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An update on NCAA recruiting in Europe

October 10th, 2010 · No Comments

The NCAA season 2010/2011 is approaching so it is about time to take a look what happened this summer in College basketball in relation with European talent. We go over the main players recruited from the 2010 class and take a look forward to the Class of 2011 and 2012.

The most active College on the European market this summer was Gonzaga. After having brought in Elias Harris last summer with the success that we could see this season, the coaching staff around Mark Few did again a great job by signing two U18 National Team players in Mathis Keita and Mathis Mönninghoff. Both players will most likely have an immediate impact for the WCC team. Mönninghoff brings the necessary threat from behind the three-point line, good defense and basketball understanding while Keita will probably do some damage on NCAA level when attacking the gaps that the defense gives him. He will also help to create good positions for Harris as the defense needs to collapse on the drives of the French guard.

After having played a bit surprisingly the Nike Hoop Summit in 2008, the Norwegian guard Torgrim Sommerfeldt went through several injuries that kept him away from the court over months. He is now back and has signed with the small College of Manhattan in order to find back his previous sensations. Being born in 1989, he will be among the oldest freshman in the country and will certainly use his experience in order to be a major factor right from the start in the MAAC. He has been considered by Wake Forest after his Hoop Summit performance but this did not happen because of his injuries. Sommerfeldt wants to show now that he has the level to compete on US College level and re-launch his career a bit later than thought.

Probably the biggest move out of Europe this summer was the signing of Niels Giffey by the University of Connecticut. The versatile forward combines an excellent size with great basketball skills and an improving shooting touch. Giffey led his team to the national U19 championship in Germany 1 year ago and can be used on multiple positions. He is certainly one of the recruits with the best basketball understanding and he should not struggle to become a very important part of the UConn rotation right from Day 1. Having been coached by former Tar Heel Henrik Rödl, Giffey chose the way through an US College despite having offers and potential impact on the German professional level for the current season. His international experience is above average and with his athletic abilities, he should not have a problem to adapt to the North-American style of play.

The story of the summer though is the qualification of Enes Kanter to be eligible to play for the University of Kentucky. After the Turkish phenomenon has come to the United States last summer travelling from school to school in order to get ready for the NCAA, the summer has been filled with accusations coming from different directions on his amateur status in the time back at Fenerbahce Ülker Istanbul. While on the one side, you have the Turkish team claiming that Kanter got paid when playing for their professional team, Kanter’s entourage is telling the opposite. The file is currently at the NCAA and waiting for decision. After the changes undergone by the NCAA to stop the suspensions of players that just played as an amateur in a professional team (Lucca Staiger, Deniz Kilicli), this case is more complicated because of the direct involvement of his original team saying that they paid the PF/C and it seems that every side tries to push its interest in a very harsh and not always fair-play way. We will see how this will end. Check out this article to get a nice outline of the different parties involved and their respective interests in the Kanter case.

Poland is a hot recruiting stop at the moment as several Colleges are showing interest in their highly talented 1993 generation. Tommy Lloyd from Gonzaga told in a recent interview that he just came back from Poland while we heard as well that the University of Cincinnati is currently in the Eastern European country to recruit. The main targets are of course Mateusz Ponitka, Tomasz Gielo and Przemyslaw Karnowski but a player like Piotr Niedzwiedzki is also getting some interest. All of these prospects are members of the 2012 Class and will draw more and more interest over the next months because of the limited number of good big men in the US for that class.

Another major College Basketball target in Europe these days is Nemanja Bezbradica. The Serbian big guy, who was wrongly considered as a member of the 2011 class by several news outlets (including Europeanprospects.com), is being followed by many big names in College basketball as a member of the potential 2012 class. The biggest name chasing him is of course the University of Kentucky that was particularly impressed with him after scouting Bezbradica during the U17 World Championship this summer in Hamburg.

Two Australians with European background, Igor Hadziomerovic and Anthony Drmic travelled the US over the last days to do some College Recruiting visits. While Hadziomerovic, who is of Serbian descent, shared the names of the colleges he checked out, it was more difficult to know the names for the Croatian Drmic. Hadziomerovic visited Seton Hall, Portland and Boise State but he is not sure yet about his decision. Drmic was also visiting Boise State and Portland but went as well to see Valparaiso and the Australian hot spot St. Mary’s.

Follow all European College Recruiting on our NCAA Recruiting Page. Check here the names of all Europeans recruited in the Class of 2010. Check here the previews on the Class of 2011. Find out which Europeans currently in the USA are being recruited.

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