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Hospitalet 2009: Review

January 11th, 2009 · No Comments

As I was not present myself in Hospitalet, I publish this report on the tournament that I got from my friend Gerrit Kersten-Thiele who was in Spain for two days.

After watching several games of the first two days of the NIJT in L’Hospitalet I had very mixed feelings about the tournament and the level of play in the tournament. Teams like Joventut Badalona, Lietuvos Rytas, FMP Belgrade, BC Khimki, Real Madrid and Unicaja Malaga very undoubtedly the teams with the most interesting players on their rosters.

I will just give you a short review on the players that I liked in these games. It could be that I missed some guys as several teams did not really show their best games over the first two days as some of the close or surprising results of the tournament show.

Joventut Badalona
Badalona was very impressive as expected. From their pre-game preparation to the end of the game they seemed very well organized and professional. It seemed like almost any player on the team would be able to come in and produce right away.

German F/C Alexander Andreev seemed to not have found is comfort zone on the floor in the setting of Badalona yet, but it was obvious that he has a nice set of skills offensively and defensively to become a good player in the future. It will be interesting to see how he develops in the next 2-3 years and at which position he will be playing in the near future.

Dutch Forward Max Van Schaik has impressed me with his style of play. He hasn’t scored much, but has shown a lot of heart and did not mind to sacrifice his body. His skill set was obvious, but he needs to become more consistent and reliable when trying to create for himself or shooting from the outside. He had my play of the day on day 1, when he got hurt under the basket on the defensive end, it was obvious that he was in pain when staying on the floor as the game continued on the other end. Although he was hurt he got back up quickly when the opposing team had a chance for a fast-break and took a charge, which showed his heart and will to sacrifice himself for his team.

Marko Todorovic and Joan Tomas besides others were two other very promising players that should be followed.

Lietuvos Rytas
Rytas impressed as a very well coached and deep team. They were able to go to their bench to get quality production and to be able to keep the pressure up at all times. Post player Jonas Valanciunas has been a real presence and showed a good post moves on the offensive end, but still needs to work on his shot from mid-range. Defensively he was a real factor changing shots and making it difficult for his opponents to get comfortable.

Guards Ovidijus Varanauskas and Augustas Peciukevicius were very present and seemed to be in control of the game at all times. Both have shown very good court-vision and make very good decisions when passing, driving or shooting the ball. Defensively they both put a lot of pressure on the opposing guards and made it very difficult to set up the offense. Their anticipation and understanding of the game always had them in a position to interrupt the play of the opposing team. Varanauskas has a quick first step and is able to get to the basket to finish strong. His shooting seemed to be a little inconsistent at times, but it was obvious that he can shoot the ball.

Forward/Guard Dovydas Redikas is a strong and athletic forward with a strong drive to the basket and a consistent outside shot. Was a very reliable player on the defensive end and is willing to sacrifice his body to get stops.

Unicaja Malaga
On Malaga it was Tautvydas Sabonis and Augusto Cesar Lima that impressed me the most with their style of play and possible upside. Sabonis showed a good understanding of the game and made some tough shots from the outside. It seems like he still needs to get a better feel for his body and it will be interesting to see, if he will grow a lot more. He has good moves when driving to the basket from the outside to separate himself from his defender.

Lima has been very present on the offensive and defensive board. He was hustling at all times fighting for position and rebounds. He showed solid post moves and it looked like he is able to shoot from mid-range.

FMP Zeleznik Belgrade
FMP looked very well structured and had a pretty strong S5. Players that stood out to me were PG Vukasovic and Dekic. PG Nikola Vukasovic showed very good court-vision and made some incredible passes. He controlled the game very well and was able to create for himself as well as his teammates at all times. His outside shot looked very shaky though, so it seems as if he will have to work on that a lot to reach his full potential as the bad shooing % continued throughout the tournament.

Branislav Dekic has been dominant scoring and rebounding the ball and has been the key player for FMP during the entire tournament.

Real Madrid
Madrid had the Player of the tournament in Nikola Mirotic. He was by far the most talented player in the tournament. His height paired with his athletic ability and creativity made him a very difficult player to stop. He showed a nice post up game as well as a soft outside touch. It seemed as if he was able to create for himself at all times. In the first game he played he seemed a little soft at times and complained too much, but on the other hand it’s always tough for a player who is the cornerstone of the entire team and with most of the focus on him. He did a good job focusing again after tough situations and was able to produce.

Guard Nikola Rakocevic was very active on the defensive and offensive end. He applied pressure on the ball at all times defensively and his good footwork and anticipation made him a real factor defensively. Offensively he did a good job shooting the ball and driving to the basket to create room for his teammates.

I did not see much of Zadar, but liked left-handed forward Ivan Batur who was impressive shooting the ball from long range and driving to the basket. He created well for himself and made good decisions with the ball. It would be interesting to see him more.

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