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NBBL/JBBL Top4 2015: NBBL Player Review

May 31st, 2015 · No Comments

Here are the scouting reports on the main prospects from the NBBL Top4 2015 in Hagen. These include players like Niklas Kiel, Richard Freudenberg or Jonas Grof.

Jonas Grof – 2m01 – PG – 1996 – Phoenix Hagen

The tall and athletic Grof was the key player for the hosts during the semi-final. Having already earned several minutes on the Bundesliga level, Grof showed his experience by attacking the basket constantly and leading the way with his scoring. Even if he likes a bit too much the mid-range pull up jumper, the 2m01 tall guard can go all the way to the rim to finish off two feet in the paint. With his size and athleticism, Grof is quite an unique player as he is mainly used as a PG for his team. His ball handling skills are great for a player that tall. If Grof can stabilize shot and adjust the mechanics a bit, he can become a very interesting player down the road. Hagen has put themselves on the map over recent years for giving lots of minutes to local players on the highest level so that it will be a great situation for Grof in order to gain further experience on the different guard positions in the future.

Marcel Kessen – 2m07 – PF/C – 1997 – Phoenix Hagen

Marcel Kessen was the main inside option for Hagen and he has shown really interesting progress over the last months. Not only has he grown a few centimeters, Kessen looks a lot more agile than what I remember from pervious games. The 2m07 tall inside player has quite a good touch on his shots, but he abuses a bit of it and rarely gives the ball back once he has received it. This makes him a very dangerous scorer on this level as he tries to put the ball in the basket as much as possible. Out of the low post, Kessen can finish on the turn around jump shot or go for some basic jump hook or drop step finishes. He is capable of using either hand when close enough to the basket and with his great intensity and quick feet, he can create the necessary space for getting his shots up. However, he often tends to go out of balance when attempting to score which keeps him away from becoming more effective.

Kessen is also dangerous from around the key and will most likely develop into a threat from behind the three-point line in the future. He has developed a nice first step to attack the closeouts but he lacks the necessary body stability so far to finish with hard contacts in the paint. Being still very young, this is something that will come with the years for sure. The Hagen big guy is next to his offensive presence also a great rebounder. He always finds the right spots to grab the ball and likes to push it in transition as well. Kessen has a wide body and should be able to add some weight over the next years. On the other hand, the 1997 born lacks great athletic abilities which might prevent him from developing into a top level prospect down the road.

Haris Hujic – 1m93 – SG – 1997 – Phoenix Hagen

Haris Hujic was the second scoring option in the Phoenix back court. Mainly used as a shooter, Hujic is very dangerous on kick-out passes for the catch and shoot situations as he has a really quick release and good shooting mechanics. He can though also create his own shot out of the dribble and will most likely play more of a PG role in the future with his new team in Nürnberg. Hujic has good size to run the point and he is not afraid to attack the rim where he has a multitude of options to score.

Niklas Kiel – 2m07 – PF – 1997 – Frankfurt

Niklas Kiel was a key player for the run of Eintracht Frankfurt to the Top 4. The German power forward is developing into a full stretch forward with both an inside and outside game. Kiel has improved his shooting from behind the arc and can knock down three-point shots on a regular basis, especially in catch-and-shoot situations. This improved outside shot draws the defense to come out at him which he can punish with a good first step when putting the ball on the floor. Kiel reads the defenses and can also go for the kick out on these situations. With his athletic abilities, he can finish his drives above the rim and with a growing body and the experience of working with the first team in Frankfurt, Kiel should develop even more in this area.

Inside the paint, Kiel improved in his explosiveness as well and has a way better second jump now than previously. This helps him to become very effective on the offensive glass where he can create multiple second chances. On the defensive end, Kiel has good feet in order to defend players attacking the basket from outside. With his great rebounding instincts, he is very valuable asset in the paint and can initiate the fast break really well. Still very young, Niklas Kiel looks like one of the most promising German prospects on his position and it should not last that long until he sees first minutes on a regular basis with the Fraport Skyliners.

Jules Akodo – 1m88 – PG – 1996 – Frankfurt

Jules Akodo played a good Top 4 in his role as scoring PG. Physically strong, more than nearly anyone in the event, Akodo showed improving shooting skills from behind the arc. He was very effective during the semi-final but struggled with his shot in the Final. In catch-and-shoot situations, he can execute his move perfectly but tends to lose the right movement once being put under pressure. His good first step though helps him to remain dangerous when the shot is not falling and he can go all the way to the basket for the score. Out of the drives, he sees his team mates well and had some nice drive and kick plays during the Top4. Out of the defensive rebound, where he is quite present for a guard, he can go full coast-2-coast and also finish off his weak hand at the rim. It will be interesting to see what’s next for the British prospect as he has finished his NBBL eligibility but can not play as a local for the Skyliners pro team.

Lennart Okeke – 1m91 – SG – 1996 – Frankfurt

Okeke was the main shooting option for the finalists. The 1m91 tall guard was effective both from the behind the arc and the mid-range territory. Okeke was more a target for the kick-out passes than being able to create his shot out of the dribble. However, he was really doing well when he come off screens for the jump shot. Displaying a good speed, Okeke needs to improve his ball handling a bit in order to be capable of attacking the basket on the highest level. He might lack the necessary physical strength to score against taller players but he can develop into an interesting role player for a team lacking shooting skills.

Armin Musovic – 1m94 – PG – 1996 – Frankfurt

The second PG from Frankfurt played an interesting Top4. In fact, Armin Musovic was their best Pick and Roll ball handler and the guard created multiple baskets for either himself or one of his team mates out of these situations. Capable of shooting from behind the arc as well, Musovic has a good package to become a factor on the professional level. With his good speed on the drive and the capacity to create the necessary space to score against taller players, Musovic showed that technically he can make the next step in a near future. He lacks though a physical presence as he looks quite thin which might become a problem on the pro level.

Armin Trtovac – 2m10 – C – 1997 – Frankfurt

One of the rare real big guys in the event, Armin Trtovac was a key player for the finalists as he took a lot of space in the paint and was also capable to score a few baskets when he received the ball in the right position. Neither explosive nor athletic, Trtovac has a large body though and looks quite strong. He can find a position in the paint and when he receives the ball, he has good hands to convert the passes into baskets. Additionally, Trtovac can knock down jump shots from around the key but he barely lifts the ground when he shoots. A Serbian native but coming originally from Mainz, Trtovac could be an interesting addition even for a Serbian U18 National Team because of his size and presence in the paint. He might not develop into a top level prospect because of his athletic short comings but his body will make him an interesting player to follow another year in the NBBL.

Karim Jallow – 1m95 – SG – 1997 – Bayern München

Karim Jallow underlined during the Top4 what we saw from him in Kaunas at the ANGT, a high level defensive player with super energy and good athletic abilities. Not the biggest scorer, Jallow had a clear role in this Bayern team where he was surrounded by talented scorers and good big guys. His shooting remains a work in progress and the execution remains slow. However, Jallow is great in transition where he can use his speed and above average athletic abilities to push the ball and go all the way to the basket. His biggest strength though remains his capacity to shut down a player on defense with his great lateral speed, hustle and length. Jallow should be able to develop into a good asset for any BBL team in the next years.

Richard Freudenberg – 2m02 – SF – 1998 – Bayern München

Elected MVP of the Top4, Richard Freudenberg was impressive during the Final where he got a spot in the Starting 5 despite being the youngest player on the team. A real shot maker, Freudenberg could dominate the NBBL for his three years of eligibility because he can do everything on the court. Improving athletic abilities, better decisions on defense and a growing leadership are some of the characteristics that could be seen in Hagen. Freudenberg has developed one of the most beautiful jump shots which he can knock down from everywhere on the court. He likes to create his own shots out of the dribble but still rarely goes all the way to the hoop for the finish. It is still impressive how he can decide a game when being 2 years younger than the competition and the question is when will he start to have an impact on the Senior level as he has always been premature.

Dejan Kovacevic – 2m07 – PF – 1996 – Bayern München

Dejan Kovacevic has developed into a really interesting prospect for the PF position. Capable of shooting from outside as well as from mid-range, the Serbian native showed some good skills off the dribble during the two days in Hagen. Kovacevic has quick feet and knows how to put the ball on the floor and can even come up with the occasional spin move followed by a jump shot. However, the long forward rarely attacks the basket when coming from outside and prefers the mid range game over the clashes in the paint. Good rebounder, Kovacevic though lacks a bit of toughness to become a really versatile inside-outside player.

Marvin Ogunsipe – 2m04 – PF – 1996 – Bayern München

The second inside option for the Bayern Munich team was the Austrian Power Forward Marvin Ogunsipe. Gifted with a good outside shot, Ogunsipe mainly had two moves on offense. Either he scored in the Pick and Pop situation from behind the arc or he used his left hand to attack the basket and score at the rim. With these two plays on offense, he could create some danger against any defense on this level. Additionally, Ogunsipe likes to play in the paint as showed some nice passes out of low post situations. On the defensive end, the Austrian was a key player because of his length and versatility to defend to different positions. He likes also to jump into the passing lanes in order to steal the ball and run the transition. It will be interesting to see what the next steps are for Ogunsipe as he can not play as a German player in the Bundesliga.

Tim Schneider – 2m05 – PF – 1997 – ALBA Berlin

The lonely bright spot on the ALBA team during the semi-final was the 1997 born Power Forward Tim Schneider. Physically strong, Schneider was very present in rebounding on both sides of the court. The 2m05 tall player can hit a shot from outside but it is not his first option. He prefers to work in the paint where he can use his strength. Additionally, Schneider looks to have developed a nice drive over the last year as he attacked the basket from outside and even showed a spin move here and there before the finish. With Moritz Wagner leaving for Michigan, Tim Schneider should have a lot of responsibilities next season in the NBBL and he could develop into a really interesting prospect for ALBA.