for himself to get shots off against the defense but he probably needs to raise his release point for the next level. Mostly used as a shooting guard, Svambaris is a vocal presence who has the leadership and presence to play the PG position. However, he was mainly looking for his own scoring opportunities not reading that much what the defense offered him as passing opportunities.

Stats: 14.3ppg (50.0% 2FGs – 2/7 3FGs), 3.0rpg, 2.7topg, 10.3PIR

Egehan Arna – 1m99 – SF/PG – 1997 – Fenerbahce Ülker

The question on Arna was if he enters the guard or the wing post as he played every position from PG to even PF at moments. Because of his versatility and probable usage in the future as a PG on the pro level, Egehan Arna was one of the most interesting prospects of the tournament. The left-handed prospect was doing an excellent job in attacking the basket. He “worked” his way to the hoop in order to use his size and athletic abilities to finish at the rim. With his ball handling using both hands, Arna is very dangerous in Pick and Roll situations as he has a great court vision to not only see the screen roller but also the weak side action for the kick out passes. He clearly wants to make the passes and tries to improve his team by sharing the ball.

As good as he attacks the basket, as much he has to work on his outside shot in order to become more reliable from behind the arc. His overall technique is not that stable from there but he is able to knock down shots in catch-and-shoot situations, especially from the corner. On the defensive end, Arna is a great presence in the passing lanes where he can use his long arms and explosiveness to get a good amount of steals. Arna should be able to develop into an interesting tall PG that can be used in different positions for specific roles on the professional level. His upside still looks interesting as he seems not to have matured completely from a physical point of view. He is definitely a player to watch over the next years who could have some impact on the Euroleague level soon.

Stats: 18.0ppg ( 51.3% 2FGs – 8/33 3FGs), 2.8rpg, 5.3apg, 2.5spg, 3.8topg, 13.3PIR

Eduards Hazners – 1m92 – SG – 1997 – VEF Riga

The Latvian guard was one of the better shooters of the event. Eduards Hazners has a good release point despite not being the tallest or the most athletic player. His mechanics are really fluid and the whole shooting action looks fully natural for him. He can create his shot but he is superbly effective in catch and shoot situations from behind the arc. This makes him a target for aggressive close-outs and he can read those pretty well in order to attack the rim. He can finish in the paint even if that is not his main force. Hazners is also an occasional ball handler on pick and roll situations where he can either finish on the pull up jumper or as a wrap around passer for the roller.

Stats: 9.3ppg (47.1% 2FGs – 7/14 3FGs), 3.5rpg, 2.3topg, 8.0PIR

Kristers Zoriks – 1m88 – PG/SG – 1998 – VEF Riga

Playing for VEF Riga on loan, Kristers Zoriks often only saw significant minutes in the second half of the games. After his trip to the United States with Urspring, the 1998 born guard underlined his potential that he showed during the U16 European Championship last summer. Zoriks likes to attack the rim hard holding the ball firmly in order to avoid to get it stripped away. Next to bringing the ball in the paint for the finish, Zoriks has a good mid-range jump shot, both in pull-up and catch and shoot fashion. With his head always up, he controls the set plays and sees the open opportunities for his team mates. His three-point shot is quite stable and he likes to take it out of Pick and Roll situations. Physically, he can become stronger in the next years while athletically, Zoriks looks to have some interesting upside as he is not afraid to dunk the ball in transition, even against taller players.

Stats: 8.3ppg (40.9% 2FGs – 4/11 3FGs), 4.5rpg, 4.0apg, 3.5topg, 9.5PIR