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Alen Hodžić – time to move on

November 23rd, 2010 · No Comments

Slovenian Coach Luka Bassin continues to present some prospects from his country. Today, he will present us the 18 year old Alen Hodžić.

(Luka Bassin) – Last weekend Alen Hodžić scored 52 points in a junior game against Parklji and it was not the first time he did it. Alen Hodžić is 18-year-old player from Koper who plays for KOŠ Koper in Slovenian 2nd division. I really like his style of play and last year I wanted him to join my junior team of Union Olimpija for NIJT but somehow he didn’t (not because of him).

He is small forward or shooting guard and he played for U16 Slovenia National Team at U16 EC division B 2008 in Sarajevo, averaging 7.1ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.3apg and 2.6spg in 22 minutes on the floor, and for U18 team at this year’s U18 EC in Lithuania, averaging 5.3ppg, 1.4rpg and 1.0apg in 17 minutes on the floor.

He won Slovenian U14 championship in 2006-07 and U16 championship with his team in 2008-09. Koš Koper is a team where Matej Rojc (’93) one of top Slovenian prospects started his career before he moved to Krka Novo Mesto this summer. Beside that Gregor Hrovat (’94), another Slovenian prospect, is playing right now in KOŠ Koper. Btw – keep an eye on him!

At the moment Alen Hodžić plays for juniors in Slovenian league, where he scores almost whenever he wants and for first team in 2nd senior division, averaging around 20 points per game.

There are »talks« that he was so dominant in Slovenian youth competitions just because of his physical power and strengths, and his early physical development, but I think that he has something more and he could become a good player on highest level. He has a lot of experience since he played many games on all levels and he has great sense for basketball.

Alen Hodžić is 194 cm high and is fast, quick and explosive, with good basketball body and well coordinated. His muscle power was never questionable. His technique of elementary basketball things (dribbling, passing and shooting) is pretty good. He lacks some tactical things but he could learn them easily in the future.

Offense:

Fastbreak and transition offense: He is very good in fast paced game where he can use his skills. He is very active in all phases and positions. He could play as ball handler and find good solution in the end (good pass at right time or finish with change of pace) and he can run as wing-man and finish with powerful lay-up, dunk or shot (even from behind the 3-point line).

Penetration: He can go left or right. He has good and fast first step or he can beat his opponent with change of pace and good cross-over dribbling. He can execute with strong finishes or he can assist to a player in better position. I think that lately he is not using his penetration enough.

Shot: I can’t say he is a natural born shooter but he can easily shoot for three-point and he can make many consecutive shots when he is hot. He is good shooter when it comes to dribble and shoot, and he uses it mostly when he goes left. He has good change of pace and good sense for using screens, so he can open himself easily but sometimes he just doesn’t receive the ball at right place. His hand target and footwork in this situation is the thing he must work on, because he has the power in his legs to execute shots like that. He definitely needs to work on his shot and even more on shot selection.

Back-to-the-basket game: He can use it often since he is very strong and has good technique, and this is very good because it is very popular for guards to play back-to-the-basket today. He learned it mostly on outside courts playing street-ball. He can also pass the ball to open teammates when there is double-team or helping.

Pick’n’roll game: Alen plays pick situations pretty good and he is dangerous by himself (he can go all-the-way if defense is not aggressive) and he can pass the ball to a roll-guy. Maybe he is not so good when we talk about passing to perimeter players from this situation. He needs to be guarded very close and aggressive or you could be punish by 3-pointer.

Spacing: This is the thing where he must work on a lot. This is tactical thing I was talking earlier and he is not so good at it. Sometimes he just stays and watches what is going on and he doesn’t look to find good spacing and open the passing lanes.

Passing skills: He has an idea where to pass and he can find his teammates in good position no matter what situation we are talking about. He just has this sense for the good pass and make the good assist. Sometimes he exaggerates and loses the ball, but he can easily find better solutions when becoming more experienced.

Offensive rebound: His skills are made for the offensive rebound since he can jump very high and has the feeling for it. He can go to rebound from the top of the paint and this should be his advantage. He needs to use this skills more and even more he needs to be focused on rebound.

Defence:

In general, he is very good defensive player where he uses his physical skills to guard almost anybody on the court. He has some problems with helping and rotating but these are not the things which can’t be repaired.

Defensive transition: He has no problem with it. Even when he is in offensive rebounding position he can recover to the defensive end very fast.

Rebound: He has good box-out position and he can grab the ball very high in the air. He has no problem with rebounding, but sometimes he runs to the fast break too soon and forgets to box-out. With the ball in his hands he can make good fast outlet passes to the point guard, he can pass good baseball pass all over the court or he can just dribble the ball to offensive end.

1:1 back-to-the-basket: His physical skills allow him to play good defense when it comes to defending the paint. He can find himself in miss-match position down there after switching but he has no problem to guard taller opponents.

1:1 perimeter position: He is an aggressive player and he can make pressure all over the court. He is good in defending 1:1 from the dribble; he can beat screens and he can play very good D on brilliant shooters. You can easily use him as »killer« for special situations. The bad things are that he reacts on shot fakes too often in his desire to block shots and his hand-work is not so good.

Pick’n’roll defence: He has no problem since he can play aggressive and brave. He uses his quick feet and powerful body to beat screens and be on right place at right time. He can also switch and can defend higher players in miss-match situations.

He has attributes which are necessary to become good player: physical skills, sense for basketball, great attitude, aggressiveness, good character and he is brave.

All in all, I still do not know why he still plays for KOŠ Koper because from my point of view he already outgrew the team. Not that they are working bad in Koper (vice versa-they are working good), but a player with his potential should play on higher level already. I think that playing juniors and 2nd Slovenian division is not enough and he is loosing time at the moment. He has to try to play in a bigger team in the first division or even Adriatic basketball league. He needs to work with better players in high-level program and next summer will be crucial for his development. His limits are very high.

Currently Union Olimpija is a high caliber team in the Euroleague and a very popular topic. Watching Union Olimpija’s games I can not stop comparing Alen Hodžić to Kenny Gregory (with a better shot). The other thing I think off is that Hodžić is the right guy to play NCAA basketball.

If he wants to become better player, if he wants to make an impact in this beautiful sport on international level – he has to move on!

written by Luka Bassin

Luka Bassin played professional basketball in Slovenia and finished Faculty of sports on University Ljubljana. He worked as head coach of High school Gimnazija Bežigrad (Jan Vesely, Bostjan Nachbar, Erazem Lorbek… were students at Gimnazija Bežigrad) and won ISF World championship of High Achools 2001 in Turkey. Made junior Final 8 (NIJT Euroleague) in 2009 and 2010 with Olimpija Ljubljana. Worked with U20 national team as assistant coach and won bronze medal in 2006 in Turkey. Worked with Goran Dragic, Gasper Vidmar, Jaka Klobucar, Emir Preldzic, Mirza Begic… in national teams.

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