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NIJT l´Hospitalet 2011: the Wings

January 17th, 2011 · No Comments

After the first part that discussed the guards in the 2011 edition of the l’Hospitalet tournament, we will speak today about the main wing prospects with among them the MVP of the tournament, Marcus Eriksson from Sweden.

Alexander Zakharov – 2m00 – SF – 1993 – Khimki Moscow

The Russian forward was a danger from around the three-point arc. He could come up with impressive shooting series with very smooth mechanics and good size to play the Small Forward position. However, his long-distance shot is some kind of streaky at the moment and Zakharov looks to be more an instinct player than somebody who executes precise plays. He runs the floor very well and could be an excellent transition player as well. The Khimki forward can finish the break, also with the foul but he needs to improve his free-throw shooting accuracy to become more regular. With all that said, Zakharov has lots of tools to work with and develop into a very interesting player in the future.

Stats: 16.3ppg (54.4% 2FGs – 43.8% 3FGs – 53.5% FTs), 5.5rpg, 2.8topg, 14.5rkgpg

Modou Mbaye – 2m01 – SF/PF – 1994 – Real Madrid

One of the two players from Real Madrid with African descents, Modou Mbaye showed some skills in the tournament but could never really bring them on the court over a full game. He started well against the weakest team in the competition but saw less and less minutes from there. Mbaye has interesting athletic abilities and seems to understand the game a bit. He likes to attack the basket from outside or take the long-distance shot despite mechanics that are still in the making. He shoots the ball in front of his face and the whole movement is not very fluid. The Senegalese born Mbaye should be able to develop into an excellent defensive player at least as he has the necessary lateral speed and athletic abilities but more also the heart and fighting spirit to do so.

Stats: 5.0ppg (37.5% 2FGs – 9.1% 3FGs), 4.0rpg, 2.8rkgpg

Daniel Diez – 2m01 – SF/PF – 1993 – Real Madrid

The clear offensive leader of the tournament finalist Real Madrid was the Spanish National Team player Daniel Diez. Playing mainly on the Small Forward position to attack the basket from outside, Diez showed nice progress over the days in Barcelona to step up with his biggest game in the final (where we were not there anymore to scout). Nevertheless, the games before gave us enough opportunities to see how Diez has developed since the U16 European Championship in 2009 where he won the Gold Medal in Lithuania.

The thing that I noticed on him first was that he had some sparks of talent coming up but also some very strange decisions in his offensive effort. After the nice drive to the hoop comes the airball from three-point area and so on. However, Diez is an extremely aggressive player on the offensive end. He wants the ball in his hands and score it, especially in the major moments of the game. Diez likes to put the ball on the floor with his right hand to attack the hoop but he can also out of these plays dish the ball to his team mates when they are open. He can finish the ball close to the basket and even if he is fouled, he makes the layup. If he can stabilize his three-point shot, he will develop into a nice player for the Small Forward position as next to his offensive efforts, he showed also some good phases on the defensive end.

Not only that he is a good rebounder on both ends of the floor (4.2 offensive rebounds per game in Hospitalet), Diez also played some nice defense. During some phases, he did an excellent job defending Barcelona’s Josep Perez who is a lot smaller than him. However, Diez managed to hold him in front of him which underlines that he has good lateral speed and footwork. It seems though that the step to become a contributor or even a garbage time player with Real Madrid Senior Team is still far away at the moment and a loan to a different team in the next 1-2 years seems logical for his development on the Senior level. We will see already what he is capable of doing this Summer in the U18 European Championship with that Spanish 93 Gold Medal generation.

Stats: 20.0ppg (64.6% 2FGs – 33.3% 3FGs – 58.3% FTs), 6.4rpg, 3.4topg, 19.6rkgpg

Tauras Jogela – 2m01 – PF/SF – 1993 – Zalgiris Kaunas

A player about whom I do not really know what to think is Tauras Jogela from Zalgiris. The Lithuanian wing looked a lot stronger physically than I remembered him and this might be the reason; added to the lack of height in his team; that Jogela played mainly on the PF position while his future should be Small Forward with his size. The moments where he dominated, it was more with physical abilities than pure talent that he did it so this is why I am not really sure about what to think about that.

But if you come back to his game and what he showed in Hospitalet, you have a player that is working hard on the rebound situations, doing a good job setting hard screens and rolling well to the basket. He is athletic and explosive of two feet, coming up with a number of great dunks. Jogela can put the ball on the floor to attack the basket but sometimes struggles with his limitations concerning the ball handling. He can hit the three point shot but it does not seem to be his first option at the moment. Jogela reminded me in his way of playing of Jonas Maciulis and this is probably the direction that he will be going into in the future.

Stats: 13.5ppg (64.0% 2FGs – 30.0% 3FGs – 72.2% FTs), 4.3rpg, 2.3spg, 15.0rkgpg

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

Marius Grigonis came up with his best game when I had left Hospitalet but he was already before that my favorite prospect from the Lithuanian team. Grigonis showed excellent versatility, good passing skills when attacking the basket, great rebounding and knocked down 6/7 threes during the last day of the tournament. Grigonis plays mainly the SF position but could be able to move to SG in the future if he can shot the ball as regular as he did in the last game. But the main characteristic of his game is his multiple-usage skills.

He has some nice fakes that he uses to get open, showed good balance in the air when being hit, can attack the basket with both hands or pass out of the spin move. He prefers to finish though with his stronger right hand even when he goes left. On the defensive end, Grigonis shows good instincts to steal the ball in the passing lanes. The main point to work on for him is most likely to become a more regular scorer both on the shot and the drive. Defensively, he has the skills to develop into a high-level player in the future.

Stats: 9.4ppg (46.7% 2FGs – 63.6% 3FGs), 5.2rpg, 1.6apg, 2.0spg, 13.8rkgpg

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

The main shooting option for the Lithuanian team was Tomas Dimsa. the 1994 born player took nearly 50% of his attempts from behind the 3pt line but in addition to that, he also showed some good athletic abilities when attacking the basket. He can finish above the rim and tries to dunk the ball when he has the opportunity, even against defense. Dimsa makes the typical long steps to surround defenders but he remains athletic enough out of it for the finish against the big guys. Being a year younger than the competition, you did not see this difference on a physical level which gives Dimsa an interesting future when he works on his basketball skills. He is definitely a player to watch in my opinion.

Stats: 8.0ppg (40.9% 2FGs – 25.0% 3FGs), 2.8rpg, 2.0apg, 7.8rkgpg

Vaidas Kariniauskas – 1m98 – SF – 1993 – Zalgiris Kaunas

Vaidas Kariniauskas is yet another of these typical versatile Lithuanian forwards that played for Zalgiris Kaunas in the tournament. His specialty though was the defense as Kariniauskas was always having these special duties to stop the opposing scorer. After a scoreless start into the tournament, he showed that he can also be a danger on the other side of the court when he scored in double-figures against Zagreb and Real Madrid. He is a good rebounder but he needs to improve his shooting skills in the future in order to become an important player for Zalgiris or on the national Lithuanian level.

Stats: 7.6ppg (54.2% 2FGs – 22.2% 3FGs), 4.4rpg, 6.4rkgpg

Marcus Eriksson – 1m96 – SF/SG – 1993 – Basquet Manresa

Maybe it looked a bit like a surprise to see the MVP trophy go to a player that finished only 4th with his team in the tournament. However, Marcus Eriksson was certainly the main man of the Spanish team and the only reason why Manresa won some games. After having seen him several times mainly in a pure shooting role before, Eriksson showed in Hospitalet that he has really progressed and has become a very versatile player.  Despite being still very thin physically, Eriksson is very active in rebounding situations and looks like he has grown a few centimeters over the last months.

When you talk about his game, the first thing is of course his fantastic shooting skills from behind the arc. His three-point shot is a beauty even if it is not taken in picture-perfect fashion. Eriksson also attacked the basket very well and scored several times from mid-range with the floater, straight jump shot or the scoop shot. In general, he seems to attack the basket more often than we were used to. This makes him a lot more difficult to defend as you can not be always super-hard on him to only avoid the shot as he puts the ball on the floor then to beat you of the dribble.

With his team being heavily undersized- Eriksson did even play some minutes on the PF position but his real future will be Shooting Guard. He made some good plays by only passing the ball to the right man in order to open and spread the floor. During his months in Spain, he looks like he has really improved his overall game and if his development continues at the same level, he can become a high-level player in the future. The physical development should come in hand in the next months as well even if Eriksson will most likely never become a very “large” guy.

Stats: 18.4ppg (53.8% 2FGs – 48.6% 3FGs), 5.2rpg, 18.2rkgpg

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