European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

NIJT Kaunas 2012: the Wings

February 17th, 2012 · No Comments

After presenting you the best guards of the tournament, we will continue with the most interesting wing players today.

Marius Grigonis – 1m98 – SF/PG – 1994 – Zalgiris Kaunas

The most versatile player of the tournament has been the Lithuanian all-around guy Marius Grigonis. We already liked him a lot in previous reports where we covered him but what he showed in Kaunas lets you think about his real potential. Grigonis is able to play multiple positions as he has the size to move up to the SF but has the game understanding of a PG. With his athletic abilities and ball handling, he should normally play the PG spot in the future on the professional level as his creativity and basketball IQ put him on this position.

Grigonis excels when he can run the point and play Pick-and-Roll situations where he reads the gaps so well and can either finish from close against bigger players, find the roller for the pass or see the back-door cutter for the spectacular play. With his size, he is very present in the defensive rebound in order to start the fast break immediately which is another part of his versatile game. He oversees the whole court and likes to share the ball with his team mates (he had 16 assists in the Final). Defensive hedging situations are solved by him without any major problem as he can split the defense with a quick direction change, good ball handling and overall technique.

Next to his team leader and court vision qualities, Grigonis can also hit the shot from outside. He is not forcing the decision from there as he attacks the basket so well but in catch-and-shoot situations, he has the feel to make from around the three-point arc. He nailed for example 6/7 threes one year ago in the last day of the Hospitalet tournament. Defensively, he puts a lot of pressure and effort to the court which makes him dangerous on both ends of the court. Grigonis should be able to crack the rotation on the professional level with the Zalgiris second team next season without any major problem. The question mark on him is how far can he go as he most likely needs to find a position to develop into a contributor on the Euroleague level in the beginning.

Stats: 13.0ppg (58.8% 2FGs – 36.4% 3FGs – 83.3% FTs) 6.3rpg, 7.3apg

Tomas Dimsa – 1m93 – SF/SG – 1994 – Zalgiris Kaunas

The highly athletic Lithuanian wing has been elected the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Dimsa showed during the days in Kaunas that he can develop into a high-level defender as he has a great wingspan, unlimited motor and excellent athletic abilities for European standards. He was always used to shut down the best opposing guard which he did to nearly perfection. On the offensive side, he is always ready to come up with the highlight play and can finish above the rim easily despite his limited size which will relegate him to the SG position in the future.

He reads the gaps very well and sees when to go back-door and has the natural feeling to be at the right place in the right moment. Dimsa can attack the basket with either hand and finish against the big guys with the acrobatic or physical play. His three-point shot though looks not so regular, he hit only 5 out of 14 attempts, but he did not have to use it that much as he was scoring so many easy points on the break or after creations of his team mate Grigonis. With his excellent body structure but being one of the oldest players in the tournament, Dimsa’s upside is probably more limited than the one of Grigonis. But he still should be able to become a serious rotation for Zalgiris in the next years.

Stats: 20.0ppg (79.4% 2FGs – 35.7% 3FGs) 3.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.3spg, 1.0bpg

Stanislav Ilnitskiy – 2m01 – PF/SF – 1994 – Khimki Moscow

The Russian forward had to play a lot of PF because of the limited size of his team. With his 2m01, his future should however be on the SF position but we could not see a lot of minutes from him playing outside. He mainly scored in the paint with different back to the basket plays like the turn around jump shot or the jump hook with his right or left hand. Ilnitskiy was very present on the defensive glass where he did a good job without being great though.

When stepping outside, he likes to take the three point shot which he can make at a fair rate but is not so effective when putting the ball on the floor. This is the main question mark for Ilnitskiy as he did not show much when facing the basket with this competition. He showed some interesting passing skills in high-low situations but his effectiveness mainly came on the inside positions where he will have limits on the professional level. He needs to improve his outside skills if he wants to develop into a good prospect for the next level but his upside potential seems to be limited right now.

Stats: 19.3ppg (45.8% 2FGs – 37.5% 3FGs) 7.3rpg, 1.8apg

Arno Mollekens – 1m95 – PF – 1994 – TopSportSchool

The main inside presence of the Belgian team was the short but physical Arno Mollekens. A very emotional right handed PF with probably limited upside but excellent feeling for rebounding the ball, Mollekens can be a very good role player for the dirty work on a low- to mid-major Division 1 level. His main force is his defensive presence when he showed good positioning and boxing out. He suffers of course against really tall players but is able to guard back-to-the-basket players up to may 2m05. Offensively, his game is a bit limited as he scores nearly all of his baskets in the paint. This works however only against short teams as he looked afraid against 2m10+ guys. He can put the ball on the floor when stepping outside but he will not often take the jump shot. His upside is for sure limited be he is physically ready to play on a different level.

Stats: 9.8ppg (47.6% 2FGs – 72.7% FTs) 7.8rpg, 1.5apg, 1.5spg, 0.8bpg

Jan Krivanek – 2m03 – SF/PF – 1994 – USK Future Stars

One of the few Czech players that stood out in our eyes was the 2m03 tall Jan Krivanek. The 1994 born played mostly facing the basket and putting the ball on the floor. He showed good speed doing so and runs the court well. He did not have any particular move that you would consider as his go-to thing but overall, Krivanek did a correct job playing both the SF and PF position. He finished some plays with a nice running hook after a spin move or with the occasional three-point shot. With his good size, he is a player to follow on the long-term but he will most likely not develop into a high-level prospect in our eyes but a correct player for mid-level leagues.

Stats: 11.5ppg (50.0% 2FGs) 5.8rpg

Ivars Zvigurs – 1m93 – SF/SG – 1995 – VEF Riga

Ivars Zvigurs is one of the younger prospects that showed however some interesting potential as a slasher. The Latvian forward did an amazing job rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor and could therefore create several second chances for his team. He likes to attack the basket hard, also because his shot is not his major option. Being only 16 years old, he might have some centimeters left in order to get a bit bigger. Zvigurs can finish against more physical or taller players as he has good hang time and is not afraid to attack. He is a player to follow for the future who might develop into an interesting prospect in the next years as he has still a good progress margin left.

Stats: 12.3ppg (41.2% 2FGs) 8.5rpg, 3.0apg, 2.3spg, 2.3topg

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