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NIJT FMP Tournament 2010: the Guards

February 15th, 2010 · No Comments

In the first part of the detailed player reports from the FMP City of Belgrade Nike International Junior Tournament Qualifier, I will talk about the guards that have marked me the most. Due to the competition timetable, I could not scout some players in the extend I would like to so that there may be players missing in the reports that should be in there.

Mathis Keita (1m92 – 1992 – CFBB/INSEP)

In the absence of the strong guards of the 92 generation that the INSEP features, Mathis Keita was the clear leader of the team that played in the FMP tournament. The quick and athletic guard showed a great scoring talent, being dangerous on the drive and from behind the arc. On his penetration plays, he can finish with difficult floaters and dish it out when the help is coming. He has especially worked over the last years to improve his court-vision and decision making skills as he is developing into a real point guard while being more of a scoring SG before.

His three-point shot looks a bit strange, the mechanics are not very pure or regular. However, he can hit the long distance shots in series and can decide games like this. He wants the ball in the hot moments and lead his team to the win. From behind the arc, he is more secure when having the ball in catch and shoot fashion, but he can also make them when receiving a bad pass or low pass. Out of the dribble, his three point shot looks not as good, even if he can hit it on a step back for example. During the current season in the French championship, he has only made 13 out 70 threes which shows how variable his percentage is from behind the arc. He needs also to work on his FT shooting as he is going to the line pretty often and not the regular free throw shooter as he should be (48.6% in the French League).

What makes Keita very interesting for the future is however his versatility and presence all-around the court. Next to his scoring, he is going hard to the rebound and can launch the fast break immediately. He excels of course in the open court where his speed and creativity help him to get easy baskets. But he has made the most progress in passing where he is the team leader right now.

Stats: 13.2ppg (40.6% 2FG – 37.5% 3FG – 68.4% FT) 4.2rpg 5.6apg 15.6effpg

Hugo Invernizzi had some ups and downs in his tournament but he was the most regular shooting danger of the French team. But despite having his best scoring game in the Final, he missed all of his three point attempts in this game. Invernizzi features a very nice looking jump shot, both out of the dribble and in catch-and-shoot fashion. He is rather strong already and does a good job for the team on the defensive end too. The guard understands what he has to do on the court and showed good control of his game and decision making.

Stats: 11.4ppg (47.6% 2FG – 38.9% 3FG – 80% FT) 0.6topg

Benjamin John played an interesting tournament for INSEP as the 1m86 tall guard showed some excellent three point shooting. He has a nice drive that he executes with some hesitation and stutter steps and he plays surprisingly under control. His footwork and fundamentals look interesting, he was one of the rare players of the French team not being a constant danger of being called for travelling when attacking with the dribble. He sees the open looks but is not particularly strong in his playmaking skills which limit him for the next level.

Stats: 8.6ppg (47.0% 2FG – 53.3% 3FG) 2.2apg

Nenad Miljenovic (1m94 – 1993 – FMP Belgrade)

The Serbian guard is currently not in the best phase of his development in my eyes. After having stunned everybody at the NIJT 2009 in Berlin, Miljenovic did not lived up the hype he generated there since. After having seen him in Rome, he has shown also here in Belgrade the same strange shot selection as he went for a lot of difficult mid-range shots which he could not connect. His poor free-throw shooting percentages confirm this negative trend. The presence of Dejan Musli next to him last spring in Berlin gave him a lot of freedom, but he has not yet reached the status of being a decent leader of his team without him. I did not see the Final of the tournament though, so my thoughts are based on the games I saw before.

Still taking out all the negative, Miljenovic is of course a highly talented player. The way he can create opportunities for himself or his team mates is great and he can score close to the basket with beauty and ease even against the biggest players as he has a good feeling for the usage of his body. He reads well what the defense gives him and with his speed and vista, he can react to that and go for the score. He seems to understand the game pretty well, giving the ball to the right players in the right moments.

Miljenovic played more of a SG role in the games I saw in Belgrade, running around the screens to get open positions out of which he created. He excels coming of screens from the weak side to get open and score the layups with either his left or right hand. He has excellent size for playing the PG which will also be his future on the professional level. He has all the tools to become a great player, it will be on him to decide how far he can go. Currently, I have some doubts on his attitude and working ethics which may hinder him from becoming a really great player but this may be only a temporary thing for a young player.

Stats: 13.2ppg (47.5% 2FG – 36.4% 3FG – 55.1% FT) 4.6rpg 6.4apg 3.4topg 17.0effpg

Vasilije Micic had to take over the Starting job during the tournament because of the injury of Milos Zivkovic. And the least one could say is that the 1994 born player had a good tournament. He showed some nice drives and had good hesitation moves in order to connect to the open man. In defense, he was extremely present on the man and gave a lot of hustle on the full-court press. He can hit the three-point shot but he mainly excels on the drive and dish situations. His penetration attracts a lot of help defense which opens positions for the inside players that he sees and gives the ball to perfectly. Being one of the youngest players of the tournament, he will be among the leaders of the strong Serbian U16 team that can already be considered as one of the favorites for this summer’s European Championship.

Stats: 8.2ppg (62.5% 2FG – 41.7% 3FG) 2.2rpg 3.2apg 3.0spg

Marko Mugosa showed in Belgrade why he is considered among the top prospects coming from Montenegro. The 1993 born and 1m97 tall SG showed nice scoring potential and he was one of the few players that also has a developed mid-range game. He can attack the basket with his left or right hand and finishes especially strong when driving right. Due to his aggressive penetrations, he draws a lot of fouls and goes often to the line. He can also go for the jump shot out of the dribble or create for his team mates in Pick and Roll situations. He reads well what the defense gives him and can also hit the difficult and important shots. Mugosa moves well without the ball to create open spaces for himself and to force the defense to adjust.

Stats: 19.6ppg (45.0% 2FG – 31.8% 3FG – 66.6% FT) 5.0rpg 4.0topg 12.6effpg

Nikola Radicevic played a very nice tournament for Partizan Belgrade and was among the main reasons why his team reached the semi-finals. Radicevic forms the guard duo with the above mentioned Micic of the highly talented Serbian U16 National Team. The left handed 1994 born guard showed nice drives to the basket which he could finish with both hands. He can make the difficult layups against the big guys and his great size (1m95) helps him of course a lot. He has good speed and reads the defense very well. He already has the tricks of the European game (simulating offensive fouls, …) and likes to have the ball in the decisive moments. His decision making is still improvable which is quite normal for such a young player. He needs however to develop his passing and creation for others as right now he is a pure scoring PG.

Stats: 11.4ppg (50% 2FG – 31.3% 3FG – 72.7% FT) 9.4effpg

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