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Europeans in the Conference Tournaments 2012

March 13th, 2012 · No Comments

This weekend were the last finals of the different Conference Tournaments in NCAA Division 1 Basketball. We take a quick look at what we could learn of the performances of some European players that were active in the different games.

Nemanja Djurisic – 2m03 – PF – 1992 – Georgia – Freshman

The Montenegrin forward showed an excellent first season in College Basketball. He finished the season with 7.0ppg and 4.2rpg while shooting 36.4% from behind the arc in his freshman year. Djurisic who plays mainly as power forward with the ability of stepping out for the long shot scores due to his good positioning when being close to the basket. He looks physically strong but is not very athletic or fast. He did not show any major post moves except the jump hook which he could finish with either hand until 2-3 meters away. He is your typical floor player who knows how to use his body, box out and find the right spots on the court. His lack of athletic abilities are a problem when he plays against taller or more explosive inside players as he struggles somehow to finish against this kind of opposition. Djurisic can however step out to the three point line from where he can make the shot. He likes to drive with his right hand as well and play the pass out of the penetration. The precision of these plays though is not so great and he needs to adjust this part of his game in the future.

Elias Harris – 2m00 – PF/SF – 1989 – Gonzaga – Junior

The German athlete comes out of a season where he showed some good progress compared to what we have seen in 2010-2011. After his great freshman year with Gonzaga, Harris is again improving his numbers, especially in rebounding. But the major part is that he has found a better rhythm concerning his 3pt shooting where he is back above 40% this season. This is mainly the result because of more regulated and cleaner shooting mechanics from behind the arc. His shot looks a lot more fluid to what we were used too. However, Harris still mainly plays as an energizer in the post where he tries to impose his physique and athleticism without having any really polished post moves. His footwork can still improve but turning already 23 this summer, the question remains what his upside still is. Athletically, he remains among the better prospects but his improvement in ball handling and mid range game are still not good enough to be a factor on the SF position. It will be very interesting to see what he will do this summer concerning his future career choices.

Jeffery Taylor – 2m00 – SF/PF – 1989 – Vanderbilt – Senior

Similar player type than Harris but clearly developing in a different direction throughout his College process, Jeffery Taylor has improved major parts of his game during his days at Vanderbilt. The Swedish forward came to the US without being a major threat from outside but he has now great regularity from behind the arc shooting over 43% with nearly 5 three point attempts per game. His overall shooting mechanics look good and we could also see some nice mid-range shoots created by himself through a tough step back on the drive. Next to that, Taylor is still a great athlete, less rebounder than Harris though, but playing on the SF position on long stretches may be an explanation for that. He needs though to improve his free-throw shooting (currently only 61%) if he wants to get a shot in the NBA next season.

Patrick Heckmann – 1m95 – SF/SG – 1992 – Boston College – Freshman

The German multi-use prospect comes out of the Freshman season with lots of ups and downs. Sidelined during several weeks because of a mononucleosis, Heckmann was back in time for the Conference tournament where he could however not help his team overcome the future finalists from North Carolina State. Overall, his only game in the tournament looked not too bad as he showed great intensity on the defensive end where he rebounded the ball well to immediately launch the fast break. His shoot looks improved to what we knew from him as it is more fluid and executed with better mechanics right now. He is still a player with nice court-vision and he had several good-looking passes but he also showed his immaturity on the court by trying sometimes too difficult stuff and turned the ball over a bit too much. Nevertheless, it was an encouraging season for the Freshman and he should be able to impose himself as one of the leaders with the Eagles next season.

Niels Giffey – 2m00 – SF – 1991 – Connecticut – Sophomore

The German forward Niels Giffey plays his second season with the Huskies but his overall role in the team has not really improved. After having won the NCAA title last season, UConn struggled this year and was stuck in a bad-inspired offensive stand-still system where Giffey was mainly used as a weak side three-point shooter. It is a bit sad to see how bad the versatile Giffey is used in the UConn offense and that he is immediately benched on the slightest mistake he makes on the court. Personally, I do not really like this development for him right now and he should eventually think about coming back to Germany and sign a pro contract for next season. His overall progress is not really guaranteed with what he does for UConn at the moment. He is still in the tournament so there are still some games that remain for him this year and we are looking forward to follow these in order to further evaluate him.

Matthew Dellavedova – 1m93 – PG – 1990 – St. Mary’s – Junior

Dellavedova is not a European prospect but born and raised in Australia. However we liked his game so much 4 years ago at the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament so that we decided to follow him a bit more over the last years. He earned this season the WCC player of the Year award and led St. Mary’s to the WCC Championship. He has developed into a serious scoring threat next to his aggressive defense and excellent passing skills. He likes to have the ball in his hands and create opportunities by attacking the basket hard. He finds the big guys close to the rim in good positions but is also doing well on Pick and Roll situations. Out of the drive, he protects the ball to score against taller players on the layup but can also finish on the long floater up to the free-throw line or with a step back jump shot from 4-5 meters. His three-point shot is not the most regular as it turns around 36-39% over his three seasons in California. Dellavedova is a clutch player and overall play maker on a very high level. He might not be athletic enough to have a chance in the NBA but he should be able to make a very nice living of his qualities either in Europe or Australia. And it will be very interesting to see what he is able to do for the Gaels in the NCAA Tournament. Definitely a player to follow.

Charlon Kloof was one of the positive surprises of the A10 Conference Tournament as he led the St. Bonaventure Bonnies to the title despite being only ranked at #3 in the Conference. Kloof is already a sophomore because he spent one year at the Guildord Technical Community College before joining the Canarias Basketball Academy last season. We did not have an opportunity to watch the Bonnies in their conference tournament but hope to see a bit more of Kloof in the NCAA Tournament where they will face Florida State in the first round.

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