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JBBL Top4 2014: Player review

May 28th, 2014 · 1 Comment

After having covered the best prospects of the NBBL Top4 2014, this article will talk about the most interesting players of the JBBL Top4 including top prospect Isaiah Hartenstein. It has to be said that the level of individualities in the U16 category was exceptional with a multitude of future high-level players. Here is the report on the most interesting ones.

Isaiah Hartenstein – 2m07 – PF – 1998 – Artland Dragons

The left handed power forward from the hosts of the event showed tremendous individual talent during the two games of the U16 Top4. Hartenstein has all the tools you need as a modern power forward, he can handle the ball, shoot from outside, is athletic, a good rebounder and shot blocker and also an interesting passer. Combined with his size and still some weaknesses that he can work on in the future, Hartenstein looks to be one of the most promising prospects in Europe in the 1998 generation.

The 2m07 tall Hartenstein likes to have the ball in his hands to create from outside. With his strong left hand, he can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot either from mid-range or from behind the arc. His shooting form looks very stable for such a young player and there is not much difference if he is in a catch-and-shoot or pull-up jumper situation. The Artland Dragon player can however also attack the basket on the drive but he struggles to beat smaller players of the dribble as he lacks high-level speed. Against taller power forwards like Sanders, he can beat him on the dribble and finish against them with the foul. Next to his outside shooting, he can also find team mates in high-low situations and he is quite a precise passer to baseline cutters.

In the low post, Hartenstein has a clear preference for using his left hand again, is it on the greatly executed jump hook or on the face-up moves. You could expect him to go even more inside for low post plays but he is more attracted to play from outside especially after he made his first attempt from outside. He can even be used as a Pick and Roll ball handler but he prefers to finish on a jump shot of his own and does not go for the roller that often. Hartenstein is doing an excellent job to crash the boards offensively, also after his own misses, to get second chance points.

On the defensive end, Hartenstein goes hard for the rebounds as well even if he needs to work on his boxing out. He has excellent shot blocking timing and with his length and jumping abilities, he is a constant threat for opposing drivers. His lateral speed is also good for a player of his size and he can even hold smaller players in front of him when they try to beat him on the drive. The son of the former Bundesliga player Flo Hartenstein needs to work though on his right hand on offense which he barely uses so far. He should be able to improve his handles which are not great yet as well. Mentally, Hartenstein has some ups and downs which is still quite normal for such a young prospect. He can score several baskets in a row looking unstoppable and then disappear and get out of his game. It will be highly interesting what are the next steps for Hartenstein who should get some opportunities to play on a higher Senior level next season. As Artland does not have a ProA or ProB team, the best would be to get loaned as he is not yet ready to earn some minutes on the BBL level.

Moritz Sanders – 2m10 – PF/C – 1998 – Tröster Breitengüssbach

Moritz Sanders looks like a really interesting prospect with great size, an interesting frame and a great shooting touch. The former player of Hagen who moved to the Brose Baskets youth program last summer, did however not really use his length in Quakenbrück relying too much on his shot from outside and never really posting up his defenders. The shooting mechanics of the 1998 born are close to perfect with a quick execution and a high release point. He can nail shots from the three-point line and has already the necessary range to even score against the defender when he is even further away.

Sanders can also put the ball on the floor and with his strength finds the way to the basket to score with the foul. He can use either hand on the drive and can control his body stability even when pushed hard by the defender. With his great shooting touch, he can score out of difficult positions, also by using the glass. On the defensive end, Sanders is a big presence because of his size and physical body but he has quite slow feet and is beaten by smaller player when he has to guard them face-to-face. He should also become a more aggressive player in the paint or increase his presence in transition by moving up the court more quickly. Sanders got early in foul trouble in the Final and even got ejected with his 5th foul in a quite stupid way which was a bit of a question mark concerning his approach to the game. But in general, Sanders can be considered as yet another great prospect in the 98 generation as there are not many players of his size, skills and shooting touch around in Europe but he needs to work on his quickness and explosiveness.

Richard Freudenberg – 2m01 – SF – 1998 – Bayern München

The elegant forward from Bayern Munich played a superb semi-final and nearly lead his team to an upset against the hosts from Quakenbrück. Not only that he contained Hartenstein quite well, Freudenberg was also nearly unstoppable on the offensive end giving a real mid-range scoring clinic to anyone in attendance. Freudenberg was able to create his shot at will despite not being the fastest guy on court but he has such an arsenal of fakes and offensive moves with the ball in his hands that no defender could stop him. The athletic forward was dangerous from everywhere with the ball in his hands but he rarely attacked the basket from the three-point line having a preference for the stop in the mid-range territory. His jump shot from there is a beauty even if the execution could be a bit faster.

When Freudenberg was guarded by a smaller player, he also went to the low-post and showed that he can score from there with ease. His footwork is tremendous and he reads the defense so well that he recognizes the smallest holes to get a good opening. Clearly a Small Forward in the future, Freudenberg had to play on the PF position because of the lack of size of his team. He was even used as a high-low pass receiver occasionally and he showed good positioning in these situations. With his great skill set and interesting body, Freudenberg has all the tools for the highest level as he looks to be a really focused kid with a lot of experience despite his young age. He is yet another German player who can be considered a top prospect in the 98 generation in Europe.

Kostja Mushidi – 1m90 – SG/PG – 1998 – Bonn/Rhöndorf

Another impressive prospect in the U16 Top4 was Kostja Mushidi from Bonn/Rhöndorf. Used in multiple positions, Mushidi showed good ball handling skills, creativity and excellent athletic abilities on the different back court positions. Capable of scoring from outside and on the drive, Mushidi was also doing a good job as Pick and Roll ballhandler. He can finish with either hand when attacking the basket and likes to go all the way to the hoop. With his jump and great wingspan, Mushidi can dunk easily in transition and should become a player who has no problems to play above the rim when fully grown. Mushidi needs to work on his jump shot which is still far from being totally reliable both from the three-point line and in the mid-range area. He likes to take these shots and can already score on them but he is not yet fully reliable from these spots.

Next to his offensive potential, Mushidi can also develop into a great defender as he has all the physical tools to become stopper in the backcourt. With his long arms, Mushidi is a constant threat in the passing lanes but can also reject shots. He has already a surprising understanding of the game as he reads driving trajectories of the other team and finds the good position to take a charge. With all these tools and already the possibility to play on the Senior level in the third German division, Kostja Mushidi can develop into a really interesting and versatile player over the next years. It will be interesting to see what will be his role with the German U16 National team this summer which does not lack of scoring talent on all positions.

Alex Möller was the most interesting inside player in the team of Bonn/Rhöndorf. The 2m06 tall Center showed some finishes with either hand in the paint with an interesting game with his back to the basket. Möller can also take the mid-range jump shot but is more efficient close to the basket where he can use his size and physical strength. The 1998 born can also drive to the basket from outside as his ball handling is quite good for a player of his size.

Anton Geretzki did not play very long in the semi-final because of an injury but it was enough to see that the 1m98 tall forward has potential. Born late in 1998, Geretzki has a lot of upside as an athletic swingman who can shot from mid-range and behind the arc. Gifted with good speed, he can attack the hoop and finish with his weak hand on the glass and also create his shot out of the dribble. Certainly a player to follow and see more times to get a better understanding of his potential.

Nicolas Wolf played an outstanding Top4 knowing that he was only 14 years old during the event as he is born in July 1999. The 1m90 tall Shooting Guard has great mechanics in his shot release and can easily take the jump shot from behind the arc out of the dribble. Wolf needs to work a little bit on the quickness of his shot execution but this will come when he will be fully grown. He is also a very good presence in the defensive rebound where he showed great timing and positioning to get the missed shots in his hands. With his emotional presence on the court and leadership, Wolf should be able to become one of the best players in the JBBL next season.

Noah Kamdem is absolute physical beast on the U16 level with a very wide and muscular body, good athleticism but also a nice shooting touch. The 1m97 tall power forward worked a lot in the low post where he was tough to guard when powering with his back to the basket. Kamdem though could also use the face-up game as his first step is really nice and he has interesting speed and ball handling as well. He has the feel to score the basketball and finds the way to the basket when he wants even if he can knock the shot from mid-range and even the three-point territory.

Alexandre Fanchini was a the key player for Bayern Munich next to Richard Freudenberg. The 1999 born PG played with superb intensity on both ends of the floor and dictated the rhythm of the Bayern game. He put a lot of pressure on the opponents with his great lateral speed and had a couple of nice steals because of his quick hands. The 1m78 tall Fanchini was great in transition and he was not afraid to go all the way to the hoop for the tough finish in the paint. He can score the layup with his weak hand against taller defenders.

Thorben Döding was another 1999 born PG but he was in a different style than Fanchini. A lot less physical but gifted with a great wingspan, Döding was the organizer of the Artland offense who showed some great reads on the Pick and Roll offense and no forcing at all. Döding took only the shots that were offered to him but he also attacked the basket nicely to finish in the paint with different moves. The 1m80 tall Döding will certainly play a much bigger role in the JBBL next season when he needs to carry more scoring load as well but he looks already now as one of the more interesting players of the German 1999 generation.

Jan Philipp Mügge had an incredible scoring outburst in the semi-final where he scored 9 three-pointers and established a new JBBL record. Mügge who is a 1m89 tall and 1998 born SG looks already quite matured physically and does not seem to have the biggest upside. However, with his shooting touch from behind the arc, he was a key player for Artland in the Top4. He can make the long-range shot in both catch-and-shoot and out of the dribble, even after a cross over. Mügge also likes to create his own shot from the mid-range territory but rarely attacks the hoop completely.

Karl Potratz had an important role in the Artland team structure as the physical guard attacked the basket multiple times with his good speed and the ability to score in the paint. He can finish after the full court coast-to-coast against the defense but also knows how to use his body to protect himself against taller players. Not the biggest threat from outside, Potratz lives from his ball handling and direction changes when attacking the basket. The impact of the 1m80 tall player in the NBBL will be interesting to see, especially if he can develop a three point shot in the future (1/13 over the 20 games this season).

Philipp Herkenhoff looked like a really promising player of the 1999 generation in the Artland Dragons team. Already 1m98 tall, Herkenhoff seems to have left some more centimeters left in his growth as he is only 14. However, he displays great speed and agility on the court with and without the ball. He can score from outside even if his shooting mechanics are not fully stable yet but he has also good footwork and ball handling when attacking the basket. Herkenhoff is definitely a player to watch even if he needs to start working on his physical strength but this is not urgent at the moment.

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